It is not always easy to organize successful financial counseling sessions. Anybody who has been involved in financial counseling can attest to this fact. The people who come for financial counseling tend to be folks with very complex issues. They also tend to be folks who have unrealistic expectations. It therefore becomes very hard to counsel them successfully. There are nonetheless some things you need to do, to increase the chances of having successful financial counseling sessions.
If you are to have successful financial counseling sessions, you need to start by having good understanding of your clients (the ones who seek counseling). You need to understand who each of your clients is. You must avoid the mistake of generalizing. That is where you start to think in terms of ‘the people who seek financial counseling are like this or like that’. Instead, you need to view each of your clients as an individual, and try to understand him as such.
Secondly, if you are to have successful financial counseling sessions, you need to really understand the problems that your clients come to you with. Again, you need to view each client’s problems uniquely. You need to understand that each client is a unique individual, with unique problems, based on unique circumstances and which require unique solutions.
Thirdly, if you are to have successful financial counseling sessions, you need to help your clients help themselves. Your clients are likely to put solutions into practice if they are the ones who come up with the solutions. Therefore, ideally, financial counseling shouldn’t take the form of you giving advice to the clients. On the contrary, it should take the form of you helping the clients to come up with their own solutions to their own problems. Your role as a financial counselor is that of a facilitator. You simply walk with the clients on the journey – where, ultimately, they are to come up with solutions to their problems. You can make suggestions, but the solutions and the commitments should come from the clients themselves.