Why Understanding Assumptions Beats Making Them — An Interview with Jack Beatty (Entry 3 of 4)

Posted By on May 4, 2013|0 comments

After you align with yourself and ask the right questions, in the third phase of creating a client alignment process, Jack Beatty stresses the importance of listening to the answers you give to the right questions. Rather than assume, listen and learn.

For years I have been asking the RIGHT questions as Jack has trained me to do.  At the end of a day, at the beginning of the day or at the end of a meeting– asking the right questions puts me in a better state of mind to achieve the opportunities in everything I do. Ironically, if I would have asked the right questions in my example (with my wife packing the car) in An Interview with Jack Beatty: Personal Alignment Tips from a Mentor (Entry 1 of 4), I could have tamed my emotions and better understood the situation. This is where practice comes in. Rest assured, my example will make me be more aware of asking the right questions when similar situations arise.

In my most recent meeting with Jack, he added a new component to asking the right questions: listen to the answers that you give to right questions.

If I am asking the right questions, and even writing them down, aren’t I recognizing the answers? Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.  Intuitively, we might accept the answers, but we need to deliberately recognize the answers.

Recruit a Coach

To enhance your understanding of yourself and continue to commit to personal growth, Jack recommends that financial advisors engage a coach, a mentor, a friend or a partner to listen to you without judgment. You don’t need to find and or pay a business coach, but you need to engage a person to test and push you.

Your “coach” is better able to help you identify your role and address the assumptions you bring to your own thinking. Your coach will also ask questions that make you think about situations differently, further testing your assumptions and opening you up to a greater perspective. Ask your coach to help you develop your character.  Often, we default to A coach can empower you to see yourself differently. developing our function—we are a husband, father, employee, boss.  But this is what we do and should not define how we do it.

Don’t define roles in terms of function, but rather define your roles in terms of character—thoughts, feelings, and mindsets, how we communicate, and how we relate with other people.

Ditch Assumptions

Then, as Jack indicates, “Once each role is identified, the next step towards awareness is through asking another set of right questions to reveal any hidden assumptions, expectations or limitations within each one of these roles.”

Assumptions are the death to high performance and can muddy the waters when asking the right questions. I encourage us all to not create limitations based on societal or our communal assumptions. Break down your barriers by asking your coach to challenge assumptions based on gender as well as socio-economics, demographics and the like.

When I was a student in England, I befriended an older gentleman who was a janitor at Derwent College at York University.  Each morning I would wake to start studying. I would make my way through the cold halls and the common area, greeting the janitor as I made my way toward the library.

For 35 years, the janitor had been a train engineer until privatization of the railway system.  He was out of a job, but eventually landed on his feet as a janitor. As a result, he believed he and his son were relegated to a certain socio-economic status.  He made an assumption about his place in life. He limited his opportunities and his happiness. You and your coach should stay far away from assumptions that limit your growth and opportunity just like the janitor at Derwent College needed to do.

Practice Means Progress

Just like most thingsThe road to mastering self alignment skills requires avoiding assumptions. , your ability to achieve your vision comes through practice. Jack explained,  “The road to mastery of any role or theory is achieved through practice: by doing and redoing, by making mistakes along the way and growing, by aligning and realigning as things change and grow.”

Your ability to grow takes discipline to practice and the help of others to push you, but the upside is that developing as a financial planner has no limits. So practice the right questions, listen to your answers, embrace feedback and guidance from you coach, and better align with yourself. Then, you’ll be ready for the final phase—transitioning from student to coach.

How do you ascend from student to coach to help individuals see that opportunities have no limits? Check out the fourth post for the last segment on how Jack Beatty transforms advisors into coaches.


Understand your answers to the RIGHT questions. Enlist a coach, mentor, or friend to help you recognize assumptions and move beyond them.

Be sure to read our other blog posts in this series:

main image photo credit: Florian SEROUSSI via photopin cc

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