The Top 3 Life Consulting Skills You Shouldn't Ignore
22 Sep 2017 - Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Hymans Robertson’s Life and Financial Services team provide targeted insurance advice across six areas of focus - product development; risk and capital management; investment and ALM; longevity management; transactions and structuring; and insurance transfers and reporting. This is a rapidly growing and changing part of our business as we adapt and respond to market needs. As such our life consultants need to have a flexible skills set and be ready to adapt to client needs.
Karen Brolly Head of Products considers how this evolving market affects the types of people best place to support it. If you are consulting in this field the top three skills that she believes you will need to develop are; active listening, ability to understand and evaluate new information from all angles and above all the need to be flexible and agile to adapt to further new developments and client needs.
Perhaps this seems obvious, but these are often underdeveloped soft skills that can make all of the difference in really making a difference to your clients and here’s why;
This is vital if you are to understand the needs of client, to really appreciate what is important to them and therefore how best to help them. The danger of failing to develop this skill lies in delivering something that the client doesn’t need or want - a mistake which will surely cost future business.
Ability To Understand And Evaluate New Information
In this ever changing environment, where new regulation is regularly issued, you need to be able to quickly assess this new information and work out what it means for us and each of our clients. If you are not able to do this the risk is that your advice becomes out of date.
Consultants need to be flexible in many different ways so this is crucial. You will deal with lots of different people and one size does not fit all when it comes to communicating with them. As life consultants can have several different areas of focus you also need to be adaptable to the differing needs of each area. Being too rigid simply means that you won’t be able to give all of your clients what they want. Being closed to new ideas or ways of tackling things means that you can’t be fully efficient as a consultant
Even marginal improvements in these skills can make a noticeable difference so how can this be achieved?
There are every day activities that can enable you to develop your listening skills – relationships with friends, family members and colleagues provide great opportunities. Those who are great listeners do so with care and attention, without distractions and seek to understand different points of view. Great listeners build trust. Listening and absorbing information, for example through podcasts is a good way to develop listening acuity.
We are bombarded with information from multiple sources every day and we discern that which is valuable and useful and that which is unimportant. Being able to quickly screen out irrelevant information from value-added information is critical. Every day examples include negotiating self-service travel information and online banking.
We become flexible by embracing changes – volunteering to do different things and experiencing new opportunities in everyday life. Avoiding being a creature of habit is a good way to see things anew.
At Hymans Robertson our Learning & Development team also help us to keep on top of these skills by providing resources that enable us to learn and practice our abilities. Listening is a core competency that runs through many development programmes from consulting programmes to leadership skills.
By working in teams with highly experienced colleagues, you will be encouraged to hone your judgement and make your own recommendations. Our culture encourages on the job learning and our consultants benefit from coaching whilst working alongside experts in their field.
Hymans Robertson is a growing firm and opportunities emerge rapidly. Being prepared to grasp these opportunities and constantly challenge yourself is the name of the game. Those who are prepared to try new things keep developing their skills, experience and confidence.
For information on all of Hymans current opportunities including those in the life and financial services team please visit www.hymans.co.uk/careers.