4 Ways to Make a Financial Counseling Client Feel Comfortable
According to the “Mind over Money” survey by Capital One and The Decision Lab, 77% of Americans report feeling anxious about their financial situation. Regret, humiliation, shame, and embarrassment are some of the common ways many of these individuals describe their financial situation.
At some point, some of these people will recognize they need help from a financial counselor. But that doesn’t mean they will have an easy time letting you into the mess that is their personal finances, which they have kept hidden from the world for so long.
Part of your role as a financial counselor is to make your clients as comfortable as possible. This will allow your clients to open up and be vulnerable when necessary. Here are five ways to make a client feel comfortable.
1. Be friendly.
Your clients may have a preconceived notion that financial counselors are only there to tell them what they can no longer spend money on. Sharing a smile with your client and viewing them as a friend can help them understand you are on their side and want what is best for them. Find some common ground with your client and begin your sessions connecting on a personal level. This will help relieve any anxiety or tension your client may be experiencing.
2. Be present.
Before starting counseling sessions, turn off your phone and computer notifications. Make sure the door is shut and potential distractions are limited. If you are conducting a virtual session, close the tabs on your computer that are not necessary for your time together. Being fully present and attentive will help your clients feel more comfortable and appreciated.
3. Be a good listener.
During your counseling sessions, it is best not to assume. Ask open-ended and clarifying questions. When necessary, ask clients to define certain terms to ensure you are understanding them and are on the same page. Listen to details that express what they truly mean and get to the heart of their problems. Your client will appreciate knowing that you have paid attention to the details they have shared with you.
4. Be optimistic.
It is common that many individuals who seek out help with their financial situations come burdened with regrets and shame. They may feel like there is no way out. An important part of your role as a Christian Financial Counselor is to give them a new way of viewing their circumstances. Your clients may be in a tough financial situation, but you can help them let go of the regrets and shame they are feeling and place them at the feet of the cross. There is hope and peace found in Jesus Christ, even amid financial turmoil.
About the Author: Katie Jones is the founder of Agape Investing, where she helps young professionals learn excellent money management skills that are rooted in the gospel so they can free their money up to pursue their unique calling.