Even before COVID-19, a hot topic among trainers and coaches was compliance with clients. Now, with many people transitioning to virtual training, compliance has an entirely new meaning. As a coach, you could build the best and most individualized program for your client available, but if your client does not actually complete the workouts, the program is useless. Here are 4 tips I’ve found that have successfully helped increase compliance with virtual clients.
1. Scheduled Follow-ups
Sending an email once a month with next month’s program is simply not enough follow-up. This kind of communication promotes a very detached and disengaged relationship. If you want your clients to show up for their workouts, you need to follow-up. Your client should know that you care. An easy way to do this is to schedule a follow-up. You do not need to be obsessive and text/call/email your client every day; once a week is good enough. At the end of the week, shoot your client a quick text to ask them a couple of follow-up questions (i.e. how did the workouts go, were you able to manage your time well, etc.). To help make this task less of a burden on you, the coach, you can send a scheduled email in advance, use a messenger board on your online platform, or even set a reminder on your phone to text your client. Once you create a routine of follow-up, your client, in expectation of your follow-up, will feel more compelled to complete their workouts in a timely manner.
2. Start and Maintain an Open Conversation
We’ve all worked with that client that seems to have a new excuse every week for why they could not complete the workouts. One of the most important aspects of the coach-client relationship is honesty. It is impossible to solve a time management issue if you are unaware what the issue is. You can’t force your client to explain their issues, and you do not want to get carried away and become their counselor. However, you are in control of starting and maintaining an open conversation. If your client misses a workout or two, instead of brushing it off and saying “let’s focus on getting the next couple in,” ask them why they missed the workout. Start a conversation. This shows your client that you care if they complete their workout and you want to be actively involved in compliance. Let your client know you care, and maintain an open and honest conversation with them.
3. Directly Address Issues with Compliance
If compliance is a consistent issue with your client, address it! Do not ignore a lack of compliance. Sometimes it seems like compliance is a taboo. Coaches are afraid to talk about compliance with their clients because they are afraid the conversation may result in losing the client. The client becomes aware that they are paying for a program and rarely completing it. If you directly address a compliance issue with your client, it demonstrates that you want to be actively involved in their program and you care about their compliance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your client that there is an issue with compliance, but make it abundantly clear that you are bringing the issue up to work on it together. Build a compliance program in conjunction with their strength and conditioning program that you both believe will be successful. The compliance aspect of the program could be as simple as starting a weekly follow-up conversation (see Tip #1).
4. Accountability is Key
This is the reason why compliance has become even more difficult with clients moving online. Before, your clients had to cancel on you when you were waiting for them at the gym, but now to skip a workout, they just have to ignore a notification on their phone. To help combat this, come up with an accountability program with your client. This could mean working out with your friend once a week, texting your coach when you have completed your workout, or even just writing your schedule into your daily planner. Accountability adds a deeper level to each workout and can help your client feel more motivated to comply with workouts.
Compliance has always been a deep seeded issue with coaches and clients, but you are not helpless when it comes to compliance. You have built an amazing program for your clients, and they deserve to reap the full benefits.