Recently I met with an investment advisor. I could tell immediately he simply wasn’t himself.

He admitted his “head hasn’t been in the game for some time now”. He was thinking of leaving the business. He was questioning whether he had what it takes to be an investment advisor.

Market volatility had him worrying constantly about his clients and his stress levels had peaked. He didn’t want to talk to clients or even come into the office.

Many advisors have experienced these feelings of discouragement and lack of confidence at some point during their careers. The question is how do we rebuild confidence?

The Law of Control states we feel good about ourselves to the exact degree we feel in control of our lives. An investment advisor can not control the economy, government legislation and certainly not the market. Advisors need to focus on what they can control like their thoughts, emotions and actions.

For the advisor in question, we focused on a 3-Step Action Plan:

1) Write down your investment philosophy

Before calling clients, think about what you believe is the best client advice. Do you believe in a passive or more active strategy? Managed money or individual securities? How do you help clients reduce the tax implications of their investments? How do you incorporate risk management into your investment philosophy? How do you address re-balancing? Write it down for your own reference. Once you are clear on how you want to help guide your clients, you will be able to do so with confidence.

2) List your apprehensive clients, ask questions

Be aware of your clients that are more fearful of market volatility than others and contact them first. Upon making this list, the advisor in question was pleasantly surprised that there were fewer clients on the list than he anticipated. Instead of starting each call or meeting with the same monologue on markets and portfolios, start asking questions. How are you feeling about the market? Would you like a more detailed review of your account? Are their any changes to your situation that might cause us to rethink your long term strategy? The more you know about your client, the more confident you will be in advising them.

3) Focus on stress reducing activities

Take more time to ensure you are exercising regularly and spending time with family and friends. In order to improve the confidence and energy levels of this particular advisor, we planned his quarterly timeline to fit in these important breaks to recharge and maintain motivation.

After following the 3-Step Action Plan, this investment advisor starting seeing immediate results. He felt healthier and his confidence had returned. It is important to have someone – a colleague, mentor or a coach – to share your feelings with. Being an investment advisor is not an easy job and it is even harder if you try to go it alone.

April-Lynn Levitt, B. Comm, CFP, is a coach with The Personal Coach. April provides support to Western & Central Canada financial advisors. She has experience as an independent financial advisor and as a top Financial Consultant and Regional Manager in a Calgary office that managed $1 billion for physicians and their families. You can follow April on LinkedIn.

Originally published on