If you took a snow globe and shook it up, you would not expect the individual, very small flakes to land in the same exact place they laid a few seconds ago. The figurine in the center would remain still, yet everything around them would be displaced.
Similarly, if a person’s life was shaken up from the way it was earlier in 2020, you wouldn’t expect many pieces of their lives to be the same. They’d be scattered, missing, and farther from the starting point.
So, you need a new starting point.
Start with goals
It’s going to take longer to put all the snowflakes exactly where they once were than to work with the new landscape. It’s our duty as coaches to help navigate new terrain.
With new terrain comes new problems that need to be solved. Let’s talk about these new problems with your clients to help them find a solution, rather than focusing fully on emotions. Your empathy will provide them with trust, but your problem solving will resolve the bigger issue: resistance to change.
Ask, ask, and then ask some more
It feels as if recently, many clients are struggling with schedule changes and this is directly affecting their compliance rates. Solution? Rewrite the script (program) based on a reevaluation of their lifestyle.
Important questions to ask:
What’s their newest priority?
What changes have been made to their career or schedule that would influence their adherence to training?
Are there changes in availability?
From there, we as coaches need to ask ourselves:
What are the controllable factors that can influence better retention? Here are a few suggestions:
- Changing the duration of the training session to feel realistic for their schedule.
- Supersetting exercises using similar equipment or no equipment to save mental energy.
- Setting realistic expectations for your client to help them not feel guilty if they miss a training session or do not PR on every training day.
Embrace the present
The perfect phrase for what many of our clients are struggling with right now is, “Comparison is the greatest thief of joy”. Consumed by the thoughts of “the good old days,” clients will try to bounce back to a time or place in their progress that doesn’t exist. This ties into setting realistic expectations and embracing the new starting point and looking at it as an opportunity rather than a setback.
Our clients come to us as coaches for exercise, but our responsibilities extend much deeper than that. Looking at your client’s situation through a wider lens can make or break their success based on how we adapt for them. Ultimately, there are many advantages of being a “beginner” again – that goes for the client and the coach.