How do you become a financial coach? Well, did you know that financial coaching is a brand new field and anyone can call themselves a “financial coach”? It’s true! It’s the wild west out there. But that’s not the approach I’m taking. Sure, I have my PhD, but I want to become a SUPERB financial coach, and for that I need the method and the credentials. In this series, I’m going to share my journey with you as I work my way through the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link) and the certification process.
Your first step in becoming a financial coach is figuring out your why. That’s right! WHY do you want to become a financial coach? If you can’t come up with a solid answer now, then turn around before you invest time and money in building a coaching business. And if your big WHY is that “I want to make money,” then you might be better off in another career. You see, the thing I really like about coaching is that I’m NOT selling or promoting an investment product. Instead, when people purchase my services, they are INVESTING in their own transformation. I get the privilege of guiding them on that transformation by giving them the tools, confidence, and hope. So your WHY should include a strong desire to help people.
I’ve known my “why” for quite some time, but here I was in week 1 of the “live” version of the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link), and my first assignment was to make a video of my why story. And that’s something I should have added to my Early Exit Academy website months ago. Now I had a deadline and I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. So after playing around with the camcorder, lighting setup, and video software, I made this why video.
I opted to take the rather expensive “live” version of the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link) because I wanted a more personalized experience and the opportunity to work more closely with the Academy’s founders (Michael and Kelsa Dickey). I am one of 20 students, so an unexpected perk will be getting to know my fellow students. As each student uploads a why video, I get a better sense of what drives people to become a financial coach. And it’s typically something very personal that happened in one’s own life, sometimes even a tragedy. That personal story is combined with a passion for helping others get their finances (and their lives) in order. So while anyone can become a financial coach, those who are drawn to the field are personally motivated.
Last week I attended Fincon2019, touted as the place where money and media meet. In addition to connecting with bloggers and finding resources to help me build my business, I sat in on a discussion session on financial coaching. Not only did the discussion confirm my decision to become a financial coach, I was struck by the opportunity to put my personal touches on my coaching business. And that means creating programs and methods that work best for my clients. Plus, I can target my services to a specific niche – I plan to coach women who have to manage their finances on their own (single, divorced, or widowed women). I’ll offer both in-person and online coaching.
Week 1 of the Academy included a section on legal matters – business structure, contracts, and insurance. Fun stuff, right? Well, if you become a coach and someone files a lawsuit involving your services, how will you protect your personal assets? But before those things can be done, you have to choose a business name. Here are the decisions I made last year when setting up my company.
The big unknown for me is how to set up legal contracts. While I’m not looking forward to playing with legalese, a contract is really just a way of clarifying the expectations between client and coach. For a contract to be legally-binding, coaches should work with a local attorney to make sure their contract complies with state laws. One of the key lessons I learned was that as a coach, I can make exceptions – as long as those exceptions are more lenient. In addition to a client agreement, coaches should have a testimonial release form in which clients grant permission to use their testimony.
Since financial coaching doesn’t require formal training, the only way to distinguish myself from others is to become certified. So I’ll be chasing the designation of Certified Professional Financial Coach (CPFCoach), which requires the following.
I have to meet all requirements within 12 months of the date of application. My goal is to become certified in the first quarter of 2020.
I was excited to start my journey with the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link). Now that I finished lesson 1, I’m eager to move on to lesson 2. Here are some random thoughts:
I’ll need to build a clientele for the certification process (and beyond). If you’re interested in coaching sessions with Dr. Brenda, use this form to request more information.