Sharing Best Practices through Advisor Training: A New (Old) Idea!

Historically, advisor training centers around text-heavy manuals, contrived scripts, and role play exercises created and facilitated by in-house training departments and outsourced 3rd-party vendors. There is an opportunity to make the same topics interesting and innovative, yet in practice we see the same tired content year after year.  In addition, it’s important to take into consideration how learning styles differ from person to person.  Advisors and Field Leaders often prefer to learn by example from each other. Creating a mix of subject matter expert (SME) and peer-to-peer learning proves to be a successful combination, but can be tricky to deliver in the right way.

The Build: Partnering with Advisors and Field Leaders when building training programs is a must. Who better to develop great content than the content experts themselves? Build your training program with the field for the field.

  • Build an outline that communicates the why, what, and how to set clear expectations; remember to always begin with the why – if they don’t believe in the why, they won’t care about the what or the how
  • Vet content and structure with a group of experts in the field (Advisors and Managers)
  • Build “real” stories/case studies around the content

Ask Advisors and Field Leaders what obstacles they face when trying to implement best practices and what are the most important elements they would like to get out of the training program – always begin with the end in mind

48700597The Training: Effective peer-to-peer leaning is process-based. Collaborating across groups and bringing the “best thinking” is appreciated by Advisors and Fields Leaders and proves to be a game changer in rolling out successful programs. Having a solid process presented by master Advisors gives the group confidence and a clear direction on how to implement their new skills and knowledge. Talk with the field not to the field and leave plenty of time for Q&A discussions. Finally, set individual goals and communicate them.

The Follow Up: It’s important to keep the communication and momentum going after the training session. This can be done by incorporating one-on-one coaching, monthly follow-up calls, sharing success stories across the organization, establishing accountability partners, and providing a list of go-to resources and SMEs.

In this age of digital and online self-paced training programs, it’s important to remember the importance of the human element and interactive learning. Create a community where Advisors and Field Leaders continue to share with each other, and remember to recognize and celebrate their successes. Advisors, like most people, want to learn, grow, and succeed when presented with interesting ideas in engaging ways. If firms build training in the right way, they will come!

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  1. Barry Steinberg
    Jan 09, 2015 - 10:29 AM

    The author is spot on regarding effective training for financial advisors. Peer to peer exchanges, combined with accountability and follow though provides the path to improvement and success.