household finance, financial planning, financial counseling


Financial coaching is emerging as a distinct approach to building personal financial capability. However, the term financial coaching refers to a wide array of interventions. This article reviews the literature in order to define financial coaching. Financial coaching includes helping individuals define financial goals, develop plans of action, and implement steps toward their goals. The coaching approach is designed to help people develop and sustain positive financial behaviors. This article also presents findings from three financial coaching field studies; the results suggest that working with a financial coach increases clients’ ability to focus on their financial goals and engage in positive financial behaviors. Despite these beneficial outcomes, the coaching field faces several challenges including a lack of practice standards and consistent outcomes measures.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


Alexander, G., & Renshaw, B. (2005). Super coaching: The missing ingredient for high performance. London: Random House Business.

Bandura, A. (1969) Principles of behavior modification. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Baumeister, R. F., & Tierney, J. (2011). Willpower: Rediscovering the greatest human strength. New York: Penguin Press.

Biswas-Diener, R., & Dean, B. (2007). Positive psychology coaching: Putting the science of happiness to work for your clients. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Bluckert, P. (2005). Critical factors in executive coaching - the coaching relationship. Industrial and Commercial Training, 37(7), 336-340.

de Meza, D., Irlenbusch, B., & Reyniers, D. (2008). Financial capability: A behavioural economics perspective. Financial Services Authority Consumer Research Report, #69.

de Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to solution in brief therapy. New York: W. W. Norton.

de Shazer, S., Berg, I. K., Lipchik, E. V. E., Nunnally, E., Molnar, A., Gingerich, W., & WeinerDavis, M. (1986). Brief therapy: Focused solution development. Family Process, 25(2), 207-221.

de Shazer, S., & Dolan, Y. (2007). More than miracles: The state of the art of solution-focused brief therapy. New York: Routledge.

Fleming, I., & Taylor, A. J. D. (2003). The coaching pocketbook. Alresford, UK: Management Pocketbooks.

Frederick, S., Loewenstein, G., & O'Donoghue, T. (2002). Time discounting and time preference: A critical review. Journal of Economic Literature, 40(2), 351-401.

Gollwitzer, P. M. (1999). Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54(7), 493-503.

Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta-analysis of effects and processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 69-119.

Grant, A. M. (2003). The impact of life coaching on goal attainment, metacognition and mental health. Social Behavior and Personality, 31(3), 253-264.

Grant, A. M. (2006a). An integrative goal-focused approach to executive coaching. In D. Stober & A. M. Grant (Eds.), Evidence-Based Coaching Handbook (pp. 153-192). New York: Wiley.

Grant, A. M. (2006b). A personal perspective on professional coaching and the development of coaching psychology. International Coaching Psychology Review, 1(1), 12-20.

Grant, A. M. (2009). Workplace, executive and life coaching: An annotated bibliography from the behavioral science and business literature. Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney, Australia.

Grant, A. M., & Cavanagh, M. J. (2011). Coaching and positive psychology. In K. M. Sheldon, T. Kashdan & M. F. Steger (Eds.), Designing positive psychology: Taking stock and moving forward. New York: Oxford University Press.

Grant, A. M., Cavanagh, M. J., & Parker, H. M. (2010). The state of play in coaching today: A comprehensive review of the field. International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 25, 125-167.

Grant, A. M., & Greene, J. (2001). Coach yourself: Make real change in your life. London: Momentum Press.

Howlett, E., Kees, J., & Kemp, E. (2008). The role of self-regulation, future orientation, and financial knowledge in long-term financial decisions. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 42(2), 223-242.

Institute of Coaching. (n.d.a). About us. Retrieved from http://www.instituteofcoaching.org/Index.cfm?page=aboutus

Institute of Coaching. (n.d.b). Coaching journals. Retrieved from http://www.instituteofcoaching.org/index.cfm?page=journals

Karlan, D., McConnell, M., Mullainathan, S., & Zinman, J. (2010). Getting to the top of mind: How reminders increase saving. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series, No. 16205.

Kauffman, C. (2006) Positive psychology: The science at the heart of coaching. In D. Stober & A. M. Grant (Eds.), Evidence-based coaching handbook (pp. 219-253). New York: Wiley.

Kauffman, C., Boniwell, I., & Silberman, J. (2010). The positive psychology approach to coaching. In E. Cox, T. Bachkirova & D. Clutterbuck (Eds.), The complete handbook of coaching (pp. 158-171). London: SAGE Publications.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705-717.

Moskowitz, G. B., & Halvorson, H. G. (2009). The psychology of goals. New York: Guilford Press.

Neenan, M. & Palmer, S., (2001). Cognitive behavioural coaching. Stress News, 13(3), 15-18.

O'Connell, B., & Palmer, S. (2007). Solution-focused coaching. In S. Palmer & A. Whybrow (Eds.), Handbook of coaching psychology (pp. 278-292). New York: Routledge.

O'Donoghue, T., & Rabin, M. (2001). Choice and procrastination. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116(1), 121-160.

Palmer, S., & Szymanska, K. (2007). Cognitive behavioural coaching: An integrative approach. In S. Palmer & A. Whybrow (Eds.), Handbook of coaching psychology (pp. 86-117). New York: Routledge.

Palmer, S., & Whybrow, A. (2007). Handbook of coaching psychology. New York: Routledge.

Passmore, J., & Whybrow, A. (2007). Motivational Interviewing. In S. Palmer & A. Whybrow (Eds.), Handbook of coaching psychology (pp. 166-174). New York: Routledge.

Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C. & Norcross, J.C. (1992). In search of how people change: Applications to addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47(9), 1102-1114.

Seligman, M. E. P. (2007). Coaching and positive psychology. Australian Psychologist, 42(4), 266-267.

Thaler, Richard H., & Benartzi, S. (2004). Save more tomorrow™: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving. Journal of Political Economy, 112(S1), S164-S187.

University of Sydney Coaching Psychology Unit. (n.d.). Other coaching related information. Retrieved from http://www.psych.usyd.edu.au/coach/other_information.shtml

Whitmore, J. (2009). Coaching for performance: GROWing human potential and purpose. Boston: Nicholas Brealey.

Wolever, R. Q., & Eisenberg, D. M. (2011). What is health coaching anyway? Standards needed to enable rigorous research: Comment on 'Evaluation of a behavior support intervention for patients with poorly controlled diabetes.' Archives of Internal Medicine, 171(22), 2017-2018.