When you think of the kinds of services offered by a bank, likely a goals coach isn’t something that comes to mind. U.S. Bank, however, began offering free goals coaching in Las Vegas last fall, helping customers identify milestones they want to reach in life – like saving to buy a house, starting their own business or something else entirely – and working with them to develop an actionable plan to reach their goals.
Ana Salazar was one of the first U.S. Bank goals coaches to join the team late last year. The program has continued to expand its reach since then, and this month three of the U.S. Bank goals coaches will be taking up residency at the Vegas Chamber to offer sessions to help members and their employees meet their goals. Ana recently brought us behind-the-scenes at her job:
My day actually starts the day before by going over my calendar. Clients can schedule directly through the website (usbank.com/exploremygoals), I check to see who is scheduled the next day and make sure I’m prepared in advance.
‘Where It Gets Interesting’
I usually start my day around 8 by checking emails and connecting with my team before I start meeting with clients at 9:30. If it’s my first session with a client, I only know their name, email phone number. We don’t have any additional info by design, so we don’t have any preconceived notions.
Before the session, I like to clear my mind to make sure I am ready, open and receptive to whatever the client has to say. I play meditation music to help me focus.
In the first session, which we call “goals exploration,” I get to know the client and their goals. This is where it gets interesting – I’ve had someone who picked “Pursue a Passion” and they wanted to learn a second language. I’ve had people who wanted to open a yoga studio. I had another person who had been cooking peppers in the back of their aunt’s house and had been thinking of turning it into a business, but had no idea how to set up distribution or marketing or any of the steps to make that goal a reality.
The Research Begins…And the Fun Starts
I put a lot of work into preparing for the second session. One client wanted to help her daughter through school but didn’t know how much it would cost, so I researched a semester of tuition and expenses at the College of Southern Nevada so we could work toward that as our budget. If someone wants to start a business, often the first thing I do is pull up information on licensing.
Once we’ve finished the second session, we have a good sense of whether a goal is achievable as is or if it needs to be modified. Then we have a good plan to put in place, and that’s when the fun starts.
Once we have a plan in place, the accountability sessions begin. Usually, those are 15-minute check-ins. If the client is stuck, you have to figure out why. Is it because they’ve been stuck there before and that’s as far as they know how to go on their own? Or is it because something happened, and you have to help them move around it? I’m there to help ideate ways to work around the obstacle and get back on track.
Once my clients are really tracking toward their goal, we’re often in almost constant communication – not just sessions but through email and texts or calls. People want someone there to reassure them that they can handle it. I’m behind them to say yes, you can do it! And that they really do know what the next step is and validate their instincts.
I recently had three partners who started their business a few years ago but it wasn’t doing what they felt like it should be doing. One of them booked the session to talk about it by himself, but I told them that we need all of the partners talking with me. I quickly realized the biggest problem was each of them was only looking at their own area of the business, and that they were pulling away from each other. We were able to do some vision work and realign the business strategy with where they wanted to go.
Most Popular Goal
The most popular goal by far right now is “Build My Career.” A lot of people feel they can’t find a new job or get a promotion in this environment, but there are jobs out there. A lot of times, I’m helping people break out of their thinking and take a different view.
I recently had a client who wanted to switch fields to a medical career, but she needed a certification to apply. She didn’t think she could pass because she said she doesn’t do well on tests. I worked with her to put her in the right mindset – there was nothing to be afraid of, and if she didn’t pass the first time she’d just take it again. She took the test and passed it the first time.
Then we had mock interviews – I was a manager before and I have plenty of experience with job interviews – and I helped her with her resume and job-hunting tips. She landed the job she wanted.
Goals coaching works because of the accountability piece. As their coach, the client gives us the right to call them up and see where they are at with their goal. Why isn’t this happening? What’s going on? How can we solve this? And to be able to be part of that – and help them break through barriers and achieve their goals – is so wonderful.
U.S. Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC.