What is a coach?
When it comes to investing, most investors (even Warren Buffet had a coach—Ben Graham) could benefit from a coaching relationship. However, for the coaching relationship to be a successful one, the individual must give permission for the coach to “coach!” Absent that permission the coaching experience will fail!
A coach, aside from teaching and even re-teaching fundamentals on an ongoing basis (something that is necessary in all coaching relationships) and helping to put it all together for an investor has other important responsibilities to the relationship. Perhaps most importantly a competent investment coach will refuse to allow an investor to execute any strategy that he or she believes is harmful to the investor’s long-term goals.
In other words, the coach will refuse to be an enabler or facilitator of negative behavior and will say NO—as well as provide the necessary discipline to keep the investor on course towards the realization of his or her long-term goals.
Absent this permission to coach, any competent coach will necessarily refuse the engagement and, if already engaged and the investor wishes to change the terms of the relationship, terminate it when the investor becomes “un-coachable!”
Investment Coach vs. Financial Planner
You now know what an investment coach is, but how does that compare with any old commission based financial planner. A financial planner is someone who sells products. Their main focus may not be on you, but on which product to sell you that will give them the biggest commission check. Rather than focusing on the long term relationship and process with you, they often worry more about making the sale. Rather than encouraging you to stay disciplined in hard times, they might encourage you to move your money to different fund or type of account, so that they can get paid again on the money.
Are You Coachable?
So the question for all investors is: “Are you in the hands of a competent coach or is your advisor/planner an enabler or facilitator who will allow you to do whatever you wish—even if they know it is harmful and detrimental to your long-term investment success.
Are you coachable and will you give permission to be coached? Are you willing to be an active participant in the coaching process or do you wish to just sit back, passively, and “trust” and “hope” that your adviser is working in your best interests? If it is the latter, you are not coachable!
Will you allow your investment coach to say NO to you when necessary and supply the necessary discipline to enable you to succeed as an investor?
Are you ready to be coached toward attaining a successful, long-term investment experience?
Last, but not least, if you think you don’t need a coach, keep in mind that the best of the best, whether in athletics, entertainment, business or the professions all have coaches to help them reach the highest plateaus of success in their chosen endeavors.
Are you coachable?
by Jim Hancock
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