Winning with Wendy | The 7 Common Traits of Great Athletic and Financial Coaches

Wendy as a motivational speaker at an event for OneAmerica.

Having been a Long-term care specialist and wholesaler during my 25-year career in the LTCi industry, I had the chance to observe and learn from the top financial advisors in the country, including my own financial advisor. I could see how these men and women navigated and coached their clients to financial success. In this segment of Winning with Wendy, I want to share the striking resemblance between financial coaches and athletic coaches.

Both professions share fundamental principles of coaching and guidance despite operating in entirely different domains. I think this similarity is stunning because it demonstrates how coaching is a universal concept that can be applied to various aspects of life, including personal finance and athletics.


Read More: Finding Your Inner Champion


Below are the similarities that I have found in my experience in athletics and financial planning, and why they make so much sense. Remember as you read this, THIS IS YOU!

  1. Goal-Oriented Approach: WOW, this one stands out in both fields, helping individuals achieve very specific goals. We can all agree, whether improving financial stability or excelling in sports, the emphasis on goal setting and attaining those goals is consistent. It’s difficult to achieve great things without setting goals along the way.


  1. Guidance and Mentorship: Coaches, in both areas, serve as mentors and guides. They provide knowledge and support to help individuals reach their full potential, whether that is managing money or improving athletic performance. We all need to lean on people who have expertise in specific processes or disciplines, and even coaches seek to learn from others.


  1. Discipline and consistency: Success requires discipline and consistency. As coaches you instill these qualities in your clients by emphasizing the importance of sticking to a plan and making incremental processes and adjustments along the way. It’s your job to encourage your clients to make the sacrifices and common-sense choices that will ensure long-term financial success.


  1. Adaptability: How many times have you had clients come into their meeting with new financial information, maybe a divorce, a marriage, a new grandchild, a new baby, a new job, providing care for a loved one, a death, so many things change in life and often those changes happen quite quickly. Coaches must provide adaptability in response to those changing circumstances. Whether it’s adapting to financial strategies to life changes or adjusting training regimens based on an athlete’s progress, flexibility is KEY.


  1. Communication Skills: To be an effective coach, it is essential to excel in this area. The ability to convey strategies, provide feedback, and motivate your clients just as my coaches motivated me to stay on track and make improvements. It also requires great listening skills and an ability to understand that the things that aren’t said might be just as important as those that are. Just like athletic coaches, great financial coaches read between the lines and help clients understand how actions and decisions impact their overall financial well-being.


  1. The Personalized Approach: While spending time with so many financial advisors over the past 25 years, and of course our own personal advisor for 35 years, I’ve seen first-hand the similarities advisors share with athletic coaches. Both understand that they must tailor their guidance to each individual because every situation is unique. This is how achievement happens, no two clients are the same, no two athletes are the same. What is required of coaches is a keen understanding and willingness to bring out the best by providing the best plans for an ever changing financial and athletic life.


  1. The Long-Term Perspective with a TEAM Approach: Finally, and not at all the least in similarities, both coaches emphasize the importance of long-term thinking. I cannot begin to tell you how many times both my financial coach and my Olympic coaches put that front and center with each meeting. The decisions that we made together provided a team approach that would benefit me for the rest of my life, whether building financial wealth or achieving my Olympic Dream.


I would love to hear your experiences and tips around financial coaching. Please feel free to reach out to me at Let’s share ideas.

In the Olympic spirit,


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