Core Curriculum


Module One

The Foundation, Purpose Method Outcome, Communication Preferences This module is perhaps the most academic as it presents the scholarship underpinning our work. From Bill Bridges’ seminal work on transitions to Stanford’s Carol Dweck’s research on mindset, to Stanford’s Kelly McGonigal's popular reviews of the literature and original research on stress and mindset, to Harvard’s Marty Linsky and Ronald Heifetz’s research in adapting to change, this module is packed with the science behind the skillset, protocols and tools of Financial Transitions Planning. Purpose Method Outcome (PMO) is the structure for using the tools, where the tool or protocol is the Method. PMO is about getting to the client’s why for the work they’re doing. Communication Preferences is the first tool introduced. It is designed to allow clients to quickly identify their primary communication preferences for meeting with advisors, receiving information, and making decisions.

Module Two

The Transition Traits Transitions often go very well, as we discuss with our Traits of Transition Flow. On the other hand, sometimes clients have difficulty processing their life event and the myriad associated changes in relationships, expectations, and priorities. We call those difficulties Traits of Transition Struggle, and they have relatively predictable patterns of behavior and consequences. This module digs deep into the traits, including how to identify them and their relationship to the science of responsivity and reactivity, and it introduces the tools that most skillfully addresses them. Usage of the traits clearly demonstrates that the client is the driver of the work of Financial Transitions Planning. The traits will be revisited in each subsequent module.

Module Three

Financial Triage/The Decision Free Zone® & One-Pagers The Decision Free Zone (DFZ) was created to increase executive functioning when the client is faced with important decisions and commitments. Order is calming and it increases the ability to comprehend, see options, and understand consequences. Some clients, however, are not in the best position to successfully work with the structure of the DFZ because they have a gnawing concern–a narrow focus–that needs to be addressed first. This is what Financial Triage is for, and precedes the DFZ for those clients who need it. One-Page Overviews are presentation tools that make use of the science of data visualization, which informs us that appropriately crafted visuals dramatically improve absorption, retention and recall. One-Pagers create alignment between advisor and client as well as alignment within the client themselves, and the how, when and why of using them is discussed.

Module Four

Managing Expectations, “What if…”, and Introduction to The Written Case Managing Expectations is vital to the work of transitions in that it is often expectations (spoken and not) that create confusion and conflict both within the client and in their relationships. What if . . . is a way to explore the spectrum of options that opens up when life circumstances shift. The Written Case, which is the final Client Experience project, is introduced.

Module Five

“Am I Okay?”, “What has Changed?”, Touchstone, and The Written Case, continued When a client is struggling, these two tools can be used, separately or together, depending on the circumstance, to provide them with some relief about their short-term cash flow as well as other parts of their life that are of concern to them. Touchstone helps clients make important decisions–particularly when they are choosing among several options–by helping them identify times when they felt complete and in flow or most happy. The goal is to recall that feeling and use it as a guide. The Written Cases is further discussed, with samples of expectations.

Module Six

The Written Case The Written Case is the time for the advisor to demonstrate their training-in-action. It represents the culmination and integration of the tools and shows the faculty that the advisor not only knows the content of the course but that their practice is an embodied one. The candidates must write as well as verbally present their cases and defend their positions and their work. 

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