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Finding the Right Program

Answer these questions to find out if you need a training or a coaching program.

By Bill Bachrach, CSP

If you’re trying to figure out if you need a training or a coaching program, make sure you keep the following in mind:

  • An expensive program isn’t necessarily better, but cheap is always a red flag. In the area of training and coaching, you tend to get what you pay for. Your greatest asset may well be your undeveloped potential. Don’t be skimpy in tapping your potential.

  • While you should see some tangible and measurable results in the first month or two, remember there is no "silver bullet." My observation is that many advisors jump from program to program looking for something that doesn’t exist: an easy and inexpensive way to build a highly successful and sustainable practice. Ask yourself: Am I being realistic in my expectations? Am I willing to do the work?

  • Are you ready for serious coaching? I may have philosophical differences or even ethical concerns with some of the programs, but they all produce some or all of the results they promise if the advisor actually implements the recommendations.

Many advisors don’t do a good job of following through and some are simply not coachable. This is also sometimes the fault of the training company or the coach because the advisor is not being held accountable. Why would someone who is not coachable enroll in a coaching program? I don’t know, but it happens more frequently than you might think. And who wants to admit he is not coachable?

  • Is there real accountability? Since we are always the biggest obstacle to our success, you must find out if you have a coach who is willing to hold you accountable to the activities necessary to achieve your goals.

Is there enough “tough love” to keep you on track to do the work required, or is the “coach” really a salesperson who is unwilling to risk losing your revenue stream? This can be a fine line to walk, but you do want a coach who will tell you the truth and hold you accountable to do the work. You want someone who will help you move outside your comfort zone. You want, and probably need, a coach who will combine inspiration and “tough love” to help you stay on track.

  • Should it be industry-specific? That’s my preference, but there are good programs and coaches who are not industry-specific. The argument for choosing a program or someone outside the industry is that you can learn things from people from different industries. Unfortunately, what you learn from other industries can be mass-marketing oriented and have a more product-centric sales approach. Another drawback is that you can end up investing your time and money educating your coach about your business.

  • How do you begin? Check out program websites, read their value propositions and determine which resonate with you.

Call and ask: “I’m considering enrolling in a training or a coaching program. How will you help me decide whether or not your program is right for me?” What happens next will speak volumes and help you make a good decision. Is there a process to help you make a good decision or just a sales pitch? The process should be a reflection of what the company is teaching or coaching. If it’s not, what does this say about the program?

Do you feel as if the person you are speaking with truly cares about you as a person and not just as a prospect? When he talks about his program, does he do so in the context of your goals and your values or does it feel like a generic presentation?

  • Ultimately, the best way to evaluate a program is probably through personal experience. Just because the program has a great reputation or your friend or colleague loves it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Do your own due diligence and be careful about getting involved simply because “everyone is doing it.”

Bill Bachrach, CSP, is chairman & CEO of BAI, a full-service training and development company for financial advisors. Visit

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