Want Better Team Training? Here Are 3 Ways You Can Improve

Micah Shilanski, CFP®, shares three ways to enhance team training through guided discovery conversations, regular scheduling, and different training approaches.

4.2 min read

Micah Shilanski
Micah Shilanski
Financial Planner, CFP®

Everything counts, and everything helps when it comes to changing your clients’ lives. As the leader of your team, you need to set up team training in such a way that your team can realize its value.

As the advisor, you see firsthand how your advice and client experience changes lives. However, many of your team members aren’t privy to how everything comes together for clients.

Use team training as an opportunity for your team members to master their roles and learn how they impact your office and the overall client experience.

Schedule your team training

Don’t spring training on your team. Schedule it well in advance, and allow your team members to prepare for it.

With my team, everyone enters the office on training days dressed for success and ready for their A-game.

We also rotate who oversees the team training. Do you have a superstar on your team who is a powerhouse with a specific aspect of your CRM?

Have that team member teach the rest of your office how to do the thing your team member is rocking. In my office, Sierra is a powerhouse with CRM reports. She can create and print reports for just about any reportable aspect of the CRM, so I had her lead training and taught the rest of the team how to do it.

    Giving your team members a chance to lead a training elevates the bar in a few ways:

    • Every team member is pressured to pay attention and apply what they learn.
    • Your team learns what it feels like to lead a training in front of a deadpan audience—which motivates them to be more engaged participants.
    • Your team members can share skills they’ve sharpened and processes they’ve refined with the rest of your office, improving efficiency.

    You should schedule at least two team trainings every month: one training for your entire team and another training for each of your team pods. For enterprise-type practices, you could break your pods down into groups of advisors, ops teams, relationship managers, trade executives, etc.

    Pod trainings allow you to address questions and concerns for each group without wasting valuable time for other team members who aren’t involved in those issues.

    Guided Discovery

    If you’re new to team training, you’ll be tempted to turn the training session into a lecture. While there certainly is a time and a place for that, your team training will be more effective if you turn your lecture into a guided discovery session instead of reading the 37 outstanding tasks in the CRM.

    Guided discovery is a back-and-forth conversation with your team members where you ask about their questions, concerns, and objections and help guide them to solutions.

    One interesting thing I’ve found doing guided discovery sessions with my team is that many of my team members have similar concerns. And it’s usually a concern that we just don’t run into as the advisors and leaders of our practice.

    If all three team members have the same concerns, we must adjust or create accommodations to the system.

    Sure, I could just tell them that “this is how it’s done. Buck up.” But team training is about making my team members better at their jobs and giving them a mastery of it.

    So hearing my team’s head trash, flushing out their concerns, and finding ways to work together through those issues is a more productive means of supporting my team versus telling them to deal with it.

    Many ways to train

    I’m not the best at one-on-one team training, so I don’t do it—instead, we focus on a one-to-many approach where I conduct training for my entire team as a whole and as pods based on job title.

    This way, my entire team can learn about the same topics pertinent to the office at once. When we break up into pods, we can focus on the issues relevant to each group on my team. This gives the advisors, or ops managers, an opportunity to train on aspects specific to their roles.


    Don’t feel like you have to do day-long training all by yourself. You may find it helpful to bring in a facilitator to help guide your discussions and your training for your team. Some facilitators may fit your needs better than others, so there’s always an added element of risk when hiring out, but for many advisors, the payoff is worth it.

    Outside training

    You can also help your team members seek out training for themselves. In my practice, all of my team members get a training budget they can use to improve their skills. When a team member attends out-of-office training like the Ritz Carlton or Black Swan training, you’ve got to set them up for success. Otherwise, you just waste the training fund.

    Treat outside training as a partial delegation. Even though your team member is attending the training, you still need to help with the prep work so that they can be successful. Also, let them know that the rest of the team will look forward to a presentation about what they learned and their takeaways.

    Help them identify action items they can implement from the training and questions they can ask while attending. What head trash does your team member want to tackle? How do they want to mingle? Help them identify problems they want to solve during the training, create questions they can ask other attendees, and learn different approaches.

    When your team member comes back, help them implement what they learned so they’re set to level up. Most people aren’t successful with outside training because they’re too blase about it—they sit in the back of the room, go out and have drinks with everyone, then return to work, and nothing changes.

    You must help your team reach the next level.

    Action Items

    Get team training on your schedule. It doesn’t matter if you have a topic yet; just get training blocks on the calendar because it will never happen if you’re waiting for the time to feel right.

    Start plugging your team members into training. This could be high-end training like the Ritz Carlton or Black Swan, strategic training coaches, or even reading a book together as a team.

    Whatever you choose, you need to get your team plugged into training so they can take things to the next level.

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