Visual Goal-Setting Exercises to Improve Financial Coaching Relationships

Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight is testing two interventions designed to improve long-term retention of clients in a financial coaching relationship. The first is a visual goal-setting exercise that presents participants with 8 photographs. Participants are asked to pick the one that best represents what financial well-being means to them. The photographs are intended to facilitate a more emotional connection to the participant’s financial future, thus helping coaches to have important conversations around goal-setting. The second is a type of reminder in which participants write a postcard to themselves in the future. These postcards aim to capture the feelings that participants have during a session, when their motivation is highest, and remind them of these feelings later when their motivation may be lower. These interventions were developed after a 9-month diagnosis process that involved qualitative interviews with staff and coaching participants in the FOC-CWF network followed by a co-design session that allowed financial coaches and participants to help shape their design. Southeast Community Services in Indianapolis participated in this study, along with 27 other centers in 12 other cities.