As a financial coach, you may assume it’s in my nature to think only with my head when it comes to my clients, i.e. “the numbers will tell me all I need to know about you.” Not so. I understand a business owner’s emotional stake in their finances—you started a business for a reason, and you want it to do well! So do I. It takes guts to reach out for help, especially with your finances. When you work with me, I can promise you a judgement-free zone. How? Financial empathy. 

What is Financial Empathy? 

Empathy on its own is one’s ability to understand the feelings of others and even share in those feelings. Not to be confused with sympathy, empathy is about approaching someone with compassion on even ground. It simply means you can put yourself in their shoes and build a connection based on that.

Financial empathy is a recognition and validation of the emotionality of finances. When I meet with a client, I don’t want them to feel shame or embarrassment; I want them to feel open to tell me all about why they need my help. When you’re sharing your story, I’m not just picking out the numbers and formulating a firm 10-point plan. I’m listening, processing, and ready to collaborate on how we can best get your finances in tip-top shape. 

Why Do I Need Empathy as a Financial Coach?

When people come to me, they bring with them any number of financial problems in their business. Reaching out for help with your business’s finances takes courage and vulnerability, both feelings that can be pretty uncomfortable. I want clients to feel at ease as we work together, and empathy is the best tool in my kit to get the job done. 

I work with many shapes and sizes of businesses: 

  • A mom whose passion drove her to start a small business while supporting her family.
  • A daycare whose bottom line is getting lost in the importance and chaos of providing quality childcare.
  • A business experiencing growth (yay!) that they weren’t prepared for.
  • A new business trying to get the lay of the land. 

Each client needs something a little different from me, and I identify this by diving into WHY they came to me. There are so many motivations, and every one is emotional. 

How Do I Use Financial Empathy? 

As with anything, practice makes perfect. Here are some tools I use to help my clients feel seen and understood: 

  • Listen with empathy. I put myself in their shoes, listen actively, and throw out any of my own biases. 
  • Understand non-verbal cues, and use them yourself. When a client is fidgeting, avoiding eye contact, and has their arms crossed, I know I need to double down on my empathy. On the other hand, if they’re meeting my gaze, nodding, and smiling—I know I’ve hit the mark. This goes both ways. I watch how I’m coming across to them, and remain open and encouraging. 
  • Connect to your clients’ story. Something has brought them to me, and it’s not a perfect financial situation. I listen to how they got here, what they need, and how I can help. 
  • Ask the right questions. I’m conscious about not inserting my own opinions or overemphasizing my own experiences. I process their needs and ask questions that will open them up and help me formulate a plan. 
  • Follow up promptly. I always try to get back to my client quickly, whether with an update or a check-in. I know this makes them feel prioritized and keeps the lines of communication open. 

Money is emotional. No one starts a business from a purely cognitive standpoint, and no one seeks financial help without accepting vulnerability. I can recognize that from my position as a financial expert because I truly have been in your shoes (or some version of them). 

It’s easy for me to practice empathy with my clients because I’ve been where they are. I’ve dealt with the shame of financial struggle and the mental burden that goes with it. So, believe me when I tell you—I’m a judgement-free, unfazed source of help. When you open up to me, I bet we’ll be laughing about how similar our situations have been. The only difference between us is that I can help you get through it now. 

I have the education and specialty on my side and the emotional experience—that’s a winning combo in my books. Let my head and heart assist your business in becoming the best it can be. Book a consultation with me here—I’m ready to dive in with you!