Frequently asked questions
Does financial coaching really work?
Yes! Past training participants who have fully applied the financial coaching approach continuously share client success stories that start with clients simply feeling heard. Feeling heard translates into more successful resolution of issues carried into the coaching conversation, which clients then handle with more confidence. The end result is individuals are making better financial decisions and demonstrate consistent positive financial behavior.
What evidence is there that financial coaching works with clients?
Financial coaching is an emerging field, and a growing number of public and private agencies are using this approach to help low-income individuals achieve their financial goals. According to a 2010 report released by the Center for Working Families, the Financial Coaching approach is a promising practice for helping individuals achieve their financial goals. Additionally, a recent study by NeighborWorks Americahas shown that some clients who received financial coaching made progress towards their financial goals in the following areas:
- 58% of clients who had 10 or more months in coaching increased their credit scores, while 29% with less than five months were able to do so.
Knowledge – Finance and Credit
- 96% of clients who initially did not know how to obtain a credit report gained that knowledge.
- 97% of clients who initially did not understand a credit report gained that knowledge.
- 77% of clients who started coaching not knowing what to do to build or improve their credit reported that they attained that skill.
Feelings of Financial Competence and Security
- 47% of clients who initially did not feel they managed their money well felt otherwise after coaching.
- 38% of clients who initially did not feel they were in control of their finances felt otherwise after coaching.
- 62% of clients who initially reported feeling stressed about their financial situation when they began coaching no longer felt that way after participating.
- 30% of clients became more confident in their ability to weather a financial crisis should it occur.
How is financial coaching different or better than traditional financial counseling?
The client takes the lead and the coach facilitates the process, thus creating a framework where the accountability is inherent and the ball is clearly in the client’s court.
What could a client expect to accomplish with financial coaching?
Financial coaching can help in 3 ways:
- assist a client to identify what it will take to move past the barriers where a client is “stuck”
- help a client who may have completed financial education to decide on next steps and take action to move toward financial security
- help a client to change financial behaviors and start new habits toward building personal wealth
What effect does financial coaching have on agencies where the staff are coaching clients?
The impact of financial coaching on staff has been studied by groups like Center for Working Families, as well as The Prosperity Agenda. What's revealed in these studies is that financial coaching shows positive impacts on staff workload, with staff feeling less stressed as they shift some of the program accountability to their clients. Other positive results were that financial coaching increases case workers’ confidence in talking about financial matters with clients.
what types of agencies have you trained?
We've trained over 400 frontline staff throughout WA State, and even as far as Texas. Some of the agency types we've trained include community action agencies, housing authorities, municipalities, agencies serving immigrants and refugees, state agencies, and education institutions.
I'M NOT A FINANCIAL EXPERT, CAN I STILL CONDUCT A FINANCIAL COACHING CONVERSATION?
Of course! The strength of coaching lies in asking powerful questions to gain the clarity from the client about where they want to go. If the financial coach has complete clarity based on the answers to the powerful questions, then making the referrals to other staff or organizations that can actually address the challenging financial area can be done in a confident manner. This eliminates the need for anyone to come across as a financial expert. You will become an expert at facilitating the process, which is what is needed to help a client to choose within themselves to move forward.