Tim Colvin joined Community Trust 15 years ago as the head of its consumer lending division, but a decade and a half later his job is considerably different: he helps employees make their dreams come true.

As the "dream manager," he spends his workday counseling the bank's employees on everything from figuring out how to adopt a baby to landing their ideal job.

"We meet once a month or so to talk about the goals and put a plan in place to accomplish the goals. There is accountability and I aim to counsel them," Colvin says. "I like to say if your big toe hurts, I'm not going to diagnose your big toe, but I will help you find the best toe doctor around."

Community Trust likes to have about 10% of its staff active in the program, so at any time Colvin could be helping more than 60 people.

Colvin says the job isn't a big departure from what he did before. As part of his duties overseeing consumer lending, he also handled employee loans.

"I had the opportunity to do a lot of counseling on financial management, budget, getting in a position to buy a home, etc.," Colvin says. "But there was a gap there — just because you work at a bank, doesn't mean you know how to manage your own finances."

Colvin started hosting lunch-and-learn sessions about financial management and slowly began to expand to counseling employees on other parts of their life.

Nancy Heath, the bank's retail operations administrator, says she initially enrolled in the dream management program to get advice on how to reduce her debt. She made progress on that goal, and her involvement expanded. Colvin has helped her come up with plans to care for her aging parents and get healthier.

Though Colvin holds her accountable, Heath appreciates that he also understands when life sometimes gets in the way.

"Just think, I work for a company that pays a person a salary to listen to me and my dreams and to help me take action," a tearful Heath says.

About four years ago, Lance Hall, a regional president at Community Trust, saw the book "The Dream Manager" by Matthew Kelly in an airport. He called Chief Executive Drake Mills to suggest the idea of the bank starting a program like the one explained in the book.

"We instituted it and it is the best employee-based program we have by far," Mills says. Participation is confidential, but Mills says he receives lots of positive feedback from employees who have benefited from the counseling.

Colvin is certified by Floyd Consulting, a Chicago-based company that trains people to be dream managers. He's also helping a major manufacturing company in the Midwest start a dream management program like the one at Community Trust.

"Your bankers are supposed to be your trusted advisors, so it is neat to be able to say we have a trusted advisor to our bankers," Colvin says.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.