So called “soft-skills” are having a moment. Being a financial advisor is about more than understanding the crunchiest aspects of the market or creating sound financial plans — it is about shepherding clients toward their personal goals. That requires a great deal of emotional intelligence.
Money is a highly emotional subject for many, and strong emotional intelligence skills are increasingly vital for financial advisors. As global economic headwinds drag down the worldwide economy, advisors will need to help clients mitigate their anxieties around money. The strongest financial plan in the world is useless if a client won’t adopt it because they feel disconnected from their advisor.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence, sometimes called “EQ,” refers to an individual’s social ability and emotional perception. Someone with high amounts of EQ can read what a person is feeling, has awareness of their own emotions along with the ability to regulate them, and an empathic understanding of what people might need in a given moment.
Studies going as far back as 2009 indicate that advisors spend over a quarter of their time dealing with client emotions during meetings. Given a path toward improving performance for 25% or more of a portfolio, most advisors would leap at the opportunity. Yet, because it labeled as a soft skill, emotional intelligence is a frequently overlooked tool in an advisor’s toolkit.
How to Improve Your EQ
To improve your emotional intelligence, you first need to assess it. Once you have an idea of the rough levels of emotional intelligence in your firm, it’s time to take steps to improve it. This can be done in a variety of ways; there are a number of blogs, articles, and books that can help. But there are also speakers who have tapped into how a honed sense of empathy, narrative, and awareness can all be vital for advisors.
Exchange will feature a number of experts, many of whom understand that there’s nothing soft about soft skills. Financial advisors seeking to bring their game to the next level can get tickets for Exchange, taking place February 5–8 in Miami, Florida, here.