Professional Model

In this model, professionals who are already working with potential financial coaching beneficiaries adopt coaching strategies into their work.

There are many large professional models that have been established across the country, including:

EARN is an award-winning California-based nonprofit that gives low-income workers the power to create economic prosperity for their families for generations to come.

Through the Wealthcare Program, EARN offers both direct financial coaching and financial coach training. EARN’s direct financial coaching program primarily serves alumni of their IDA matched savings program, but the agency also includes clients of their nonprofit partners in their coaching program. Coaching clients must be low income (or $77,450 for a family of 4), cannot currently be in credit crisis—meaning that they are at least paying required minimum monthly payments—and he or she must be employed (or self-employed).

One of EARN’s key lessons regards the importance of crafting a coaching program that is truly driven by client goals and needs. Whatever coaching model is implemented, coaches must be reflective of the goals and objectives set by the client.

Central New Mexico Community College has paired with the New Mexico Project for Financial Literacy to provide training of professional community outreach workers as financial coaches in San Antonio, TX; Des Moines, IA; and New Haven, CT in sessions like this (PDF).

One of the most valuable lessons that CNM has learned since they started delivering financial coaching is the importance of training the coach. Providing all coaches with knowledge, skills, common tools and a common language have been instrumental in the program’s success. CNM also underlines the importance of gaining buy-in not just from front –line staff, but also from senior management, a vital factor in expanding the program throughout CNM’s entire Community College system of 30,000 students. The materials and topics covered in CNM’s training for people interested in becoming financial coaches has been replicated and used on a national basis as part of more than 10 coaching training sessions that have taken place or are planned through 2010.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in Chicago offers financial coaching services at 12 sites which reached close to 4,000 participants in 2009.

The goal of LISC Chicago’s program—and an essential element of their CWF strategy–is to provide financial coaching services to clients as they receive workforce services that prepare them to get better jobs. LISC Chicago’s clientele represents the diversity of Chicago’s low-income communities with median incomes typically under $12,000 per year.

Coaching services are provided by LISC paid professional staff members. Coaches were trained using a program operated by Tribe Coaching. LISC provides training to both front line staff members who deliver financial coaching and to the director of each site. LISC Chicago uses coaching techniques to help develop powerful relationships with their clients, resulting in greater client engagement, an essential ingredient for any organization that delivers any social services.