Tune In to Your Onboard Navigation System

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

“What type of coach are you?” is a common question that I get. The word “coach” has many meanings: sports coach, a mentor, another advisor, a life coach, an activity coach, a trainer or consultant, a business coach…I could go on and on. Each of these coaches has a place and can address many of the same life challenges in unique ways. In my opinion, the most important thing is that you are clear on what you would like to achieve through coaching and that you find the right fit in a coach for you as an individual (type of coach, credentials, experience and, most importantly, how they will help you bring about the change you want).

My first Northwestern Mutual client was Wealth Management Advisor Karl Dettmann several years ago. After our session he remarked that the type of coaching I do is very different, but a real fit as far as solving the mental side of the business. “You should learn this business and just do this,” he said, meaning focus on NM exclusively. It turned out that he was right. I am forever grateful to him for encouraging me to do this work and for sharing his vision with me. The people of NM are bright, passionate, people of high integrity and represent an amazing company. I am energized by the fact that if I can help you, you can go on to help even more people. I bring life coaching tools into the business setting, combining them with my business background and education. I have made it a point to learn everything I can—and keep learning—all of the facets to running an NM practice. So, my answer to the question is “I am a Life Coach who helps financial advisors in a business setting.”

So how does a Martha Beck-trained coach help financial advisors? We believe that by helping our clients uncover their authentic selves, we can empower you to live your best lives. We believe in helping you to dig deep to the root causes of what’s holding you back. This may be by helping you work with your “fight or flight” response (the Lizard), learn how to let your emotions and intuition help guide you and how to start observing and questioning your thinking mind. Once I partner with a client to build this foundation, the fun begins! Unlike therapists who help you heal from and better understand your history, life coaches help you work with what is going on right now in your life and how to create what you really want. (Many clients work with both.) We don’t believe that change can be forced, white-knuckled, or disciplined into anyone—nor would we want to. We hope to inspire clients to find intrinsic motivation and to stoke that fire by healing what is holding them back.

One of the parts of you that you need to find your passion all the way to your own North Star (Martha Beck’s symbol for the life you’re most happy living) is called your Essential Self. The Essential Self is genetically who you are - your personality, identity, preferences, and emotional and physiological reactions. It cannot change because it’s “hard-wired.” It’s also non-verbal and expresses “yes” and “no” in many ways such as affecting energy level, health, memory, social behavior, experience of time and more. You need the Essential Self to find your North Star.

This would be simple, except for the fact that you also have a Social Self. This is the part of you that developed in response to the cultural norms and expectations of the people in your life such as family, friends and many people in society. It helped to ensure the survival of the self by pleasing others - especially in early childhood. The Social Self learns important skills such as talking, driving, interviewing and other social skills. The Social Self works hard to maintain social acceptance -- even when it goes against the Essential Self’s core needs and desires.

By working with a life coach, you can learn the language of your Essential Self. This is the part of you who will run your best practice, be fully present in your life and enjoy it, and want to surround you with people who nourish and support you. 

While I care about your activityand your production very much, I am most interested in why (down deep) you don’t phone ("people reject me, I’m bothering them"), why you’re playing small ("I don’t deserve to work with successful people") or why your meetings just don’t keep ("I am lucky they even said yes”). I respect that you know the business and I will meet you there will my own knowledge of it. If you are willing to look within with my help for answers, you may be surprised to find an entire onboard internal navigation system that can help. If you are not successful or as successful as you want to be (or you’re not having any fun at it), perhaps it’s time to look at the mental side of the business as Dettmann foresaw years ago. He inspired me to do this work. Now let me inspire you.