I see it all the time, coaches reading up on the latest training methods and attending the next best fitness certification. While I highly recommend both, I rarely see those same people reading about human behavior and/or emotional intelligence. What if I told you that you could become a better, more successful coach by learning more about the mind and human behavior, and implementing meditation (or other mindfulness practices) into your life?
As a coach myself, I know what it is like to train multiple back to back, one on one sessions a day, lead large group classes, program online for my community and clients, tend to the gym, and attend team meetings. Although our days may be as long as 12-15 hours, we understand the value of physical fitness and work hard to fit in our own workout; leaving little time for rest and relaxation. With long days and high energy outputs, it can be easy to reach a point of burn-out if we aren’t careful and neglect to take care of our own mental health. Therefore, us coaches can greatly benefit from implementing techniques that make us more resilient so we can continue to provide a top-notch service for our clients. Being resilient means that we can tackle these obstacles and perform at our highest level, continuing to inspire and change lives, for as long as we can.
I personally love to geek out on fitness and nutrition education, but what I’ve noticed is that most of my clients are in greater need of mindset coaching, and actually benefit more from me connecting with them than me explaining what training cycle they are in.
Here are my top 3 reasons why coaches need to engage in mindfulness training:
#1 People Will Forget What You Taught Them, But They Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel
I spent 4 years of my life teaching at an elementary school, and this was one of the biggest things we would reflect on at the beginning of a new school year. As we prepared for our students and all of the ups and downs, we always took some time to think back on our own experiences as students and/or athletes. The common theme was that the most memorable moments from our past were based on how someone made us FEEL, good or bad, not necessarily what they taught us. If it was what they taught us, it was typically a life lesson, not a (insert subject – math) lesson.
https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2010-01983-016 (Meditation can improve emotional regulation) Boosting your emotional intelligence
While our clients come to us to help them reach their physical goals, trusting that we know how to get them results, they stay with us because we connect with them. That connection leads to more motivation and inspires them to be better, inside and out of the gym. Clients are more likely to come back when they feel an emotional connection to you, and not just like they are part of your paycheck. Understanding that consistency over time is key, this will lead to better results for you and your business.
#2 Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is extremely important when it comes to your client’s programs, as well as their communication with you about personal matters. If you don’t show you care, why should your clients? By improving your ability to focus on what matters most, you demonstrate that you take great pride in what you do, and that will surely rub off on others.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/016383439500025M (Meditation can decrease anxiety) which improves focus and attention to detail.
To be the best coaches and most effective leaders we can be, we must find ways to build more self-awareness, enhance our focus, and improve our emotional intelligence. The research on mindfulness suggests that meditation sharpens skills like attention, memory, and emotional intelligence.These skills are key when that busy day and long to-do list start to overwhelm you and pull your attention away from the present moment.
Remember, paying attention to detail doesn’t mean aiming for perfection, but rather that you genuinely care about what you do.
#3 Compassion Keeps You Cool
As coaches, I am sure that we are all working with clients to help them achieve their specific goal(s). Knowing that you put in hard work day after day for these people, you obviously want them to succeed. That is why it can be extremely difficult when you hear that a client has “fallen off the wagon” or taken a few steps back in the process.
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/52853b8ae4b0a6c35d3f8e9d/t/528d263ce4b04aa0e2083b1e/1384982076484/meditation-increases-compassionate-responses-to-suffering.pdf (Meditation increases compassion) which is extremely beneficial when building relationships with your clients)
Compassion lends itself well to being a good listener. When you listen well, clients feel valued and appreciated, and when they feel that you are deeply invested in who they are, they will give you their best work in return.
Compassion helps you stay positive, which is much more empowering and motivating. Clients will feel more comfortable opening up to you and secure knowing that you will guide them in the right direction without any judgement or negativity.
Compassion is collaborative. When working with clients, it is extremely important to their overall success that they enjoy what they are doing and feel connected to the process. You will notice more buy-in from clients when they feel like their opinions are taken into consideration and they express confidence in being able to follow through with a task. While we are there to push them out of their comfort zones and guide them with the correct tools, it is important that we keep it a collaborative, team effort.
If you aren’t convinced yet, check out his article “Why Mindfulness is the Next Frontier in Sports Performance” https://www.gq.com/story/michael-gervais-sports-psychology-interview for more examples of why learning to master your mind will bring out the best in you and those you serve.
The best coaches are true leaders and the best leaders walk the walk, leading from within. When we build a deeper awareness of our thought patterns and can sift through what is necessary and what is not, we can tune into our authentic power, which will resonate with others. Basically, when you are a living, breathing example of what you wish for your clients, that energy will be contagious. Remember that the ability to relate and connect with people will help you fulfill your purpose of inspiring and empowering them to succeed!