Great leaders are continually learning because they know the only way people build lasting success is by investing in their own development. It can be through coaching, learning new technology, or ongoing training. In the rapidly evolving field of insurance and financial services self-development is particularly important, not just for advisors and agents, but field leaders as well. Many are not willing to make the level of investment that’s required for lasting success, as who knows what the return will be? It’s a financial risk. Overcoming this reluctance is challenging, but those determined to succeed will take it on.
Make an Investment in Coaching
Whatever you spend on your agency is an investment in yourself. But there’s always more we can do – like investing in a coach. Leaders in all industries often have a coach. Andy Murray, this year’s Men’s Singles Champion at Wimbledon never reached the top until he hired Ivan Lendl as his coach. Lendl coached Murray to Olympic Gold in 2012, a Wimbledon Men’s Singles title in 2013 and again last week.
In our industry, we know how important it is for field leaders to manage their team, but they also act as coaches by instilling more personal lessons. But that’s not the only coaching going on. Even highly successful leaders need coaching – whether for help in solving a new challenge or to update their skills. Many CEOs routinely rely on the wisdom of “executive coaches.” This is now the trend.
A Mentor is Not a Coach
People who have been in this business a long time didn’t have a personal coach when they began, although they may have had a mentor if they were lucky. But these days, you can simply hire a coach with expertise in the field or an entrepreneur with a great track record who can help you develop the skills needed to grow your agency.
Your coach will help you set goals to improve productivity and profits. It may mean devising more efficient strategies for everything. He or she will have the knowledge and experience to guide you in making smarter decisions in every aspect of your business.
You will also learn how to be a better coach yourself; setting measureable goals for the business that can be adapted for individual advisors. When you help them set goals, they’ll be more successful, which brings you closer to attaining your own objectives. When they see you continuing to learn, they will follow your lead.
Consider Outside Consultants
In running your agency, you will need experts in recruiting, accounting, technology and marketing. If your agency is still small you can hire outside consultants for these specialties. You can bring them on as needed; saving you the salary and benefits you’d pay for a full-time employee.
Whether it’s your managers, consultants, staff or salespeople, you are making a financial and personal investment in them. To be successful you must trust them and they must trust you. Building trust means connecting on a personal level, learning about their lives, interests and families. If you care about them and show it, they’ll work even harder for you.
Invest Your Time
You cannot build your agency alone; you need strong relationships with your managers and agents. Saturday morning workshops offer a chance to really get to know them and to help them reach their goals. Cover a different topic each Saturday, and maybe take them to lunch afterward.
You will learn about each one’s strengths and weaknesses and where additional training or coaching might be needed. It takes time, but when you make yourself available “off-hours” it illustrates your level of commitment. This builds a loyal team, which is what you need to achieve real success.
Worth The Risk
Your career is spent selling clients on the value of investing in insurance and other financial services, essentially taking a risk investing in what you’re advising. And I’m sure you’ve had clients who later regretted not taking that risk when offered the chance. You know that real rewards always come with a degree of risk. Take that risk now and invest in yourself by hiring a coach.