Your onboarding sequence is an opportunity to learn your clients’ unique goals, struggles, and why they want to work with you in the first place. All of which are invaluable when creating programs that garner results.
To gather this information, you can create forms using Google Forms (or any other system you prefer). Once they’re created, it’s as simple as emailing the link or having them placed directly on your website.
Here are three forms you should have your clients fill out during their onboarding sequence.
Note: It’s not included here, but all of your clients should sign a waiver/PAR-Q form. No matter what.
- Application Form
If you coach people online, you probably have a page or website where people can find you (if you don’t, get on that now). You can include an application form directly on your site or social media page to welcome potential new clients. The link can say something like “Apply to train with me” or “Start now”.
Here’s an example of what your application form can include:
- Full name
- Email address
- What would you specifically like to accomplish by working with me?
- Are you ready to dedicate 3-5 hours to training per week?
- Are you ready to commit to at least 3 months of private coaching?
The last two questions are a great way to weed out those who just pretend to be interested in working with you.
Asking if someone is ready to commit to “x” amount of hours per week for “x” amount of months shows you have an expectation of commitment. And it gives people an idea of what it takes to get real results.
You’ll attract people who are serious about training and steer clear of those looking for a quick-fix solution.
- Initial Questionnaire
If the application looks like a potential fit, it’s time to send your initial questionnaire. Here, you’ll dive deeper into their training history, injury history, and goals.
If a powerlifter contacts you to help them prepare for their next meet and you can’t remember the last time you squatted with a barbell, they may be better off with another coach.
On the other hand, if someone wants to lose weight and you’ve already helped others achieve the same goal, it could be the right fit!
You can’t know where to go if you don’t know where you’re starting. Learning about your clients’ training history is crucial. You’ll understand their level of experience and what they actually like doing in the gym.
Here are some potential questions to ask about your clients’ training history:
- Do you currently exercise? If yes, how frequently?
- What physical activity do you currently participate in?
- Are you a competitive athlete? If yes, what do you compete in and for how long?
- Have you worked with a personal trainer in the past? If yes, how was your experience?
- How confident are you performing bodyweight exercises? Scale of 1-10 (1 being not at all, 10 being very confident)
- How confident are you performing barbell exercises? Scale of 1-10 (1 being not at all, 10 being very confident)
The last thing you want to do is ask someone with a shoulder impingement to do strict overhead barbell presses. You need to know the type and severity of your clients’ injuries (past or present) before you write their workouts. Otherwise you’re just throwing stuff at a wall and hoping it sticks.
- Do you have any current or pre-existing injuries that may affect your ability to train? Please be as detailed as possible.
- Do you have any other medical conditions I should be aware of? Please be as detailed as possible.
Note: As mentioned before, always have all your clients sign a waiver/PAR-Q form before they start training.
You can’t know which direction to take if you don’t know your destination.
When it comes to goals, the more specific the better. Have your clients set SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
“I want to get stronger” isn’t a goal. “I want to do 3 bodyweight chin-ups in 3 months” is a goal.
- Equipment Checklist
You can’t create a program for someone if you don’t know the equipment they’re working with. Have them fill out an equipment checklist form.
Create a form with all the equipment you would normally find in your gym and list it in alphabetical order. Have your clients check off what they have available so you know how to write their program.
This is great especially for clients who work out at home and have a bunch of equipment.
SummaryEffective coaching is just as much learning as it is teaching. Have your clients fill out these forms to understand their unique personalities and goals and create an experience that will work for them.
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