Our Holistic Financial Coaching Model
If just being told what to do with your money worked…
…we’d all be fine.
The Pacific Stoa Holistic Financial Coaching model has been built from the ground up to be adaptable, deeply collaborative, and accepting.
Far from expecting you to comply with a premade system, within this model you and your coach will build a system to fit your life, and you’ll practice the tools you need to integrate that system into your life.
Because if traditional financial education worked, you wouldn’t be reading this.
Here you will not be directed, corrected or advised
So much of traditional financial literacy and education works from the assumption that there is something wrong with you. That somehow you need to just restrict yourself better, inflict consequences on yourself to “teach yourself a lesson” or follow the directives of some expert. Financial knowledge isn’t privileged information, and on its own will not result in the kind of implementation and integration it takes to make long-term positive changes in our lives.
Traditional financial education, knowledge, and coaching can’t teach you how to trust yourself with money, have a safe conversation with your partner about money, or build an adaptable budget that changes with your life. Our model can because it’s been intentionally built to do just that.
Like a bespoke suit made just for you
It might seem labor-intensive to build a budgeting system from scratch with you and for you, and it is. Sure a premade 7-step plan is easier to jump into. But if it doesn’t work for you, the message that you may receive is that YOU didn’t do the system right. The expectation of your compliance with a system/budget/whatever is the reason premade systems don’t work. You are a moving target, and your life can and should change and evolve over time. A plug-and-play system cannot adapt to you. But building an adaptable, personalized budget that fits your life can.
This means that your money system (budget) gets easier to use over time.
Money mindset + money mechanics + soft skills = financial wellness
Along the way to building your own personalized budgeting system you’ll need good problem-solving and decision-making tools too. And while we’re building up those skills and tools, we’ll be changing and healing your money mindset. Rather than stuck in restriction, shame, and scarcity, you’ll be able to trust yourself with your money and heal your relationship with money.
Our Core Values
Our core values inform and impact everything we do.
The purpose of the Pacific Stoa Model is to:
-teach others to trust themselves
-respect others’ inherent resilience
-foster others’ autonomy and self-reliance
You are safe here
We believe that the coaching relationship is the single biggest key to our client’s success. To even begin training our coaches must embody empathy, acceptance, humility, and collaboration.
We recognize that while your coach may have training, they are not the expert on your life. YOU are. The combination of your perspective and your coach’s perspective is the only thing that makes financial wellness happen.
Your coach was once where you are right now.
Technical skills means your coach builds their strategy around you
Your coach has received well over a hundred hours of training in a wide-range of technical subjects. From behavioral economics to philosophy. From empty listening to discerning which tool to teach and when.
Because your path through coaching is different than anyone else’s, your coach must be able to pivot and adapt their coaching strategy with you in real time.
Your coach will meet you exactly where you are and move at exactly your speed.
The purpose of this technical training is so that your coach can be an expert guide with you as you work towards your ultimate goals.
Your outcomes are the reason for this work
While the list to the left is certainly not comprehensive, your path through coaching will be built in service of your goals.
We know we’ve done our jobs when our clients feel like money isn’t controlling them.
When money stress isn’t impacting your relationships, when you find yourself making better choices without having to force or restrict yourself, and when you have the bandwidth to see further and further in the future, you no longer need coaching.
So what does a coaching session look like?
While each session is unique, these five processes make for a successful coaching session.
Wether it’s your first session or your 15th, your coach will engage with you for a few minutes. This is an opportunity to catch up, make sure everyone is comfortable and has the equipment and resources they’ll need. Together you and your coach will review what was covered at the previous session.
Most of the time your coach will start a session with a bit of a game plan. Based on what you talked about last time, your coach may have one or two ideas on what to talk about during this session, but first you’ll just have a nice conversation.
It may not seem like your coach is doing anything but listening during this time. They may ask clarifying questions of you, or offer a summary to make sure they are understanding you.
While discernment may look like just listening and an occasional question, it is quite possibly the most technical skill your coach has. Your coach is listening for indicators of unmet needs, seeking a deeper understanding of what you’re saying, and then matching your need with at least one concept or tool they might teach. If the concept or tool they originally thought they might share with you today isn’t called for, they’ll choose another.
There are two general domains your coach is working with. There is the relationship/connection/communication domain, and the system/budgeting domain. You can’t fix a relationship concern with a system tool and vice-versa. That’s why we have system tools for system concerns and relationship tools for relationship concerns. Choosing the right tool for the concern is part of discernment.
It’s like a game of 20 questions. Your coach’s job is to use reflective listening, open-ended questions, and summaries to suss out the correct tool or concept to share with you all while meeting you exactly where you are, and keeping your end goals in mind.
Your coach is acting a bit like GPS, always moving you gently towards your goals.
This is probably where you and your coach will spend most of your time. Your coach will probably offer one or two options on what to discuss during this session. It might sound like “I’m thinking about two different things we could talk about today… either would be great, and whichever one we don’t talk about today we’ll circle back for another time… I’m thinking we could talk about procrastination or a decision-making strategy… which would you like to talk about?”
The teaching process should feel like a discussion. Your insights and observations are important, so interrupt! You’ll notice your coach is frequently pausing to check in with you. What do you need clarification on? What questions do you have? What is your biggest surprise as we’ve been talking?
Your coach will ask some reinforcing questions to add a layer on to whatever concept they shared. Rather than allow concepts to be academic or theoretical, reinforcment is about integrating a concept, tool, or strategy into your life. Reinforcment leverages your own wisdom.
What do you think you might notice as you practice this tool? What kind of patterns do you think you might see?
You and your coach will take a moment to summarize what you’ve discussed and then it’s time to talk about homework. Don’t worry though, this isn’t compliance-based homework. You’ll either choose your own homework or your coach will make a few suggestions.
Practice is powerful. Many of the concepts you’ll master will be used multiple times in different ways. Awareness without judgment is a great example. You may practice this skill in a non-financial way first, and then later use it as part of a financial skill like tracking spending, and then again while mastering expected spending.
Homework is all about practice and integration. Most homework should take about five mintues a day or 30 minutes a week.
And most of your homework will be games.
What to expect from the coaching journey
Everyone’s journey is different, but there a few common milestones and outcomes you and your coach will be working towards.
Nothing in this model is set in stone, and everything is built for and with you as you go.
Milestone 1: Your relationship with money
A healthy money mindset is critical for for a healthy relationship with money.
This part of the journey is the hardest part… you’ll practice patience and grace for yourself, master being aware of your own behavior without judgment, and begin to trust yourself. Together you’ll build resilience, too.
For couples this also means you’ll be working on connection and communication with your partner.
Milestone 2: Problem Solving and Decision Making
What would your life look like if you could make better and better decisions without feeling shame, judgment, or resrtriction? This stage of your journey is critically important. Without the ability to make good decisions, it doesn’t matter what kind of system you and your coach build, it WILL fail.
Your coach is not there to advise you or tell you which decision you should make, only to give you the tools to make good decisions on your own. And you’ll learn most of these strategies as games too!
Only after your mindset around money has changed and you’ve practiced some problem solving tools will you and your coach move on to the last leg of your journey together.
Milestone 3: System Building
This is where the tools and concepts you’ve been practicing really get put to good use!
As you begin system building you’ll learn a way of tracking your spending that doesn’t suck, you’ll develop your own money language, and you’ll build a money system that is designed to change with your changing life.
As you evolve and integrate your budget system and master trusting yourself with money your coach will be less and less necessary, and before you know it… you’re on to graduation.
Milestone 4: Graduation!
Once you can trust yourself with money, you can adapt and change your budgeting system to fit into your life, and you have a healthy money mindset, your coaching journey is over!
But your financial wellness is just begining!
You and your coach will decide together when your last session is, and no doubt it will be bittersweet. Your final coaching session will button up the last few concepts and then your coach will ask you some survey questions that help your coach develop professionally.
Once graduated we ask our clients to come back for check-in once every six months (these sessions are included in the cost of coaching). You’ll also have unlimited email access to your coach.
We are so proud that 95% of our clients don’t return to us for more coaching! After all, the whole point of this work is for you to have the skills and mindset you need to be self-sufficient!