CNM Trains Financial Coaches Across U.S.

May 30, 2013 -- In this persistent era of difficult economic conditions, CNM is helping thousands of people from coast to coast ease their budget woes.
July 16, 2015

Based on the model used by CNM Connect, CNM is training hundreds of representatives at nonprofit organizations and community colleges across the country to be financial coaches. The coaches, in turn, return to their organizations and support their clients who are struggling financially by educating them on basic financial concepts and by helping them to make behavioral changes that will improve their financial outlook.

Since 2008, when the community college first piloted the program, CNM financial coaches have conducted more than 35 trainings nationally in 23 communities, including San Diego, Boston, Oakland, Miami, Little Rock, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Toledo, Duluth, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Houston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Baltimore. Participating in the trainings are representatives from organizations such as community colleges, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, United Way, Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and more.  CNM is one of four organizations in the U.S. that offers financial coaching training.

CNM conducted a financial coaching training in Albuquerque March 13-15 and April 24-26 at the Workforce Training Center.  Trainers from CNM included program Executive Director Ann Lyn Hall, Jean Strosinski and Vickie Oldman-John. Participants represented included Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity, Prosperity Works, Native Community Finance, PB&J Family Services, La Plazita Institute, Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, CNM, Centro Savila and Clinica Casa del Salud.

Hall said the coaching program was born out of CNM Connect, a program where achievement coaches work with students on a variety of fronts to help them stay in school and achieve their academic goals.

“Originally the achievement coaches were not directly focused on students’ financial management skills and behavior,” Hall said. “I quickly realized that financial matters are at the heart of many students’ struggles.”

Providing initial funding for the program was the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which asked CNM to develop a financial coaching training curriculum. This involved collaboration between master certified coaches, certified financial planners and members of the CNM community who had experience and expertise in working with lower-income households. The resulting curriculum serves as the foundation of CNM’s financial coaching trainings. CNM has recently become a Center for Credentialing and Education-approved training provider for the Board Certified Coach credential.

The Bank of America Foundation, which also supports and funds the coaching program, offers scholarships to subsidize the cost of the training for nonprofit organizations across the country.

Hall says the program has made real changes in people’s lives.

“I’ve seen people completely pay off their credit card debts, start saving for specific goals, and young people begin saving for retirement,” she said.

CNM’s Workforce Training Center manages the Financial Coaching Program. Program Coordinator Shari Smoker noted that the financial coaching training is highly interactive and combines fundamental coaching skills with strong financial content. Participants get immediate practice and feedback in the sessions. “The trainings are conducted over five days in two-and-half day sessions separated by four to six weeks, giving participants time to digest what they have learned and to practice coaching,” Shari said.