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The Value of Coaching Throughout Your Career


There is no true pinnacle in a career that signals the end of needing personal and professional growth. Instead, the value of coaching and learning can be focusing on areas where you want to continue advancing.

Advisor Paula Dorion-Gray, of Crystal Lake, Ill., had built a successful practice that people getting into the business would aspire to have. She is the leader of an ensemble practice that is a recognized and respected brand in her area. So it might be surprising that after 32 years in the industry, and the completion of other programs, she enrolled in a coaching course offered through her broker-dealer.  Dorion-Gray shares how coaching allowed her to step back and gain insights she otherwise may not have had. She also shares how she overcame the apprehension to start a program at this point in her career.

Selecting a program for your specific needs

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to coaching that works for every advisor, so to avoid wasting both time and resources, understanding long-term goals can help.

“I think anything that you can learn, regardless of where you’re at in your career, is very, very beneficial.”

“I’ve always done some kind of coaching and the Next Level coaching applied to our industry, and what I’m doing and how I can grow my business. That really appealed to me. For awhile I thought it was for people getting into the business or somebody who wasn’t as seasoned as I’d like to think I am, but once I went and listened to what they were providing, it has had an impact on what I’m doing. It made me look at it from a different perspective,” Dorion-Gray  said. “I think anything you can learn, regardless of where you’re at in your career, is very, very beneficial.”

Putting what you learn to work in your practice

Simply attending conferences or coaching sessions will not improve your practice. Being open to what you learn, even if it is not what you want to hear is the first step. Once you evaluate how the coaching can help your business, you need to set a plan and start using the tools coaching can provide advisors and their staff.

In the Next Level program she attended, there were several major takeaways for advisors to implement when they returned to their practices. Some of the main points that resonated with her were time allocation and four main metrics to monitor. Like any learning experience, there were some results that surprised Dorion-Gray when she put some elements in action.

“Being in the business for 32 years, over time you can kind of get a little stagnant,” Dorion-Gray said. So the rediscovery process that was introduced to us in the coaching was one that I looked at and I thought, ‘Well I really don’t need to do that because I already do it.’ But I did try it with one of my clients and I was absolutely amazed at the information I learned, even though they had been a client for a long time.”

Being open to the takeaway items from coaching allowed her to reconnect with clients at a higher level. This was invigorating for Dorion-Gray and showed the client her commitment to service.

“I actually sent the rediscovery process to one of my clients accidentally because I was going to talk to her about it on the phone. When she called me and we had our conversation she said, ‘Oh, I got this rediscovery process. I’ll fill it out for you and I’ll send it right back to you.’  She was really excited that I was asking her questions about her pets and things like that which really made me realize there’s things I’m not asking, questions I’m not asking my clients even though I think I know everything about them.”

The idea that coaching is only for those starting out can cause advisors to miss out on an opportunity to be even better than they already are. Whether you are in your first five years in the industry or the leader of a successful brand like Dorion-Gray, there is always room for improvement for those willing to take the time.

“I think in any career, regardless of what you’re doing, you need some kind of coaching. If you look at the major sports figures, regardless of what sport it is, they all have coaches,” Dorion-Gray  said. “They continue to have coaches until the end of their career. There’s no reason why we as advisors shouldn’t have coaches as well.”