As a coach who is still relatively new to the industry (2 years) I can tell you that one of the biggest things that I learnt was to stop coaching with my ego and start coaching for the client.
As a new coach you have this burning desire to prove yourself in the industry. You not only need to look like you know what you’re doing but also look like you know far more than everyone else. It’s understandable, especially when starting out as a PT trying to establish a good client base and some financial security, it is not as easy as some people think. It’s not only the new coaches that feel the pressure. With the density of coaches in the industry it leads to others looking for any way possible to stand out from the pack.
So what does this lead to?
It leads to coaches looking for ‘the extravagant’, ‘the extensive’ and ‘the overly complicated’ training and nutrition methods and then applying them to their general population clients. The thing is, MOST people don’t need that and MOST people will not respond well to that.
The coach is now putting their ego above giving the client an intervention that is going to get them results in the least intrusive way possible. I say ‘least intrusive’ as less ideal methods can absolutely get results but at what cost?
What these coaches don’t realise is that taking your general population client who just wants to drop 5kg and feel better in their clothing and then treating them like an elite athlete or just as a tool to show the world what they can do will in most cases not end well.
Look at it this way. Take the busy dad who works 9-5 and has two kids that play junior sports. Do you think you’ll get consistent effort from this client by setting him a 6-day p/w program, tracking calories and macronutrients with a 10% leeway, making sure he times his dense carbs around workouts and instruct he has to cut beer? Absolutely not! He’s probably going to have much greater success if you give him 3 full body workouts, tell him to eat 3-4 balanced meals with protein and vegetables in each and reduce food intake during the day in the lead up to some drinks or a special treat with the kids. Obviously this is a very generalised example but you get my point.
Yes, that first approach gives the coach the ability to ‘show off’ what they know BUT I can almost guarantee that the dad is going to drop off. He will either get run into the ground with the all extra workload from the intervention (mentally & physically) or he is going to tell the coach where to stick it. The second, although it may seem so basic, is something that this individual can likely adhere to.
The other vital part of coaching that gets lost is empathy. If you are so caught up in pushing your own ways you neglect the fundamental characteristic of all great coaches and that’s the ability to be empathetic towards your client and their needs. You don’t need to agree with what they do and how they think, but you do need to attempt to see things from their perspective so you can understand why they think how they think and why they do what they do. Instead of spending all your time figuring out what exercises you can program that they have never seen before, spend a good amount of time actually getting to know them. The more relatable you are to your clients, the more you’ll understand what they really need and then the more buy in you’ll get.
Now after all that let me remind you of how this article started, the want for coaches to prove themselves in the industry. The best way to establish yourself as a coach is RESULTS. No one cares about all the advanced training methods and how well you can manipulate someone’s macros if you can’t get a client from A to B. From my experience, all the successful coaches have the ability to show case their results. The rest are talking about why their workouts are harder than yours and filling their Instagram with motivational quotes from Google.
As you start to bank results, you’ll be recognised by more people and of those people you’ll eventually begin to get those more advanced clients, the ones with more competitive goals. Now you can show people what you can do! But you need to put in the ground work first and it’s almost a case of you as a coach needing to earn the right to coach these more advanced clients.
The best way to become recognised as a good coach in the industry is to get your clients results. Any great coach should have a large base of knowledge that they continue to expand on, it’s how you use it that counts. So my advice to all coaches, if you are not already, is to make sure you are coaching for your CLIENTS not your EGO.