Are you a financial advisor? Then I know how you feel. I was one for over 20 years before moving into an executive role of leading advisors.
I know the fears you face and the struggles you encounter as you try to adapt, grow, and survive in an ever changing marketplace. I faced the same challenges as you – not enough time to read the things I wanted to, meet with the people I needed to, and plan for the things I had to do.
That all changed in 2010, when I hired a coach. My coach helped me create capacity, develop processes, and leverage my strengths, which improved my life, as well as my margins.
Now I spend 100% of my time doing for advisors what my coach did for me. Specifically, I help advisors…
- Grow their practice
- Increase their margins
- Improve their lives
Here’s a little more about why I left leadership to be a full-time coach….
My Wake Up Call…
“Mr. Edmonds is here…Code Red!”, said the emergency room attendant upon my arrival at the Richland Memorial Hospital trauma center.
I’m referring to a near death experience that forever changed the course of my life on the afternoon of December 1, 2013. A rare, non-impact induced subdural hematoma (bleeding between the skull and brain) formed in my head from near the front of my right eye, extending beyond my right ear to the back of my head (see CT scan below).
I was fortunate my condition was detected by my astute family physician, who ordered me to have an MRI after going to him with a headache, a day before I was to fly to New York for a business meeting. I was rushed immediately from the imaging office to the hospital emergency room, where I was greeted by a neurosurgeon who explained to me that emergency brain surgery would most likely be required.
When you’ve been forced off the tread mill and you’re lying in a hospital bed facing an unscheduled brain surgery, surrounded by the ones you love the most – my wife of twenty-nine years and my two children – it becomes easy to stop and contemplate the things that matter most. Clarity and focus become simple – you have no choice.
Fortunately I did not have to have surgery, thanks to a heavy dose of steroids and anti-seizure medication that immediately began to stop the bleeding when administered. Had I sucked it up and endured the pain of my headache, my doctor assured me I would have died earlier that day. Another interesting fact is that I lost one of my mentors and former senior leader with Merrill Lynch to the very same condition just one year earlier.
This sober experience caused me to come face to face with my mortality and to do some soul searching by pondering my legacy. More specifically, would my life be defined more by significance or success? What would be said at my funeral? What would I want said? While I enjoyed my work – the company, my colleagues, the my assigned duties, the lifestyle it afforded my family – I knew that this season of my life needed to end and a new chapter needed to begin.
What I most enjoyed about my role as a Complex Director at Merrill Lynch/Bank of America was the one-on-one coaching and consulting time I spent inspiring, impacting and helping Advisors and their teams grow and reach their full potential. The world-class training I received in my years of leadership created the perfect launching pad for my own venture. In December 2014, after leading a $100+ million market with over 200 employees, I decided to pursue my dream of serving advisors in the growth of their business and personal life through establishing my own coaching and consulting firm, Northstar Leadership Solutions.
At Northstar, our mission is to bring clarity and focus to our advisors by offering services as an “Outside-Insider” – a personal confidant to come along side them to help uncover solutions to the challenges and opportunities of operating a successful practice. Simply put our mission is to improve their lives and increase their margins.
The North Star, also known as Polaris, stands almost motionless in the sky as all the other stars appear to rotate around it. This makes it a great fixed point for navigation. In my experience as a leader, I found a lot of the successful people that I encountered were lacking purpose and direction – lacking a “North Star” to chart their course and keep them on course. For many of these individuals their North Star is more like a Boeing Dreamliner cruising across the night sky at 35,000 feet at over 600 miles per hour.
Our goal is to help Advisors find clarity and focus by helping them realign to their North Star – their purpose – or perhaps align for the very first time. We believe that If you don’t have a North Star, you don’t know where you’re going. Having a North Star not only charts your course, but defines it as well. It’s the only way to finish well, not only with success, but with significance.
If you’re looking for your “North Star”, we can help!
Click here to view our coaching and consulting offerings: Northstar Advisor Offerings
Our Story (continued): “Professional Narrative”
I’ve always been involved in leadership as far back as I can remember. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1982, I affiliated with a nationally known financial services organization as an independent business owner, building a client “book of business” and developing a successful sales organization.
In 1991, I was recruited by Merrill Lynch to be a Financial Advisor in Greenville, SC, and a few years later was selected to open and develop an office in a nearby market. In 2001, I was asked to return to Greenville as the Resident Director to lead and grow the office, which was generating roughly $15MM per year in annual revenue with a team of thirty-five individuals.
I was invited to enter the executive ranks of leadership with the firm in 2006, with my first assignment as the Associate Director of the Tri-South Region, based in Atlanta. In this role I served as an associate to the Regional Director who had responsibility for a three state market – Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky.
In 2008, I was promoted to Director of the Columbia Complex, a market that encompassed most of South Carolina and some of Georgia, with offices in the following locations: in SC…Spartanburg, Greenville, Clemson, Columbia, Camden, Sumter; and Augusta, GA. In my nearly seven years in this executive role, I grew our team to over 200 professionals and annual revenues from $65MM to over $107MM. This included leading a merger of Bank of America Financial Advisors and support staff into the Merrill Lynch Advisor population with no initial losses. In addition, I recruited over $8MM in annual revenue through the acquisition of Advisors from competing firms.
- Merrill Lynch…
- Successfully grew revenues from $65MM to $107MM over 6 1/2 year period.
- Sourced, hired and trained over 200 financial professionals during leadership career
- Coached and mentored over 200 Financial Advisors resulting in increased…
- Personal Growth
- Client Satisfaction
- Built high performing business teams through…
- Keynote speaking for client events, marketing presentations, and civic events
- Initiated and led marketing campaigns
- Organized and facilitated peer learning groups for business leaders
- Planned and delivered all training and professional development programs
- Led merger of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America for market
- Collaborated across lines of business delivering enterprise to 6,000 high net worth clients
- Dale Carnegie Leadership Training
- Telios Leadership Training
- Advance training through International Coaching Federation (60 hours)
- Completion of Biehl Consulting Institute (40 hours)
- B.A. University of South Carolina
- Current board memberships: Anderson University, Sandhills School, The Cooperative Ministry (Chair)
- Husband to Becky for 31 Years
- Father to Hannah and Jonathan
- Active for over 25 years as a teacher and group facilitator with various organizations