Get set for Wise Monkey’s enhanced Financial Coach Practitioner Certificate trainings in 2022...Dec 09, 2021
As 2021 starts drawing to a close, I’ve begun to reflect on the past 12 months from both a personal and professional perspective. With the pandemic bringing so many challenges and changes to our lives, financial coaching is now more relevant than ever.
It’s been a busy year, but also one where I feel we've made great strides in developing our Wise Monkey Financial Coaching training programmes. In this end-of-year blog I’m going to talk about some of the enhancements we’ve made to Wise Monkey’s training programmes during 2021. I want to share some of the amazing feedback we’ve received from our course participants, plus I’m also keen to give you an exclusive preview of some of the exciting plans we’ve got for next year to take the training to the next level.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been running Wise Monkey for almost 20 years now, initially, just concentrating on client work. But over the past 6 years or so, I’ve been combining my client work with training others. With the support and input of some excellent training consultants, we’ve always designed our training programmes to be hands-on, practical and packed full of high-quality content.
We’re also passionate about providing every learner with the opportunity to establish a fantastic peer support network with the rest of their cohort and the wider Wise Monkey community, which has now grown to around 150 members. This year has been no exception: we trained 24 people who are either starting their journey to establish their own financial coaching practice, or adding financial coaching skills to their existing practice. Here is just some of the feedback we’ve received:
"A fantastic experience. It's taught me and reignited life skills I didn't realise I needed, not just for my coaching career but for other areas of my life. I didn't want it to end!"
“The journey I have been on with Wise Monkey has been life changing for me. I loved the training programme and am grateful for the opportunity to 'top up' my training and benefit from interacting with other Wise Monkey graduates on alternative Wednesdays."
"I have set up my own coaching business and after 6 or so pro-bono clients, I now have two paying clients and am really enjoying growing and evolving as a Financial Coach. I hope to officially 'launch' next year.”
“The training opened new doors and horizons for me. Made me part of a bigger community. Connected me with people in the industry. Taught me a lot of tools. Boosted my confidence, and the most important thing is the support that we've got from our instructors.”
During 2021 we ran a Financial Coach Practitioner Certificate Training programme in February, April and September. Based on participant feedback, we increased the number of training sessions from 10 to 12 half-day sessions over five weeks. We also introduced an online training platform to create more of a blended learning experience.
The platform has numerous videos and demo coaching sessions to watch, resources to access, deeper dive material to read, and coaching exercises to practice. All live training and case study practice sessions are recorded and available to watch on the platform, creating more opportunity for reflective learning. This aspect of the training is self-directed, and outside the live sessions participants can interact with the training team and the rest of their cohort, through our ‘Members Area’. A demo of the platform can be viewed here.
Key to the success of the training has been to continue to grow our excellent team. Jo MacNaughten has been a valued member since 2018. She has a unique blend of skills and experience, being both a psychotherapist as well as a trained actor. Jo plays client in case study practise in the live training sessions, and she is also available to participants on a one-to-one basis if they would like additional practice sessions. Jo is the main point of contact for all participants, and provides support throughout the programme and thereafter.
In 2020 we were thrilled to welcome economist and senior lecturer Dr George Callaghan, who also delivers our Personal Finance Seminar Series. Both George and I have undertaken our own Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) level 7 coaching and mentoring qualification this year, to prepare to take the Wise Monkey training to another level. We're now moving closer towards making the Wise Monkey training a nationally recognised, independently assessed, formal coaching and mentoring qualification.
This year we bolstered the Wise Monkey training team further by bringing Graham Wells on board who, like George, is trained as a life coach as well as a financial coach. Graham has substantial experience as a trainer, specialising in training design and delivery. He also runs his own financial coaching practice and is a Chartered Financial Planner with more than 20 years’ financial services experience.
“It really did exceed my expectations. I was nervous about the online delivery but Simonne, Graham, George and Jo ensured it was very engaging throughout.”
With Graham joining the team, we sought to enhance the overall learning experience by analysing feedback from previous course participants. We used these valuable insights to reshape the course structure and content. We’ve made the programme more modular, incorporating some new exercises and material, and creating more opportunity for practising coaching skills. As a result, participants told us their knowledge retention was enhanced and they were able to immediately apply their newly acquired practical skills almost as soon as they left the virtual training room.
Our final course of 2021 was structured over five weeks, with 42 live online training hours. It also included an ‘integration week’ involving self study and practice sessions in ‘buddy groups’, as well as an opportunity to practice coaching skills with Jo.
We developed this format - focused around online training sessions - during the Covid-19 lockdown periods. Feedback was universally positive:
“Loved it. Inclusive, informative, fun, educational & pleased to be part of a great class with great teachers.”
“Very simply the best course I have ever been on. The level of preparation, attention to detail, care and support (for both trainees and ultimately clients) from the entire team was evident from start to finish. Your passion is contagious and it made for a great sense of togetherness amongst the trainees.”
“Very enriching and relevant course material. I also felt that my group of nine trainees was cohesive and well-matched.”
"The case studies were a real highlight on the course - not only to give us a flavour of what real life client situations might be but also so that we could get really hands on with our practice."
While the more intensive format worked well for people who were confined to their home offices during the pandemic, we’re now developing the 2022 course structure further. This will involve slighter shorter sessions, with a later start time, and be held over eight-weeks. We're also offering 30% more live online training, increasing from 42 hours to 54 hours.
Spreading the training over a longer period - with the addition of a second integration week within the eight-week format and more live training hours - will allow course participants even more opportunity to embed their learning. It also provides more time to practise skills, get together in ‘buddy’ groups, and take a deeper-dive into some of the topics making full use of the manual and on our online training platform. Plus there will be a reduced emphasis on ‘homework’ away from the online training sessions and integration weeks.
Full details, and structure, of the first 2022 course can be seen here.
During 2021 we also created and delivered a bespoke Financial Coach Practitioner Certificate training course for a small IFA practice. The modular aspect of our open training programme means we are able to effectively choose modules to meet specific needs of a business. We’re poised to do more of this in 2022, with Graham leading on this.
I’m delighted to say that other core elements of our training programmes, which always receive high praise, will be retained throughout 2022:
- Limited cohort size - we always ensure we limit the total number of participants in each of our training cohorts, to ensure a high trainer to learner ratio.
- Case study practise – these are a key part of the live training sessions, and there are opportunities for further case study work as needed.
- 100% participative - we’re huge advocates of learning that ENGAGES! Get ready for lots of games, exercises, Jamboards and energisers. We use a combination of proven training techniques that embed learning and hold participants’ attention.
- Comprehensive learning resources - as well as a training manual packed full of content, our new online learning platform offers an unrivalled blended learning experience. A demo can be viewed here. The platform can continue to be accessed for at least 6 months following the end of the training.
- An online Dropbox folder containing all the resources developed by Wise Monkey. This includes a broad range of additional resources, exercises, templates and spreadsheets to help you get going with your own Financial Coaching practice.
- Our online coaching community - another key element of our Wise Monkey training programme that started in 2020, which has gone from strength to strength. The community now meets on a fortnightly basis and is an excellent support network where like-minded individuals can hear from experts, discuss case-studies, gain peer support and learn through shared stories and experiences.
Our vision for later in 2022 is that the Wise Monkey training will offer new and past trainees the opportunity to attain an externally validated, nationally recognised qualification in coaching and mentoring. We also have plans to develop our membership.
Our training is hugely beneficial as financial wellbeing becomes more recognised and the demand for qualified coaches from consumers is growing exponentially. Financial coaching is a hot topic which is getting even hotter, so you have the opportunity to be at the forefront of a growing movement with the potential to help transform lives. More than ever, people are seeking trusted support, guidance, a place to work through their blocks with money. With training and ongoing support from Wise Monkey, you too can begin to deliver this service.
"Best training ever! I feel empowered and supported in equal measure to get out there and put the skills and knowledge into practice."
Sign-up now to receive more information about our 2022 training courses. Our first training of the year begins on 31 January 2022. Most places have now been reserved but get in touch if you’d like to register for one of the remaining slots or would like to know about courses later in the year, starting in May and September 2022.
Our next Personal Finance Seminar Series starts on 10th January 2022 and there are still places available: Find out more here.
Here's to an exciting, uplifting and healthy 2022!