One of the biggest mistakes people make with remote coaching is not taking the time to accumulate enough data about your clients before you start building out their programs in an app like TrueCoach.
As OPEX CCP coach Georgia Smith explained, “If you’re not doing thorough assessments with your clients, you’re ultimately just guessing when you design their programs.”
In other words: Assess, Don’t Guess.
Thorough assessment gives coaches a starting point and helps them prioritize appropriately before designing a program that takes into consideration the client’s current capabilities and goals. This ultimately puts them on a path of long-term success.
This was exactly the case for Luciano Camacho, a client who has been working remotely with OPEX CCP Coach Ronel Velasquez for nearly half a year. He admits he was scared to be tested and assessed when he started the journey.
“Before working with Ronel, I never tested myself physically. I never did a true assessment to see where I was at. Honestly, I was running away from the truth because of getting hurt or not doing well,” Camacho said.
Though it was uncomfortable to be tested, he said the assessment process he was put through at the start has been crucial for his coach to build an effective program for him. It also gave him confidence that his coach was taking the time to get to know where he was, rather than just guessing.
Ultimately, the assessment provided him the “truth,” he said. The truth about where he was really at, which was scary, he admitted, but also necessary. The truth provided an accurate place to start, which he said “has been key for my growth as a client.” He’s seen incredible results in just a few months.
“My lower-back pain is almost gone and my shoulder pain is gone,” he shared. “Now I wouldn’t trust a coach who does not assess you thoroughly.”
As a coach, where do I even begin?
OPEX has spent years perfecting its 4-step assessment process, a process that gathers necessary information and data about each unique individual.
The 4 Steps:
- Body Composition
- Work Capacity
Before you start building out a program, you need to take the time to sit down with—or do a Zoom call with a client if you’re not in the same city—your new client so you can get to know them.
Things to consider are their priorities in life, their schedule, their goals, what they’re willing to give to a program, their background, their health history, lifestyle, behaviours, and their nutrition.
Also keep in mind this shouldn’t be the only consultation you do with them. OPEX recommends a 30-minute lifestyle once per month to reassess and reevaluate where the person is at.
The initial consultation will go a long way in helping a coach determine what they need to prioritize in each client’s program. Make sure you ask a hefty amount of questions and take notes. You don’t want to miss out on anything important.
2. Body Composition
This includes gathering information about the client’s height, weight, lean body mass, basal metabolic weight and any other health biomarkers you can get your hands on. The easiest thing to do is to send your client to an InBody Machine in their city if your place of work doesn’t have one available, which provides all of the above information and more.
This information will help you figure out what to prioritize in the client’s program, and having baseline data makes tracking their progress much easier. Clients get very motivated by tangible incremental results; they’ll be grateful that you kept track of the numbers and statistics from the beginning.
It’s also important to determine how the client moves, namely figuring out where they have movement limitations. This will go a long way in ensuring program safety, as you’ll be able to select appropriate movements for the client based on their limitations.
If you’re doing this assessment remotely, the easiest way to accomplish this task is to get your client to send pictures or videos of their various movements.
The OPEX movement screening involves:
- Scratch test
- Toe touch test
- Squat test
- Lunge test
- Active straight leg raise test
- Side plank, reverse plank, and front plank test.
During this part of the assessment, it’s important to take notes, such as, ‘Michelle has an inability to reach internal rotation with her right arm, which was found in the scratch test, as well as an inability to hold a side plank on her right side for the required amount of time, due to a stability issue in her right shoulder.’
Her program will therefore prioritize improving her shoulder stability and internal rotation. Furthermore, her program will include more pulling than pushing, and will bias horizontal pushing over vertical pushing, because of her shoulder stability concerns.
Finally, the work capacity test helps you determine how the client responds to energy system work.
OPEX coaches use a simple 10-minute airbike test for max calories. This provides insight into the client’s ability to do work over the course of 10 minutes. Ask questions like: Is their endurance better than their power, or is their power better than their endurance? Are they able to pace themselves and sustain work? This data will help you prioritize things like endurance versus power in their training program.
Though other tests could be used, the airbike test is one of the most effective as the movement isn’t technical. Technique isn’t a limiting factor that will influence the test’s results.
Overall Assessment Goal
The ultimate goal of the assessment process is to gather necessary information to help you do three things really well while designing your client’s program: Prioritize, plan, and periodize. When you do this, your clients will see long-term results.