EdD, CFP®, CMFC®, ChFC®, CPBC®, CLF®
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August 15, 2023
When I teach leadership classes—which include client leadership—trust comes up a lot.
I like to ask class members, “What makes a leader?” The answers are usually the same. The number one answer is that a leader must be trustworthy. Trustworthy usually expands to: they are worthy of following, they have integrity, their values are clear, they respect transparency, their decisions are predictable and they lead with a clear vision.
Developing a “trust mindset” is crucial to developing a “change mindset.” Advisors help clients get from where they are now to where they need to go. To accomplish that, advisors invariably ask clients to change their behavior. Asking clients to make changes requires clients to trust the advisor. Trustworthy client leadership is critical to keeping an advisor-client relationship strong.
Before asking a client to make a change or to implement something new, the advisor needs to make sure that it’s within the client’s scope of ability. The foundation of a change mindset comes from understanding what a person can do, not what they can’t do, and building from their personal baseline. Ensuring that they can succeed and accomplish the goals that are set for them is critical to maintaining client engagement. Clients will not trust an advisor if the advisor has not accurately assessed the client’s scope of ability and has unintentionally sent them up to fail.
There are three conditions necessary for people to change: they must be willing, ready and able.