Results for Clients with Real Lives: Relationship and Coaching

Oct 25, 2019

By Tim Saye

In this first article of our new "results for clients with real lives" series, we look at developing a coaching relationship with all your in-person and online personal training clients and how to do it effectively.

Tip #1. Build Trust

Think of the people in your life to whose opinion you listen. What kind of relationship do you have with them? Even if you don't know them in person, you'll have some form of trust for what they say is accurate and genuine, right?

Other people work the same way, whether they're aware or not. If you'd like your audience and your clients to follow the plan you design for them, you need to focus on building trust from a very early stage of your relationship.

I don't just mean when they first contact you, but the first time they come across your business.

Think of all the channels you interact with people. Whether in person or online, every bit of your presence is going to affect your reputation, how people will perceive, like and trust you.

Think about your social media posts AND comments, your blog articles, the way you come across in person when talking to people locally, especially when not expecting anything in return and how you interact with colleagues.

In all of these channels simply act the way you would like others to act when they're with you. Give great advice, be kind, and show your true personality.

Tip #2. Meet Clients Where They Are

Many trainers when they start will be very keen and energetic to throw everything at their clients because they care and want them to succeed. If you have been in the industry for a few years, you have probably learnt that while that works for some clients, it won't work for others.

When you design a workout plan for your clients, you take into account their fitness level, their mobility and flexibility, the areas they need to improve and their fitness goals in general.

The same principle applies to their lifestyle. Consider performing a lifestyle assessment, so you have a better understanding of what they've been doing in the last 6-12 months first. Once you know where they are, you'll be in a much better position to create a plan that becomes progressively more challenging and helps them change their lifestyle one habit at a time. 

From there on keep checking in with them regularly to see how they are doing, and feel free to tweak their plan based on feedback as often as they need to stay on track and deepen the trust they have in you.

Tip #3. Make Decisions Together

You are training people with real lives; The mum who needs to re-route every time a kid gets ill. The professional on a hectic schedule who often gets last-minute meetings put in their calendar unexpectedly; or the office worker who has office treats around them all day every day because that's their office's way of "treating" them.

When you devise them a plan, they may have the best intentions of sticking to them, but when life gets in the way, they will go along with what's comfortable. It's nothing personal, but they may not feel it is a sacrifice they are willing to make at that moment. 

When you ask questions to find out what THEY think they can commit to, people will be more likely to follow through even when life gets tough, because they made that decision for themselves.

Tip #4. Treat Clients Like Teammates

Personal trainers are also humans. You ave your own life, your challenges and sometimes, without realising those come to surface when interacting with your audience or your clients. 

There's nothing wrong with showing your human and vulnerable side to your people when it's appropriate, but always keep your professional composure when it comes to their progress, sessions, check-ins or even consultations.

If you make your clients and the relationship you have with them a priority you'll make them happy to be with you and help them enjoy their training.

Become friends with clients like team mates moving together toward one goal and they will stay with you for as long as they possibly can.

Wrapping Up

Remember, people relate to people. If you are in the business of personal training, whether in-person or online, you'll be in the business of people and the relationships you build will be what drives your business forward.