Your clients have many answers within them.

Your job is to help them by asking the right questions, so they find those answers.

One of your roles, as their financial advisor, is to ask the questions that are crucial for the next steps of their life and to facilitate a process that helps your client find their internal resolve and solidify their understanding of your advice.

On one part, helping with the financial planning steps themselves is crucial. On the other, we are all “weird about money” as Jacob Needleman puts it. Allocating time that allows your client to integrate their understanding of their next steps enables and gives them a deeper emotional response. This can give your work a greater impact on their lives.

The result is that they will feel like you are their guide in the process of working on their personal finances rather than their “Investment gal/guy.”



What is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational Interviewing is about making a safe space for clients so they can share what is important to them. You are one of the best advisors in their lives to help them with their long-term positioning.

Part of your role is to do more than ask the 1.0 financial planning questions. It is also your role to hold the safe container of your relationship so your client can approach their hard questions.

One of the important outtakes for your clients is more than where you asked the hard questions. It’s how your questions enable them to have internal reflections while you were asking those hard questions.

It is SO important to give your clients space and time to come to their own internal understanding and resolve. From a positioning perspective, this approach, when used at the right time, will open additional values and considerations that you can use to give better advice.

This sets up a relationship with a proactive tenor. The client is taking their actions because of their internal feelings and resolve.

It is part of their heart’s core to implement your advice, rather than thinking that you have every answer. The answer they find often also has a greater drive because of their understanding of the importance of your suggestions.

The spirit of Motivational Interviewing is that you are in partnership with the client. That you are accepting the client; that they don’t need to be fixed. That by using this technique you can help your clients understand where they need to go and to provide the advice to get there.

It becomes part of their core to implement the decisions they made during your client meeting with them.
This process allows you to match your information with the way that they see the world.
The effect is that you gradually minimize the resistance the client has to your work and increase the adoption of your advice because they are working through the process themselves to understand why a strategy will or will not work for them.

Transcript of the Episode


Welcome to digital marketing for financial planners. The podcast where you learn which digital marketing strategies are working best for advisors. We interview financial planners who share what is working or not for their practice. Here is your host, Jake Wagner.


Jacob Wagner  00:18

Hello, and welcome to digital marketing for financial planners. This is your host, Jake Wagner. And on today’s show, we have Joseph quo. Joseph is an expert in what we call Motivational Interviewing. And he has a lot of dynamic information to share with us on today’s show. Joseph, welcome. How are you doing today?


Joseph Kuo  00:41

I am Excellent. Thank you for inviting me to the podcast.


Jacob Wagner  00:44

It’s an honor, I’ve been thinking about having you on the show for a while. And now that we have the second season going I’m really glad to have you be a part of it. So a part of what I wanted to bring you on today is that I’ve learned about this topic. nice that you’ve been bringing to your clients both for money quotient. And then also last week you taught at the purposeful planning Institute conference. And could you just share it with the audience? What is this Motivational Interviewing thing?


Joseph Kuo  01:14

Yeah, Motivational Interviewing. So by a little bit of a background, Motivational Interviewing was something that was originally developed in the substance abuse arena. And so the founders who developed the technique, Bill Miller and Steve Roloc, they were, frankly they were young practitioners then not sure what to do. And they end up just listening to clients and through the experience and figure out some things realizing that and listening to clients,

they’re able to have more impact when the clients felt heard down when expert starts giving information. And so,one characteristic of Motivational Interviewing the belief is that Clients already know a lot of clients have their wisdom within them.

And that frequently, when we are pushing for the clients to do something. Human beings naturally respond to one thing autonomy causes or invokes a pushback for the client. So to give you an example, in the arena, they were in within substance abuse when somebody is needing to, say quit smoking quit triggering for health reasons. And usually, the client already knows why they ought to quit smoking, for example, but an expert tells him about all the health risks or other issues associated with smoking. It’s not as if the client doesn’t know in those moments, but if you think about the portfolio, angels and devils in the client’s shoulders in those moments where the expert take on the voice of the angel, and this struggle has been existing within the client for a long time and the client starts taking on the role of the devil advocate when it’s as if the clients thinking, well, you don’t really know what I’m going through, you don’t realize I’ve thought through all the things that you were saying already. And here are the reasons why what you’re saying doesn’t work for me. And so if you Well, the client stopped articulating for themselves, why they can’t quit. And the more they say it, the more they come to believe in that for themselves. And part of Motivational Interviewing is a process through which we accept our clients of where they are, we don’t take on the roles of advocating for what it is that they must do.

Rather, we listen to accept and through a guided process, we evoke within the client themselves, why it is for themselves, that they must stop the harmful activities that they’re doing.

Wow. Okay.


Jacob Wagner  03:54

So please share a bit with the audience about well, you are a financial advisor, when you’re talking about clients, what kind of clients are you working with? And even actually, could you share a little bit about how you became a financial advisor and just how all that process blossomed and came together.


Joseph Kuo  04:11

Now, thank you for asking that. My personal history is I have a very, in some way up and down a complex relationship with money. When I was born, I was born to a family that didn’t have a lot of wealth. But my father started his own business and fairly quickly, the business became successful. So I would say that for most of my growing, developing years, the family is actually fairly wealthy. And then came bubble followed by 911, a lot of what’s happening the industry in the world actually resulted in the company going bankrupt. And so again, from having very little fun, I was born to having a good amount of financial security to not having much financial security again, and then that point, work my way in corporate finance up to Senior Director of Finance. And again, I’m enjoying the financial compensation at that point in time. And then having at that point in making a decision, a very difficult decision that I didn’t like the life that I had, and wanting to make the change to something that is much more fulfilling and resonates with my mission in life much more. And so have been having to make that decision to leave something certain to come into financial planning, and ultimately to start my own firm. And the reason why Motivational Interviewing had to play a part into this is that I was fortunate enough to have worked with a financial advisor who was a financial planner, and she has helped me with a lot of kind of internal exploration of what my vision of wealth is, what my vision fulfillment and what are the things that will bring me joy in my life and what are the some of the fears that is keeping me from those joy. And this process help got me to a place where I was finally able to make that transition and overcome my fear of pursuing the calling that I am experiencing now. And diving into some of the tools that can help clients sometimes make difficult decisions, but make it in a way that is aligned with their values. And they can make it with integrity.


Jacob Wagner  06:30

Can you just expand on that a little bit? It sounds like there’s a bunch of tools and just really the core of the Motivational Interviewing approach.


Joseph Kuo  06:39

Yeah. What I have experienced since I come into the field of financial planning, is that I frequently run into clients that may have achieved success in life, whether it does business or whether they have achieved a certain level that they were aiming for, but at this point in time, they don’t earn a good amount of money or they have a good amount of savings in the bank. And there’s a sense that they should have things figured out that they may be coming to a financial advisor for some expert advice on how to properly manage money, how to do a financial projection on how much money they need to save to retire, but is struggling with. I have a lot of wealth now. I’m making a good income now. But I’m still stressed about the financial decisions I’m having to make I’m still stressed about what might happen tomorrow. I’m having discord with my family member may be my spouse about making financial decisions together. Or I may have concerned about the legacy that I want to create for my children in such a way that they become responsible members of society. And there’s a lot of internal judgment for the client on what they should be doing. And also how they are going to there’s a busy question within the client of how they should be doing and maybe a self-judgment around, they should know these things because they’re smart. Now they’re successful, but they don’t really know how to get it done. And Motivational Interviewing is about creating a safe space for clients to quit in those moments. They’re able to express their values, they are able to express what is true for them in a deeper and deeper level, to come to the core, why something is so important. And they are able to dig into the values and the needs. They’re trying to express for a moment and take the strategy of what they think needs to happen in order for them to get to that core value. Put aside for a moment the strategy they believe that they need to just focus on articulating a really understand for themselves and what is the value and what is the need that they’re trying to express. And then from there, that’s come back to think about what might be a strategy that can help you move to meet those needs in a way that and serve you can serve your loved ones by in the case of spouses and both spouse’s needs are expressed. And they can work together on figuring out what might be a strategy that can serve both needs. And in those moments, people can start thinking and making decisions and not from a place of fear that from a place of guilt, but from a place of, Oh, this is who I am, this is what I want to express. This is how I want to shop in the world. And what would be the best way for me to do that so that I feel good about myself? And I can be consistent with my actions, I can be committed to my approach, I am now motivated to do these things. Because I’m doing an out of the division, I have a future rather than the fear that I’m trying to run away from.


Jacob Wagner  09:51

So to make sure I understand you correctly, a part of just what happens as a result of doing Motivational Interviewing is that when you’re talking to clients. This is a different way of speaking a different way of communicating and asking questions that allows that client to not just feel heard, but also find solidarity and internal understanding their decisions so that that way as to make decisions going forward, the adviser helped and the advisor helped get that understanding. But when the advisors thought there or even go back to the substance abuse situation with this came out of the person still has the resolve and the solidarity to follow through with their commitments and with what they told their advisor because of the reader how this process works and how people feel after going through it.


Joseph Kuo  10:42

Yes, at the moment through this process, for the clients making a decision, they’re making that decision for their own reasons. And they’re agreeing to a process they’re agreeing to a commitment for their own reasons, rather than for the advisor’s reasons. So you can think of this in the realm in one sport that the sport that comes up as analogy is in curling, where somebody pushes the puck, or whatever. I’m not sure what they’re called.


Jacob Wagner  11:12

I don’t know. Yeah, I know what they look like. Yeah.


Joseph Kuo  11:16

Well, you remember those things that we only see in the Olympics is that when somebody pushes the thing, there are people on the side that’s frantically brushing the debris out of the way. They’re not pushing on anymore. They just cleaned the breeze, so that the stone can travel as far as it can. Mm-hmm.


Jacob Wagner  11:34

Anyways, factory sort of a thing pointing the channel and changing the trajectory to get to where you want to go.


Joseph Kuo  11:40

Yeah, yes, but

it’s in the way of where we’re brushing the debris out of the way rather than pushing or pulling the client.

So the client caught themselves into doing the things that they want to do and into making the commitments they’re making. So I am not trying to get the clients to do something, the clients are convincing themselves that in order for them to get to where they want to go, or it is in a part of their core that they want to do this. So now they’re self-motivated to get this done. So how do we do it?


Jacob Wagner  12:18

How can you can we share a little bit with the audience of what this communication strategy is? There’s we don’t have the ability to provide visuals right now and might get something on the blog post. But yeah, how can we give the audience a little bit of insight into what Motivational Interviewing feels like?


Joseph Kuo  12:35

Yeah. The,

I would say that the core of Motivational Interviewing is really is that Spirit, the Spirit that we’re in partnership with the client, the spirit that we’re accepting of the client, the client isn’t broken.

The client doesn’t need to be fixed. They are who they are, and they’re, they’re good the way they are. Huh? Then we’re collaborating with the client to get to where the client wants to go. And we’re engaging, evoking the client’s motivation to get to where they want to go. And so what practically happens is, when you think about when you’re painting a room or building, before you start painting, you need to really prime the wall so that the paint can stick. A huge part of Motivational Interviewing isn’t priming the wall. And so a lot of what we are doing upfront is really approaching clients with curiosity and acceptance in understanding the client’s view of their reality, and there’s no judgment in the sense that the client feels and sees the reality that they see right. There’s nothing I can do or say to change what’s real for the client. They believe. They see the world to where they are And in the beginning, what I’m focusing on is to really get to a point where there is an understanding between myself and the client that I am hearing the client, I am getting what the client is saying, in their way of seeing the world and how they experienced the bone. And through this process, I am gradually minimizing the resistance and the defenses as the clients feel. So that what I mean by this is, and maybe you have this experience, when you see somebody doing something that you interpret as this isn’t going to end well for you, or that I don’t believe this is the right thing to do. And we might be inclined to say no, before you do that, again, I think you need to consider this or I think why this doesn’t work and why I think that this way is going to work better. And in those instances depending on the model’s mental state or whoever the mindset of a client is, they might listen to you. And they might say, Well, yes, but I tried this already. But you don’t understand the situation. But you don’t understand why it is that this is going to be the best way right now. And maybe your information isn’t perfect. I know something else. I, in those instances, anything that we say, becomes an obstacle, the client or whoever is talking to have to overcome that they’re not really listening to say, How do I incorporate what you’ve said, they’re listening to say, why this doesn’t work, or buying and so on. And so part of really accepting the client really understanding and hearing where their clients coming from is to minimize that, yes, but that is a byproduct as we build rapport because when the client feels that I really accurately understand what the client wants into what the world is like them, they no longer feel the need to have to explain to me, yes, but this is why what you say doesn’t work or why what I’m doing is a better way because they feel that I’ve understood or that I’ve listened. And through the process of working with clients, a big part of it is I keep coming back into this to help the clients feel heard and accepted where they are right now. And when the client starts, and there’s a technique to this, there is a technique to this and what I mean by that is, if there is actually a direction the client is trying to go as the client is saying why they are stuck in place and I am listening to why the clients are stuck in place by also listening for why the clients feeling or saying that they need to move from here. So I become, this is the guided conversation. I become a mirror. Quick as a client is a kind of struggling through all the various voices in their head, I become a married as reflecting the direction that they explained to me of where it is they want to go. And so I might say to a client that a client who wants to say save enough money to retire when they’re 55%, or 65. But in the meantime, they’re spending a lot of money eating out or doing other things. They could just use that as an example. And the client might say that I hear all the things why they have to spend the money. I’m working really hard. I need to work to decompress to relax. It’s like, I can’t keep sacrificing the present for the future. Who knows what’s going to happen to me that what if I die tomorrow and I spend all my time depriving myself of the joys and saving money and I never got to enjoy it.


Jacob Wagner  17:47

And George Kinder’s questions, right, right.


Joseph Kuo  17:49

And in those moments, so except that all of those things are true for you. And you’re wondering how to enjoy life right? Now, while still making progress toward your goals,


Jacob Wagner  18:09

something I’m also hearing from you and just like, I just want to mirror back what I’ve heard is that if you go and you see someone doing something and as you said like you can tell that it’s not going to end well for I like that way of phrasing it. Then if you tell them what to do that a couple of things happen. One, you’re like they want to rebel. You’re like some point of opposition. And that also, there’s all these internal scripts that start to kick up that really just reinforce the problem. And that as a result, like you almost even like that’s, that’s getting them even more stuck in their ways. And that instead by asking a careful question and listening, those things start to allow the person to speak for themselves, allow them to reveal what they’re saying. And as a result, they’re using that time to understand how they deeply feel about something. And even like, what I was just hearing you talking about is that by being a mirror for the other person, that a part of what you’re doing is that you’re letting them see and letting them see where they want to be. And also letting them see the consequences of those negative behaviors. And just like that helps bring it into just a deeper internal understanding. So that that way when they like, walk out of the client meeting, it’s still sticking with them. Maybe they’re talking about it over dinner, and maybe like, hopefully, I would think that the conversation is continuing, almost like a code example of a couple but leaves the room with them and they still talk about it for days and think about it for weeks. And that’s really that’s a powerful way to use your time.


Joseph Kuo  19:53

Yeah, excellent, excellent meringue. Thank you for listening. You’re heard I would kind of summarize it is perhaps this way, in a slightly different, maybe analogy. And that is that when we see that a client might be doing something that doesn’t serve them with a long term, I have this recognition that when we do something, we do it. Because there is something our actions, there’s a need that we try to meet. Whatever it is we do, we’re doing it at that moment because we believe that is going to meet our needs. For something for comfort, for ease, and for connection for competence. What has you there is an I’m doing this because there’s something within this I believe, it’s gonna help me feel better in some way. Even if we’re seeing that whatever it is, they’re doing may not seven for the long term, but they’re not doing it because they know it’s gonna be bad to do it because they believe there’s something they’re going to get from it, even if it’s not conscious. And so In those moments when we go to them and said, No, you shouldn’t do this, you should do something else and what we bring up within them. It’s all the reasons why they should continue doing the weather, the things they are because there is that need to trying to meet. Does that make sense?


Jacob Wagner  21:14

It sure does. Yeah,


Joseph Kuo  21:16

yeah. And so in those moments, instead, we kind of understand with them, Well, why this is so important for them to continue to do the way things are doing and understand the need to try to meet and we can then start asking or understand, well, what are the consequences of contributing the way that you’re doing now, and other better ways to meet those needs? Hmm. And then we start having the client decide for themselves and articulating for themselves, the potential negative consequences for them to stay the way they are, and the potential positive consequences for them to find a better way to move forward. So the client at that moment is advocating for themselves and why they should change and start to feel the consequences of what they don’t. And they’re doing it on their own, instead of me telling them why something would work or why something would.


Jacob Wagner  22:17

So that sounds like it’s also really helping the client understand what the delaying gratification is going to bring to their lives. They’re like, especially like I’m in Portland, Oregon, you’re in San Francisco, there’s amazing food around every corner and going and it’s fun. And so going out to those experiences is a wonderful thing. But if you over-invest in that, then you’re also you’re borrowing from your future and just to be able to weigh those decisions as you’re going through that. That sounds really helpful.


Joseph Kuo  22:51

Yeah. So to find what it is that is most important and Maybe for the client, this idea of saving for retirement isn’t really what’s most important, but maybe most important, it might be that they get to enjoy more time with their family, or that they get to now do something that they’re passionately interested in doing rather than what they’re doing right now to just make money. And some of those things might be what they can anchor to, for why it is that they might choose to not go out tonight and save that money. instead. They find their own reason why it is they’re going to make the decision.


Jacob Wagner  23:46

Is this also a part of because I mean, you’re a career changer into the financial planning profession. Is this a part of a counter this process? How did Motivational Interviewing help you when you were in corporate finance and Seems like you were doing great over there. And then you pivoted over into financial planning, how is Motivational Interviewing a part of that?


Joseph Kuo  24:07

Ah, I am thinking about my life back then. What was the fear that I felt in leaving corporate finance, I was concerned that I’m giving a reasonably high paying job behind that I have reached a certain level in the corporate ladder that given I’ve put so much effort into it, and it was particularly stressful because I’ve experienced what it was like to not worry about money so much, and then all of a sudden to worry about money a lot and finally got into a point where I don’t have to worry about money so much again, to give that up, and there’s a lot of fear in that and not just for me, obviously, but for my family and my kids and by all those things are factors that are playing around in my head. And then the part of that Kenya question of what happens if I were to die tomorrow Why would I regret not having down what I regret not having become? And having somebody to fully listen to that answer and to extrapolate from that answer to really hear underneath my answer to say, Ah, so these are the values You’re almost there, which is that can I get it right? What if those are the values that I hold most dear, what might be some decisions that I’d be willing to make so that I can fully express in the way that is that I ever weld in a way that I believe will take care of my family in the long term in a way that would help me stay true to what I see most important and being in integrity and be willing to take some risks and be willing to face the uncertainty because I am making the decision that I will find a way to make this happen. I to come


Turns out, I’m making a decision as uncertain that life has always been uncertain, even if I didn’t realize it, and be willing to say that I’m going to do what it takes in order to make this happen.


Because I am I am. I’m doing this for me. That makes sense.


Jacob Wagner  26:17

It does. Yeah. And also what I’m hearing from you is that it’s helping you pick the point on the horizon that you want to walk towards. And then also as you’re on the walk, and you’re doing that is when you encounter problems, trials, start knights, the soul and the knowing where you’re going on the horizon helps you get over that obstacle and to your goal,


Joseph Kuo  26:40

I guess, as a part of the Motivational Interviewing process is to help the clients paint that picture in their mind and have the clarity have more clarity, and is an evolving process, right. So evolving, life is evolving. And so in working with a client, this is a continuing process to constantly refining, adjusting, and creating the space for the client to feel safe that things are a little different for me now, and this is how things have more for me. And to continue the conversation, we’re always priming and we’re always priming. And then we take specific actions to paint a picture to paint the wall, and then we’ll go back to priming that


Jacob Wagner  27:22

Hmm. So do you have to be a life planner as a financial planner to bring these skills in your practice? Or do you think that really any financial planner can bring some of this in and help the clients?


Joseph Kuo  27:36

I believe that every financial planner can use it to help support their clients.

I mean, when you think about, say a prospective process, but a client a potential client calls, I wanted to have a conversation with the financial advisor on but what am I going to get out of all work together? and motivation interview could be a relatively quick and painless process. to really hear, what is the clients really wanted, they might say, this is what I want, like, I want to save enough money retirement, I want to get some sort of growth in my investment. I want to figure out what I can afford to buy a house. And within all of those ones, that is some needs that they believe that they can fill, once those things would happen. And being able to really listen and uncover what those needs are, allows us to be able to much boldly articulate what we can do to meet those needs, rather than just a strategy that the clients have kind of presented as this is the strategy I want you to implement for me. Maybe those are the right strategies. Maybe they’re not. This is not the time to disagree with the client but it gives us a much better perspective on where we might go with this relationship and what we can do to really be a helpful client


Jacob Wagner  29:00

in how to move past the questions that you hear from her the statements you hear from every prospect eventually. That’s why their FAQ, the frequently asked questions and so you get to that and then you want to know, what’s the next level? What are some of the steps that you need? What are the other reasons why you came here? And that seems like that’s where Motivational Interviewing really starts to grab some extra traction or even like, forget that extra tracks? Yeah.


Joseph Kuo  29:26

Yes, there’s frequently one for many clients. And there’s an impetus for why it is that they reach out like why they haven’t reached up before in the why the original now. And frequently, what they say, as the reason why they’re reaching out is just the symptom of what has happened. And so


Motivational Interviewing is a way to get to more of the root of what changed.


Why is this important now in ways that haven’t been important? The past


Jacob Wagner  30:01

I consider it sometimes folks have presenting issues. And then there’s core issues and their different categories because of presenting issues, something they feel comfortable saying and someone they don’t know as well. And then after this intimacy that’s getting made through the Motivational Interviewing process, you can start to tap into more of what is what are the core reasons why they came here? What is Yeah. So is there a difference between how you would use Motivational Interviewing, just trying to use the same framework in a different way if you’re talking to a prospect versus a client, or is there a different way that you conduct the process with the client versus prospect?


Joseph Kuo  30:42

I would describe it this way. There are definitely techniques associated with Motivational Interviewing, but the guiding principle but it’s the spirit and the spirit once we are in that spirit. That is how we interact with clients or prospects. There is no difference We’re constantly working with clients to understand to hear what they really mean and to be accepting that they’re the expert in their lives. They’re experts in themselves in ways that we are not. So. So that’s a constant thing, the constant theme that happens in my react interactions, but others. And I also want to be clear, it’s called Motivational Interviewing, but is definitely not an interrogation process. In fact, most of Motivational Interviewing doesn’t involve questions.

Most Motivational Interviewing is simply mirroring and reflecting what the clients are saying,

but is a way of answering reflecting furthers the conversation that furthers understanding. Sometimes I’m making guesses on some things that may be implicit in what the clients are saying but they didn’t articulate and sometimes I just, I’m just kind of trying to guess at why it is so important for me to for you to be calamus now Why is it so important for me to hear this and make a guess on? I’m guessing that this is important because of something, and then that clients will correct me if I’m not correct or further in the conversation by explaining more, why this is so important to them. So these are all ways to further the conversation to go a little deeper without being like an interrogation.


Jacob Wagner  32:25

Mm-hmm. And, and I like to just share with the audience a bit because I want to try to create some good examples for them to be able to take away from this podcast. And so I think actually, what I’m doing in this conversation is a really good example of it. We have there’s a little bit of formatting that we do and we have pre conversation before so we know where we’re going to take everything, but I’m just trying to listen to Joseph here and ask questions that are going to allow him to open up and share a lot of the nuances and some of the deeper feelings about the about his expertise here. Specifically Motivational Interviewing, but it could be about personality tests or Salesforce or a whole lot of things.

It’s about trying to ask that question in a way so that the person can share those secrets and those nuances,

and hopefully, we can share clearly with you in the audience. And do you have other ways and other examples that you can highlight for folks just, you know, even if there’s a bullet point of a process they can think about in their head or something like that?


Joseph Kuo  33:26

Yeah, thank you and excellent. reflection and sharing and summarizing of our conversation, thank you. One of the things that I want to have to give this example is that when at times, when we have been working for spouses as examples, where they seem to be, each spouse is in disagreement, because of one person wants this the other person wants that. For example, one person wants to buy a bigger house and sell a house, the other person really wants the house they live in because the community they build and they really don’t want that. It could seem as if they’re kind of diametrically opposed like there’s no way to do both. And that is in those moments and if we’re able to really hear why it is so important for one person, to have the flexibility to sell the current house when they buy a bigger house, and why it’s so important for the other person to keep this house and kind of go one level identified, like, the reason why I want to keep the house at the best community and build Well, if you’re able to maintain the community, you build a flow which you have, then I will have the supportive environment where I can come to this community about what’s bothering me, or what I’m looking for, rather than having my spouse be the only person I do that with and potentially create more conflicts, but my spouse did not have the support the system, I am going to be that much more present for my spouse when we’re together. And that’s going to help strengthen our marriage. So, in a funny way of wanting to keep the house isn’t about the house is about me valuing the relationship and wanting our relationship stronger. And the other spells wanting the flexibility of selling a house might be doing it because one, they want to have the freedom, they want to have the autonomy to make those decisions. And if you go a step underneath, is maybe because that this spouse is one to have the freedom, the autonomy to make the decision that he believes is going to be best for their future of their spouse so that there could be more stability, more safety for the future. And so underneath of the strategy, the two people who are trying to make life better for each other. Mm-hmm. And those


Jacob Wagner  35:52

are in different answers, but they all both have the same motivation and they both want the same results to


Joseph Kuo  35:58

right and then Those moments and there is a, there can be a not to put too much into it. But in those moment, there’s a possibility by that they see that the need that they’re trying to feel is actually the same. And there may be strategies that they can both come to an agreement on that can be both. And so one of the things you mentioned earlier is what are some practical things that listen to by being able to do, and one of the things that I would suggest is to have a conversation with somebody, but you literally sit on your hands as an indication that I’m just going to listen. So the next time you have a conversation, and somebody’s saying something, and they’re not coming to you say, hey, I need you to tell me how to build a shed because they’re probably asking for specific instructions. But if they’re just having a conversation with you, and then and you’re wanting to help to provide input and to say, Well, I think you should do this or maybe I’ll have you considered that or so on that. In a moment, just practice sitting on your hands for that conversation, and simply listen, and care what the person trying to convey. When this person is saying this, what is it that this person is really wanting me to hear and really want me to know, and just be good with. I am honored that this person is sharing this with me at that point in time and see what it’s like for yourself and see if what is life for the other person to be able to speak without having to defend it without having to spend a lot of time thinking about how they’re going to react to you. They get to just say what’s on their mind completely released, what they’re holding in their brains. And just see how that experience is like as a first step.


Jacob Wagner  37:43

And I think it’s also really important to add on to it is just spend your energy listening as fully as possible and don’t really like put my mind towards trying to find that next response because the response like when the versus done, it’ll be there and it will probably be a better question or a better thought because the person has been able to express themselves fully.


Joseph Kuo  38:07

Yeah, one another way to think about this as a somebody come to talk to you is this conversation about me or this conversation about them, when they’re coming to talk to me about able to at that moment, hold that this conversation, it’s about them. And then the first thing I’m going to do is really hear really listen and to learn from the other person, how I can be helpful. When I jump into start offering my perspective, without the other person asking for about the other person wanting it, I am now making the conversation about me about what I want to say to you.


Jacob Wagner  38:45

And I also think that it just makes it more likely for that just the reason like why I need to find a way that no, but I’m right or you couldn’t know or just doesn’t even matter what specific word someone’s attaching to that thought, but I think that just The simple differences in the approach make it so that when you’re sharing an opinion, maybe someone feels talked down to maybe they don’t feel heard, whatever, but it diminishes the conversation. And by listening fully by doing these mirroring practices by asking the question of what’s more, and what’s next that the person’s ability to really like, get their full point across and feel like when I’ve done these exercises and Josias workshops, that it’s really like, I’ve what I’ve listened to the I really just felt just so pleasantly heard and it felt warm and felt like a nice hug. And when I was doing it with the person and when I was the interviewer, I just felt like I was really connecting with this person and really understanding what it was that they were trying to tell me. And, and I think we can bring this together. Every part of our lives, obviously, the better we can listen to our clients better, the better we can listen to our spouses, the better. I don’t have kids, I’m only an uncle, but just if you can tell us about that, but it seems like even just someone that you’re meeting on the street, but if you can have some of the stuff that you’re bringing to the conversation, that it’s gonna help you be the best person that you can be when you’re in these situations. And when you’re interacting with the world around you. And of the world, you feel like you hear the world better, and you feel like the world heard you.


Joseph Kuo  40:35

It’s the truth in those moments, you’re speaking with each other instead of talking at each other.

Well, I do want to pull back a little bit to say what’s, what makes Motivational Interviewing different from something like active or authentic listening. Okay, I do want to kind of now bring it back to why I use it in financial planning practices, and so on is that debt is a guiding peace to motivation to him. So when I’m making reflections, I am very strategic. And what it is I’m reflecting so that a client has a, for lack of a better word the client is spending in such a way that doesn’t help them meet their goals or heading the direction they want to head toward. In those moments when I’m reflecting, I am very purposefully reflecting the pain that they feeling with this overspend and the joy that they might feel or the accomplishments that they feel when they’re able to make different decisions, to focus on planning for their future. So I am not just reflecting everything they’re saying, I’m very strategic. And what it is I’m reflecting so that I’m helping shape the process without pushing without pulling assembly to brush the debris out of the way so that they continue the conversation on their own as to why it is painful for them to keep doing the things. They are They have been, and why is going to be that much better for them to make some changes and do things differently going forward.


Jacob Wagner  42:08

So sort of even just embellishing a bit of what you’ve heard, but it also with what you’re choosing to embellish, is highlighting the pain of the negative experience and highlighting the joy, the positive experience. Is that right?


Joseph Kuo  42:22

So I want to, maybe it’s a little bit more subtle than that. I suppose embellishing is simply to choose to acknowledge that there is pain, when like

when the client talks about the pain that they experienced, and to simply reflect it to acknowledge that yeah, it was painful.

Yeah, you wish you didn’t do that. And when the clients talk about the joys of making different decisions to be to acknowledge that and so when somebody says that this given example, when I bought this purse, it was a really pretty purse and I really liked that. After I buy it, I keep thinking to myself, you know how I’m going to be able to show it off and carry it. And at the same time now, like I realized I blow the budgets I have for shopping this month. And now I’m not sure how I’m going to buy the rest of the stuff that I might want to need, at that point to be able to reflect that there’s a lot of at the moment when you purchase first there was this kind of joy and excitement on what you can do with it. And you are also realizing that you wish that you know, you want to make sure that you have the resources to do everything else that you need to do for the rest of this month. That is going to be very important for you to do and kind of help is kind of a clean way for them. Yes, there was joy. And one of the things that you really wanted to be able to do it to meet your future goals, while making sure that you’re actually covering all your necessities. And so I think you understand what I’m saying is that you reflect things in such a way that you acknowledge that they were excited about it. At the same time emphasize that they now need to deal with the consequences of the action that is okay.


Jacob Wagner  44:11

Yeah, folks have learned have been able to learn from Joseph about this twice so far. And the first time I actually wrote down a task, my task was to have him on the show. And now I’ve been able to experience it twice. And there’s still just a lot to learn about trying to understand this subtlety. And the best metaphor I have is definitely that curling metaphor of getting the debris out of the way and then just allowing the person to have their own trajectory is still where I’m at with it. And do I have that right, Joseph? Am I getting more clear in my understanding?


Joseph Kuo  44:49

Yes, I believe so. I really enjoy Joe reflecting and listening to me. So I would say very much so thank you. Good. Good.


Jacob Wagner  44:59

That’s great. And just we are getting towards the end of our time. So just Is there anything else that you want to make sure that the audience knows about?


Joseph Kuo  45:09

Yeah, so one organization that is, well, there’s a Motivational Interviewing organization, called Mint is called the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. And you don’t need to be a trainer to access much of the information outside it’s got directories got various members of putting on training. So if you’re interested in learning more about Motivational Interviewing, that website is a when I believe is Motivational but you can Google it, you can find it. It talks about these different trainings that might be different resources that you can do to learn more about this. And also there’s the book the Motivational Interviewing book by William Miller as the ronak. That is essentially the textbook on Motivational Interviewing Data people can learn more about the coaching for financial planners class, including a university that uses the motivation to be in the book as one of the textbooks. And so that would be a class people want to learn more about this topic, but also about coaching in general, for financial advisors. That’s a great class to take as well.


Jacob Wagner  46:19

And they’re just all of their master’s degree curriculum is top-notch, and absolutely encourage folks to check out what they have to offer. Dave? Yes, he’s the director of that. And he’s pretty great. And there’s just basically all the teachers just included are incredible people. And I Holy, Holy encouraged to check out that program. And with that, folks, Joseph, thank you for coming on the show. And I’ve learned so much and I hope the audience has as well. It’s been great having you.


Joseph Kuo  46:50

Thank you for inviting me. It’s been wonderful being here.


Jacob Wagner  46:53

And with that, folks, I’ll see you on the next episode of digital marketing for financial planners. Take care and Have a great day

Jake is trained as a Certified Digital Marketing Professional.

He is called to connect true financial planning professionals with their clients and prospects through effective digital marketing.

He understands the needs and concerns of the financial planning profession and the wide range of regulatory compliance needs and concerns.

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