While some clients are easy—they’re 100 percent committed and their compliance with their training program reflects this—these people are the minority.
Most people need your help to be more compliant and feel more connected to their program.
Here are five ways to help you do this as a coach:
1. Consistency is key
The long and the short of it is, “the delivery of program design should be consistent,” said OPEX Fitness coach Carl Hardwick, a man with years of experience in the individual program design business.
Pro Tip: If you input a client’s training sessions for the week every Sunday, for example, their connection is more likely to increase, as it will become routine for them to take a look at their training program every Sunday evening before bed.
Or as Hardwick explained, “This creates rhythm, not only for you as a coach, but for when your client can expect their next week’s design. It creates weekly anticipation on the client’s side to see their design and creates more engagement on a week-by-week basis,” he added.
Though it can be tempting to program for an entire month, Hardwick warns against this.
“True individualized program design cannot be designed 30 days at a time as there are too many opportunities for things to not go as planned—bad sleep, sickness, missed sessions, etc. Life happens,” Hardwick said.
2. Make your clients part of the process
Simply put: Share the plan with your clients.
“If you just designed an awesome accumulation phase for them that you are excited about, share that with them,” Hardwick said. “Tell them what the goals are each training phase, what the priorities are, what you are focusing on each training day, what progression looks like etc.”
When your clients understand why they’re doing something, it goes a long way in creating more connection and engagement for the client.
“There has to be teaching inside of prescribing,” Hardwick explained.
Or as Georgia Smith says, “Make your clients a part of the process,” and then let them lead the way in terms of problem solving.
For example: Let’s say your client was planning on cooking a healthy meal, but then came across a food truck parked right outside of the grocery store and opted for food truck tacos for dinner instead. Instead of telling them what they should do to avoid this in the future, involve them in the process and have them come up with solutions to ensure food trucks don’t become a regular habit in their lives.
The bottom line: The more educated your clients are, and the more they’re a part of the process, including the problem solving process, the better chance they’ll be engaged and successful with their program.
3. Set clear communication expectations
Make it very clear to your clients what you expect from them, and what they can expect from you in terms of communication.
For example: Let them know, for example, that you will always reply within 24 hours, that they can expect bi-weekly communication from you and monthly face-to-face consults.
Bottom line: Come up with a framework for communication that works for you, and then most importantly, follow through.
4. Know their capabilities and meet them where they’re at
When it comes to the program itself, nothing will decrease connection and disengage clients faster than programming a training program that’s out of their capabilities.
“Ensure that you are giving them work that is doable,” Hardwick said. “If your clients can only do five double unders unbroken, do not give them a 20 minutes mixed modal piece that calls for 50 double unders smack dab in the middle. This will turn into a frustrating 20 minutes for your client, they will lose trust in your program and will likely become disengaged.”
To truly know someone’s capabilities, you must first put them through a thorough assessment process. Check out this article: 4 Steps to Assessing Clients.
5. Let go of the perfectionism
“Coaches often spend too much time trying to get things perfectly right, designing the perfect training program”, explained Hardwick.
This is less important than connecting with clients. If you’re not connected with your clients, it doesn’t matter how perfect your program is.
Further, “there’s no perfect prescription,” Hardwick said.
So instead of trying to design the perfect program, focus on “staying within your principles,” Hardwick said. This will allow you to design an effective program, albeit maybe not perfect, that will get your clients closer and closer to their goals.
The rest of the time, focus on the other four tactics we listed: being consistent, making your clients part of the process, setting clear expectations, and meeting your clients where they’re at.