Having coached for 10 years and losing a substantial amount of hair in the process, I've worked with dozens of trainers and spoken to hundreds of coaches about our habits, behaviors, and quirks.
I've realized most good coaches share certain behaviours that unite us.
The problem is most coaches don't know these are shared experiences and think they are flawed in some way or are less prepared for coaching than others.
My aim is to share these collective behaviours to show you other fitness professionals are thinking in a similar way and these behaviours may be a sign you are or can be a great coach.
You shouldn't worry about eliminating these behaviours but embrace them and learn how to cope with them.
By embracing these behaviors we can adapt to use them to our advantage.
The aim of this article is to reduce your coaching insecurities by learning to deal with these common issues that trainers face.
Our Uniting (& Sometimes Crazy) Behaviors
#1 None Of Us Can Count For Shit
I've covered this HERE.
The crux of it is this:
If you are watching your client moving, too much is going on to be able to keep count.
A coaching friend of mine was once even bought an abacus as a gift.
The gift was futile. She still can't keep count. She isn't alone.
#2 We can remember someone's entire injury history and that they stubbed their toe when they were 4 years old, but we forget their name halfway through a training session
When a good coach wants to train people effectively they don't want to injure their client.
In order to do that, a coach will memorize everything that may affect a session such as:
External events like work stress
Lack of sleep
A coach will focus on these so hard that details such as someone's name become irrelevant for long enough for it to slip out of your mind.
It's happened to us all at some point. When it does, you can try to mask it, check their name on your system or some documentation or make a joke about it.
Each situation is different and you'll learn how to take it in your stride. You'll have lots of practice if you are a busy coach. It has happened hundreds of times in my career.
Tips for not forgetting names
Double-check a name before a consultation
If it's a name you don't know how to say, type it into google as that often has the correct pronunciation. Practice a few times before your consultation arrives
Use simple reminders if a name keeps slipping out of memory. I've even had to write someone's initials on the back of my hand as a reminder
If you are doing a class, write down any names you think you'll forget and repeat the name a few times during the teaching of the class. You'll have it memorized in no time
Forgetting someone's name because you care about their injury history is no sign of incompetence. It's a sign you are committed to doing no harm. With a couple of reminders, you can avoid this problem.
You'll still forget a name occasionally as we all do. This is a trait uniting you with other great coaches across the world.
#3 We take our clients problems home
Personal Trainers and Coaches are often empathetic, sensitive people who genuinely care for others.
Many coaches will be working with between 20 and 100 people on a daily basis.
When you are working with this many people, with their own problems, considerations and goals to manage, it is very hard for the typical coach to switch off after work.
Many coaches I know have had sleepless nights worrying about clients. I know I have.
This shows you care and is very common amongst fitness professionals.
If you can work with people all day then simply switch off, you are an exception to the rule. I genuinely don't know how you do it!
Tips For Dealing With This
Stop checking your phone after a certain time
Turn notifications off on your phone so you see messages when you want to see them
Have a relaxation time before bed
Have a journal or place to write down any thoughts you are worried about forgetting or any tasks you may need to do tomorrow
Don't go to bed on an argument
Make sure you are training regularly
Try to consume as little caffeine as you can after 3pm or on rest days to boost
If you are struggling with your mental health, seek professional help, join a support group and remember to look after yourself
To conclude, if you've felt alone with these above behaviours you'll now see they are part of the behaviours that make you a great coach. These are behaviours showing you are a people person who wants the best for their clients.
Don't try to eliminate these behaviours, learn to deal with them, accept them, and nurture the ways you can communicate with and help your clients with minimal impact to your life outside of work.
If you are one of those coaches who exhibit the above behaviors, welcome to the circle of trust!
the Heavy Metal Strength Coach