Money Coaching in a Crisis: How to Be There for Your Clients

As a money coach, you’re used to offering guidance. But what happens when unprecedented times hit everyone? Now more than ever, coaching clients rely on your help. So how does money coaching work during a financial crisis?

We sat down with a money coach who helps people find everyday courage to learn more.

Jillian Johnsrud is a blogger, money coach, and creator of the Everyday Courage podcast. She talks with us to explain the role that money coaches can play during difficult times. She shares how she is facing this crisis with her clients and her business. Plus, she provides guidance on how money coaches can shine in any crisis.

Problems Clients Face in a Financial Crisis

As a money coach, it isn’t uncommon for you to help your client through a crisis. In fact, personal money problems could very well be the catalyst for clients to reach out to you in the first place.

However, this current financial crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic is a different kind of financial crisis to face as a money coach. Jillian says that this is a season of uncertainty, fear, and disruption for many people. In this particular instance, there is major disruption across people’s lives. Their day-to-day living is dramatically different, and millions of jobs have been lost. Jillian says that this energy is coming onto the calls she facilitates as a money coach.

That is why Jillian’s main focus is asking herself and her clients two things. She wants to know how they can refocus and how they can shift gears. Essentially, she wants to know what people’s new goals and priorities look like, so she can help them come up with a plan to get there.

Friend Helping as Money Coach

Money Coaching Through Financial Defense and Offense

Part of refocusing means considering what financial season her coaching clients find themselves in. Depending on your particular clients, you might be money coaching through a season of financial defense or financial offense.


For some people, this financial crisis is a wake-up call. Perhaps they haven’t been playing the financial defense they should. Now, they need to learn to trim expenses, track spending, and carve out an emergency fund. Jillian says that moments of crisis can bring extra clarity and motivation to figure out our financial foundation. Guiding your clients to adopt some of these defensive plays is important.


As a money coach, you also want to recognize your clients who are in a season of financial offense. These are your coaching clients who have already been playing good defense consistently. In this financial crisis, they might see new doors open up and new things become possible. It is vital to help them ask themselves, “What has shifted?” These are clients that you can coach to be strategic, creative, and offensive. In many cases, they may get to their goals even faster.

Jillian is quick to point out that financial offense is often later mistaken for luck. As someone who invested in the last recession and bought real estate during the housing crash, Jillian has heard herself referred to as “lucky”. She knows the reality. Having a solid financial plan set her up to take advantage of opportunities. Money coaches may have clients who are in similar positions during this financial crisis.

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Tips for Navigating a Financial Crisis

You’re a money coach, but that doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from being emotionally impacted by the financial crisis. Jillian shares how she has been dealing with it. She gives herself an hour each day to educate herself and process her emotions. Sometimes it’s giving herself time to work through sadness or panic, and other times, it is simply about giving herself time to learn about different aspects of the crisis.

After that processing time, she creates space. She says it is vital for her, for her coaching clients, and for everyone. Any type of crisis is mentally overwhelming and dysregulating. However, developing strategies and generating our best ideas don’t come from a place of dysregulation. That means it’s key to create a calm and centered space for us to work in each day. To create that space, Jillian cleans the house, reads to her kids, and cooks breakfast. She also avoids sprinkling in bad news throughout the day.

Coaching clients will often be anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, or sad. Encouraging them to process the crisis and then create space between themselves and the crisis can be helpful. Otherwise, it is hard to be strategic or creative amidst a mental drain.

Calm day

Gather inspiration from how people might pivot their businesses during a financial crisis here.

Time to Shine with Money Coaching

A financial crisis is difficult. It is easy to look at it and feel defeated. However, Jillian says that money coaches are more important than ever. In fact, she says that this is our time to do something great.

You may have coaching clients who are out of work and need help navigating what to do next. In general, people need support when surprising things come up and they have to reevaluate.

When working with coaching clients in a financial crisis, Jillian suggests having them use this as a stress test for their previous plans. Ask if they still feel great about their emergency fund. Determine if their investment strategy still feels right. It is also time to revisit value-based budgeting because there may very well be new things that clients value now.

During our current financial crisis and pandemic, priorities and plans have shifted. Rather than focusing on the past, Jillian says coaching clients need guidance to reevaluate the present moment. The world is very different than it was even a month ago. Money coaching can offer hope and guidance through these confusing times.

Dealing with Difficult Questions

While money coaching, you might find yourself in a situation where you are asked a question outside your area of expertise. Jillian says that this is par for the course. Of course, you never want to give unhelpful or inaccurate information to your clients. That could permanently damage your rapport and also cause problems for both of you. One option means offering other sources of information to your clients.

Jillian, however, says there’s another way to deal with a question outside your area of expertise. She says that you can turn the question on your coaching clients. Ask them to start with themselves to see what they already know. She shares one of her favorite questions: “What is the next right small step that you could take that would move you forward?” This test and scale philosophy is important.

Truthfully, she says that it is often more of a process of acknowledging where clients are stuck and what steps they need to take to get unstuck. This helps them take ownership of the process themselves.

Empowered and strong woman

Powerful Conversations

One of the most important parts of money coaching is communication. Jillian says that she is a huge believer in communication. In fact, she says that having the right conversation can yield the highest return on investment out there.

A strategy that Jillian often employs in money coaching is to ask her coaching clients if there is someone that they know who could answer a question for them. 15-30 minutes of expertise can be a game-changer. Sometimes, clients just need encouragement to reach out, connect and have those conversations.

Click here to see where you can have some of these powerful conversations at the best financial conferences for 2020.

What Money Coaching Clients Really Need

Jillian says that one of the most critical things you can learn as a money coach is what clients need. Despite what you might think, they don’t need a coach who is the most expert at something. She encourages coaches to not rescue their clients and fix all their problems for them. Instead, she says to learn to hold space.

Frequently, Jillian has her clients ask themselves where they feel stuck and what they need. She doesn’t answer for them. Rather, she holds space while they ask more questions of themselves and wrestle with answers. Often times, she prompts them to consider how they’ve navigated situations in the past.

She knows her coaching clients are smart, creative, and intuitive. That means that they don’t need her to give them answers. She knows they will rise up, so she offers help, encouragement, and insight along the way.

Final Thoughts on Money Coaching During a Crisis

Being a money coach is an important job all the time. In a financial crisis, it is even more rewarding and more meaningful. Of course, cheering people on when things are going well is productive and fun.

When things are difficult, though, it presents an opportunity to show up for coaching clients in their times of need or when they are feeling most vulnerable. That means that being a money coach has never been more impactful than it is now.

Are you a money coach supporting clients right now? How are you helping them with their challenges?

Please let us know in the comments below. 



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Andy Hill

Andy Hill is the award-winning podcaster and blogger behind Marriage, Kids and Money which is dedicated to helping young families build wealth and thrive. Andy's personal finance experience has been featured in major media outlets like CNBC, Business Insider, MarketWatch and NBC News. Trusted as a personal finance influencer by national financial brands, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers and viewers across the US. When he's not "talking money", Andy enjoys wrestling with his two kids, singing karaoke with his wife and watching Marvel movies.