AMES, Iowa – Money worries are a major cause of stress for individuals who are living paycheck to paycheck, are in debt or are simply confused and unable to take control of their finances. People in these situations don’t need a taskmaster to get their financial house in order, but they sure could use a coach.
Sharpen Your Financial Coaching Skills, a course from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is designed for volunteers, clergy and others working in nonprofit groups and organizations who assist people with financial management concerns. The next course begins in April at five locations in Iowa.
“The course is geared to people who aren’t financial professionals, but who find themselves working with individuals who need financial management help,” said Brenda Schmitt, an ISU Extension and Outreach family finance program specialist. “Financial coaching is about teaching and mentoring. You will learn how to provide guidance and motivation for tackling financial challenges — how to be a coach.”
Just as important, Schmitt added, “This course will help you recognize client situations that are and are not appropriate for a non-professional to address.”
The five-week course combines two face-to-face sessions with three weeks of online learning. Participants will learn how to recognize the causes, complexity and associated stress of financial problems. They’ll gain tools and strategies they can use to assist their clients with various financial problems. In addition, they’ll apply coaching skills to typical financial situations facing their clients.
Sharpen Your Financial Coaching Skills will be taught by a local ISU Extension and Outreach family finance program specialist and Patricia Swanson, an ISU Extension family finance state program specialist and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). The course fee is $60 and includes a book and other resources.
The kick-off session begins the second week of April 2012 at the ISU Extension and Outreach offices in Waterloo, Urbandale, Muscatine, Carroll and Spirit Lake. Participants will receive an introduction to financial coaching and financial management strategies, a tool kit and information to log on to the online course.
The three-week online portion of the course begins the week of April 23, and participants may log in at their convenience. Each week a new topic will be introduced: communicating about money, tracking spending and understanding credit.
“You will have the opportunity to complete learning exercises and interact with the instructor and other participants via a weekly chat room and course email,” Schmitt said.
The course will conclude with a face-to-face session the second week of May featuring community resources and role-playing of typical financial coaching scenarios.
For more information, contact any ISU Extension and Outreach county office.