Why Advisers and Accountants Need Coaching Skills Themselves
Jan Bowen-Nielsen is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Quiver Management. Renowned for excellence in executive and business coaching, the company’s 15 coaches, trainers and consultants work with corporates and professional firms across the UK and internationally. Having spent the last 15 years as an executive coach and trainer of coaches, Jan also speaks regularly […]
Jan Bowen-Nielsen is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Quiver Management. Renowned for excellence in executive and business coaching, the company’s 15 coaches, trainers and consultants work with corporates and professional firms across the UK and internationally.
Having spent the last 15 years as an executive coach and trainer of coaches, Jan also speaks regularly at conferences and corporate events about how leaders can use coaching to develop their teams and how client facing professionals can use the same skills to improve their services. Here he tells us all about the work that he does and his upcoming book.
Tell us about the book that you’re currently writing?
The book is targeted to financial advisers, accountants and other professionals whose careers revolve around helping their clients.
I know that most came into their chosen profession with a genuine desire to really help and make a positive difference for their clients – as well as building successful lucrative careers. As true professionals in their chosen field, I’m sure they all work hard on building up and maintaining their technical competencies and expertise.
But these technical skills are in reality merely the minimum! We have to appreciate that to ensure that we help meet our clients’ needs, we must first understand our clients, their situation and their aspirations really well. In many cases we even need to help our clients recognise their own situation better and help them clarify what they want. When we start to provide solutions without fully understanding this, we are doing our clients a disservice.
To help us create a successful career, we also have to recognise that technical skills can only get us so far. An arguably much bigger factor for career success is our ability to forge relationships and engage effectively with our clients.
It is a sad fact that our schools and most professional higher education pays very little attention to interpersonal and conversation skills. It is my argument that professionals should regard these skills as essential professional skills in their own right and they should have just as much focus during formal qualification training as well as in their continuous professional development throughout their career.
Thus, my book is aiming to address this. It is based on my coaching and interpersonal skills training of more than a thousand advisers and experts across a range of professional services.
Can you give us a summary of the book’s main topics?
I will share why experts often struggle to listen well and what practically to do about it. I will discuss how to ask powerful questions to help clients’ thinking, how to build trust and how to uncover your clients’ goals and deeper needs. I will also share techniques on how to help clients make quality decisions and change unhelpful behaviours. But this is not about nice-to-have ‘soft’ skills; I will show how these skills are essential to career success, business development and better advice and I will also look at how to practically include these in the readers’ advisory practice.
When can we expect the book?
The book is expected to be published around the turn of the year. We will publish more details on our website when it’s available. If anyone is interested in learning more beforehand, they are very welcome to attend one of our open courses or contact me to arrange an in-house course.
What are the most common challenges that financial advisers and accountants need Quiver Management’s help with?
The underlying challenge is usually ‘how do we differentiate ourselves from the rest?’. Our clients recognise that the transactional side of financial advice and accountancy is becoming a commodity that clients are unwilling to pay much for. Their service proposition is shifting to becoming a trusted partner for clients. The cornerstone for this is interpersonal skills, being able to forge strong relationships based on understanding clients’ underlying needs and then creating tailored personalised services and solutions that meet these needs. This is what they need our help with.