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Why Would Federer Need A Coach? 3 Insights Into The Role Of An Adviser

Many of the world's sports greats may have been born with their talents, yet they all needed the help of a coach to help them become champions. The same goes for financial success, where doing-it-yourself is rarely better.

Have you ever heard of Severin Luthi, Tom Gullickson or Tracy Menzies?

Chances are you haven't. But you have heard of Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Ian Thorpe. For your information Severin Luthi is Federer’s coach, Tom Gullickson was Pete Sampras’s coach and Tracey Menzies was Ian Thorpe's coach. An interesting piece of trivia? I think it's much more than that.

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Darrell Royal, football coach

We all know that most sports champions are born with a physical or mental advantage - be it attitude, body shape, hand-eye coordination, speed etc. But if it were just a case of winning the gene pool lottery, everyone physically resembling Ian Thorpe could swim like an Olympian.

Just ask yourself this: if Thorpe had a perfect body shape for swimming and trained so hard and consistently, why did he need a personal coach? If Federer has an innate skill for hitting the balls with force and accuracy and spent a lifetime perfecting it, why does he need a personal coach? And if Sampras had the hand-eye coordination, strength and speed to take Wimbledon, why did he need a personal coach?

"Everyone wants to win, but not everyone is willing to prepare to win." Bobby Knight, basketball coach

The answer is that each coach did three things for their clients that they could not do for themselves, and that were absolutely vital to their success:

1. They helped the future champion define a goal
2. They helped draw up a step-by-step plan to reach the goal
3. They provided discipline, encouragement and support along the way.

They were able to do this because they understood all the ins and outs of that sport, and were able to give unemotional and honest feedback. That's possibly why parents are often poor coaches on the tennis circuit, in little league athletics and in other sports.

"The secret to winning is constant, consistent management." Tom Landry, former coach, Dallas Cowboys

A financial adviser also plays the role of a personal coach who guides you towards making better financial decisions and long term financial success. A well informed professional who takes the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your situation and helps you decide on the achievable financial goals you really need and want, and then works out a practical program to help you achieve them.

Just by helping you to set financial goals, your financial adviser is giving you a magnified chance at achieving those goals.

The other important role a financial adviser plays is to stay with you through all the changes in your investment career. Your income changes, your needs change. Maybe even your goals change. And the program designed to help you achieve them has to be adjusted accordingly.

Does the coach pull all the strings? The answer is “no”. Thorpe surprised the swimming world by firing his long-time coach and appointing the relatively inexperienced Tracey Menzies, who took him forward to his gold medal performance at the 2004 Olympics.

No champion would simply slavishly follow their coach's advice. They would consider, question it and if it made sense they would follow it. When it comes to financial coaching you are in exactly the same position.

You are not a puppet; you are a partner, and the senior partner at that.

"If you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done." Vince Lombardi, former coach, Green Bay Packers

View More Articles By Frank Paul

Frank Paul is Chief Operating Officer & Head of Advice Services with Spring Financial Group. Frank has over 20 years' experience in financial planning and investment advisory.

Frank has extensive experience in private client advising and the management of financial services operations. Frank is actively involved in the recruitment and management of advisory personnel and heads the advisory panel. He holds a Master of Commerce (Financial Planning) and a Dip. Financial Planning and has authored literally dozens of financial education publications.



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