Knowing your clients’ goals, training, and injury history is essential to creating programs that actually work. You can gather all of this information by including an initial questionnaire in your onboarding process.
Whether it’s a form someone can fill out on your website or it’s sent to them via email, having an initial questionnaire is a must for your online coaching business.
Note: There are other specific forms you can include in your onboarding process after someone signs up to train with you (which we’ll review in my next blog). These questions are included in your initial questionnaire before you meet your potential clients.
Start off the conversation with something light by getting to know your clients on a personal level.
– What’s your go to music when you work out?
– What are you binging on Netflix right now?
– If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The idea is to have something to break the ice with when you meet for the first time. Remember, people like talking about themselves and their interests.
Find out who your clients are and what they like doing with a couple of simple questions in your initial form. Don’t overthink it, and don’t be creepy about it either.
2. Training history
You need to know how (if at all) someone’s been training before they start working with you. If you don’t know where your client is starting, you won’t know how to get them to where they want to be.
These are just some of the training history questions I include in my initial questionnaire:
– Do you currently exercise? If yes, how frequently?
– Have you worked with a coach in the past? If yes, how was your experience?
– Are you a competitive athlete? If yes, what do you compete in?
– How confident are you performing bodyweight exercises?
– How confident are you lifting weights?
– How would you rate your current strength levels?
These aren’t the only questions I ask and they’re not by any means set in stone. The idea is to gather information before meeting with your client so you know, at least to a certain extent, whether they’ll be the right fit for you or you’ll be the right fit for them.
3. Injury History
The last thing you want to do is prematurely jump into a program with your client before first finding out their injury history.
– Do you have any current or pre-existing injuries that may affect your ability to exercise? If yes, please explain.
– Do you have any other medical conditions I should be aware of? If yes, please explain.
People like to be heroes, and likely won’t bring up injuries unless you ask them. Remember, your initial questionnaire is just gathering general information before you take your client through an actual assessment. You can save the PAR-Q/intake form until they actually commit to training.
Note: Keep in mind that in addition to asking if they have any current or pre-existing injuries, you should include a PAR-Q/intake form in your onboarding process (before you take them through a physical assessment and after they’ve committed to working with you).
Goals are like directions. They help you figure out where the hell you’re going.
I like learning someone’s goals before I meet them because it gives me a chance to find out what they’re looking for in a coach. For example, if a competitive bodybuilder wants some help leading up to their competition, I know I’m not their guy. But if someone’s looking to get strong AF and feel confident taking their shirt off at the beach, I’m in!
People don’t buy coaching, they buy coaches. Be sure to learn your potential clients’ goals so you know how to help them to the best of your ability. Or if you’re even the right match for this person.
Here are some general goal-setting questions you can include (again, these aren’t set in stone).
– What are your current goals? Check all that apply.
o Weight loss
o Reduced pain
o Athletic performance
– Why do you want to achieve these goals?
– What is most important to you in terms of progress? Check all that apply.
o Reducing bodyweight
o Increasing muscle mass
o Reducing body fat percentage
o Increasing weightlifting strength (ex. squat, bench, deadlift)
o Increasing bodyweight strength (ex. push-ups, pull-ups)
o Better sleep
– What would you specifically like to accomplish by working with me?
Ah, this one is good. It weeds out those who might be looking for a quick fix or even a free program from you. You don’t want to spend your time dealing with these people. You’d rather meet with potential clients who are motivated and ready to act.
Include both of these questions in your initial questionnaire:
– Are you ready to dedicate 3-5 hours per week to training?
– Are you willing to commit to at least 3 months of private coaching?
By asking these two vital questions, you’re setting your expectations from the start and communicating the level of commitment needed to work with you.
This will save you a ton of time. You don’t want to spend 30-60 minutes talking to someone who has no commitment or is looking for free help. They can check your social media for that.
Set your standards from the start and you’ll increase your chances of speaking with people who are actually interested in working with you and who are the right fit.
Having your potential clients fill out an initial questionnaire before you meet them gives you valuable insight into who they are and what they’re looking for in a coach. This will not only give you the information you need to create an effective program, but it’ll also improve your chances of working with people who are the right fit for you and your coaching business.