The world today is filled with coaches of every type. So many, in fact, you may question what a coach really does. 

I’m a big fan of clarity. Not everyone should have or want a coach. Your reasons need only be your own. But, have you ever thought about how broadly-defined the term “coach” can be? It’s about as broad as the term “financial advisor.” You may think the role of a coach is to inspire you -- to be responsible for showing you methods to improve. Or, you may think a coach serves as a sounding board. And, I would tell you… you’re right. 

A true coach is more than a coach. In fact, at Peak Advisor Alliance, coaches strive to fill multiple roles for financial advisors. Have you seen the movie “Major League” with Charlie Sheen? As the out-of-control pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, Ricky Vaughn (played by Sheen) has all the speed in the world when throwing the ball, but has no control. His two coaches are tasked with getting Vaughn to throw accurately. In working with him, they discover the real issue is Vaughn’s eye sight. By giving him the famed “Wild Thing” glasses, Vaughn tweaks his performance and improves as a pitcher. You wouldn’t know it as a moviegoer, but Vaughn’s “coach” was actually more of a consultant by diagnosing a problem and providing a solution.

So, as you entertain thoughts of working with a coach for the first time, or you continue your relationship with a current coach, consider how each of these roles and relationships can positively impact you.


This is the performance model. In this role, your coach serves in the traditional role the name conveys. The coach helps you perform the way you want to. You have the skill set and you have expertise. You need someone to help you use your ability and make the most of your potential. An example would be an advisor who has never clearly defined their goals and needs someone to help them stay focused on the desired outcome. “I know what I need to do.  Stay on me and keep me accountable.” 


This is the medical model. In this role, the coach diagnoses and treats the advisor. The desired outcome is a sense of normalcy. You have something going on in your practice, or your life, that is having a negative impact on your results, experience, or fulfillment. An example would be an advisor who is having trouble with a disengaged staff member, and it’s impacting others on the team. You’re not sure how to handle the situation and need to talk through it. “I need to get past an issue we’re having in the firm. Tell me if you think I’m handling this the right way.” 


This is the experience model. In this role, the coach relies on the experience he or she has in working with other advisors in the industry. You may be curious as to what other advisors are doing to build business or improve service. 

An example would be an advisor who is considering holding an advisory council. Your coach, in the mentor role, offers what other advisors have said they learned and gained from the experience. “I’m curious as to what you hear from other advisors. What are others doing in the way of…?”


This is the expert model. In this role, the coach aligns you with resources and ideas you can use to solve a particular need or want. You know what you want to achieve, but are not sure what to implement. 

An example would be an advisor who doesn’t feel focused on the right activity and needs a tool or idea to help them stay focused on productivity and time management. “Here’s my problem or challenge.  What do you have that can help?”

Now you know.  A coach is… more than a coach. She wears multiple hats. He reacts to the particular needs of the advisor, as a good coach should. You may also find that your needs as an advisor change over time. Early in your career, you may benefit most from a pure coach or mentor. As you experience the challenges of a growing practice, you may have more of a need for a counselor. As your firm matures and you gain experience, your greatest need may be a consultant who can provide resources to fine-tune your business. You may even need your coach to wear various hats during a single coaching session.    

As you consider the role of a coach in your business, don’t limit your viewpoint. I often tell advisors not to tell people only their occupation. It limits their viewpoint. Tell them what you do.  This is something our coaches discuss with new members as we help them determine what role they want the coach to play to help them reach their goals.

One of the many tools we offer in our program to help you define your goals and the relationship you have with your coach is the goal-setting exercise of the Blueprinting Process. Click here to download this exercise by entering the code “goalsetting” to help you clarify and attain your goals and realize for yourself what type of coach you need to become successful.         

You may have thought about the occupation of a “coach.” But, have you really considered the benefits of a coach/counselor/mentor/consultant? It could be that market-proof investment you’ve been looking for. 

Ron Carson is founder and president of Carson Wealth Management Group, a comprehensive wealth planning firm, and founder of Peak Advisor Alliance, the largest advisor coaching program in the country. He also co-authored the practice management book Tested in the Trenches: A 9-Step Plan for Building and Sustaining a Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice and its revised 2nd edition Tested in the Trenches: A 9-Step Plan for Success as a New-Era Advisor.

Scott Wood, an Executive Business Coach at Peak Advisor Alliance, contributed to this article. He has over 20 years of experience in financial services, and extensive experience in coaching and training advisors in areas including presentation skills, sales concepts, fee-based transitioning, distribution strategies, marketing, branding, and value positioning.

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