As an important element of the research completed for Brokers Ireland on “The Evolution of the Broker Market 2030”, we identified 12 areas to be considered by Financial Brokers to help prepare your business for the changing market environment. This final action is probably the most important – developing your soft skills.
In 2021, 194 advisers from Ireland, the UK and South Africa were asked about their interpretation of value. They were presented with a list of 20 skills and attributes and asked to choose their five most important ones, within four categories:
- Soft Skills
- Building a Financial Plan
- Putting the Plan into Action
- Ongoing Service
Empathy was ranked as the most important skill or attribute by 76% of advisers. This was the clear leader, ahead of Goal Setting (49%) and giving clients Peace of Mind / The Gift of Time (47%). What is noteworthy is the importance placed on soft skills as opposed to technical expertise.
These findings are consistent with the anticipated shift in focus of client propositions away from technical and product areas to instead supporting clients by providing valued financial guidance and ongoing behavioural coaching. This will require an extension of the existing skillset of some Financial Brokers.
Some Financial Brokers may need to review their own ability to have excellent, emotional and empathetic conversations. Today it is relatively commonplace for advisers in the UK and further afield to do courses with organisations like the Kinder Institute of Life Planning, to complete relevant diplomas and to actively work on improving their soft skills.
Do you need coaching in these areas?
Action points for you
- Identify the soft skills that you need to carry out your role effectively and get relevant coaching where needed.
- Embed these skills into the DNA of your Financial Broker business, placing emphasis on the use of them as much as technical skills.
- Train every team member and reward soft skills development.
- Practice relentlessly across the team using observation, role plays etc.