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A high-performance coaching culture can separate your firm from the pack and become a powerful differentiator when you’re competing for top players.

As the competition for top talent heats up, the need to recruit and retain high performers has become an urgent priority for the insurance and financial services industry. Financial services agencies and firms, for example, continue to struggle with retention, and field leaders remain most concerned about their ability to recruit and select high quality candidates. Those concerns are well-placed. No business today can compete and win without top talent.

Adding to this challenge is the fact that Millennials, now the largest generation in the workforce, are pretty disenchanted with businesses. According to the latest Deloitte Millennial Survey, 43 percent of Millennials can see themselves leaving their jobs within two years, and only 28 percent definitely plan to stay beyond five years. The generation behind them, Generation Z, is even less loyal, with 61 percent saying they would leave within two years, if given the choice.

While these statistics underscore just how serious the retention issue is, there is an upside. It means talented financial advisors are looking for great places to work — and for great managers to bring out their best. If they can find that at your firm, you’ll have a huge opportunity to build a significant competitive advantage.

How a Coaching Culture Attracts (and Keeps) Top Talent

Here’s what we’ve learned about high-performance recruiting, development and retention from our work with insurance and advisory firms. The best players want to play for the best coaches. The reality is, regardless of their skill level or knowledge, few people rise to the top of their game without having coaches to guide, encourage and challenge them.

These coaches:

  • help people become their best
  • have the ability to spot talent and potential in their people
  • use a process to guide high performance and productivity

Coaching is a great way for managers to demonstrate their belief in their people’s ability to push beyond their boundaries and reach higher levels of success. And when your financial advisors’ passion and achievement drive are continually stoked, they won’t have to jump ship to find that personal satisfaction somewhere else. A Zenger Folkman study found that 60 percent of employees who report to managers who are not good coaches are thinking about quitting vs. 22 percent who report to the best manager-coaches. There’s a reason for that old saying, “People don’t leave companies; they leave managers.”

Strong coaches also strengthen your firm’s brand as an employer of choice. High performers want to work in environments where they can grow, develop new skills and feel challenged to achieve more. They don’t want to stagnate, and they definitely don’t want to get bored. A culture of high-performance coaching can separate your firm from the pack and become a powerful differentiator when you’re competing for top players.

Getting Started: An Action Plan

Where to begin? Take a page from the leading firms in our 2018 research study on coaching:

A Coaching Culture Starts With Your Managers.

This single action makes a big difference. In our study, there was a 23% gap in variance in terms of sales objective achievement between the firms that provide coaching for their coaches and the laggards.

Improve Coaching Effectiveness.

Being a great manager or having been a high performer in the role themselves doesn’t automatically make someone a great coach. Coaching is as much about mindset as it is about skillset.

Increase Coaching Frequency.

The amount of time spent on coaching matters. Firms in our study that reported 9 or more hours of coaching per manager per week chalked up 12.6% better business performance compared to firms coaching less than 2.5 hours per manager per week.

Integrate Coaching Into Your Talent Management Strategy.

High performers evaluate and reward management based on their success in developing their people.

Schedule It!

Firms that primarily schedule coaching activities rather than having them occur on an ad hoc basis enjoyed sales objective achievement rates 3% higher than other firms.

Spend Time Where It Counts.

Based on our study, the coaching topics that give leaders the performance edge include: individual performance (12% advantage), motivation improvement (9%) and skill development (6%).

About the Author
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Terri O’Halloran

Vice President of Client Development

Terri partners with our clients to strategically plan, implement, and sustain high performing sales and customer service cultures that achieve...
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