Every up-and-coming strength coach or personal trainer I come in contact with seems to be in a rush.
Why? I can never understand this.
They want to go to every course and seminar offered, obtain every certification, and achieve instant success.
Nothing is wrong with wanting to educate yourself and improve. But there’s no need to rush it. I hate to burst your bubble, but success is neither instant nor easily definable.
Success is what you conceive it to be in pursuit of positive results over a long period of time with your athletes. Consistency is key to success.
My personal definition of success is helping my athletes build a stronger, more confident overall version of themselves. Helping them increase mental fortitude and self-efficacy are also vital ingredients.
If I could offer advice to up-and-coming coaches, I would tell them to slow down and take a deep breath; the journey is the best part.
You’re probably looking for more tangible items to latch onto, so here are three things you can do right now to get closer to “success”:
- Master communication skills
- Provide consistent value
- Be patient
MASTER COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Practice. Practice. Practice.
You will only get better at coaching by actually coaching.
This means that you’re likely to make mistakes, fail, and trip up—but learn in the process. Learning from your mistakes, from the risks you take and sometimes fail at, is extremely important in achieving overall growth and development as a coach.
A giant chunk of this process is related to how well you communicate with your athletes. If your professional goal is to help them achieve their specific goals, then you’ll need to build a bond centered in trust and buy-in to your methods.
And let’s cut to the chase: how well you coach is directly correlated to how well you communicate.
If the first step to becoming a better communicator is through years and years of practice during training sessions with your athletes, the next step is refining your skills. Refinement can be done via online courses, in-person seminars, and even working with your coaching staff.
However, if you’re looking for a more individualized approach to mastering the art of better coaching through better communication, I would strongly suggest hiring a professional speaking coach. I’ve found a ton of value in hiring a coach to help me become a better communicator and speaker. In turn, this has allowed me to improve my skills as a coach.
There are so many great professional speaking coaches and organizations out there. My favorite is Jenny Rearick, owner of Nine to Five Athlete, a company whose mission is to help you improve your speaking and communication skills.
Jenny is literally a communication ninja. Trust me.
PROVIDE CONSISTENT VALUE
Let me play out a scenario for you.
You decide to reach out to a coach you’ve admired for a while, so you send her a direct message in Instagram:
“Hi, Coach! I’m a HUGE fan of your work. I’m a young strength coach myself and I just created this account. I would love it if you followed me back. Thanks!”
The star coach then visits your page only to find a total of three posts, none of which pertain to training or fitness.
I’m going to be brutally honest with you. People, regardless of field, find it very difficult to engage with you or help you out if you don’t consistently provide value. When I say value, I literally mean offering up value in everything you do.
Instead of asking for a hand-out of sorts, start providing value.
“Well, how do I do that?”
- Create a YouTube channel: Put together dozens of educational and instructional exercise videos focusing on technique and form.
- Create an Instagram page: Provide posts that are fun and informative on training-related topics.
- Write articles: Start out with your own website or blog and eventually build up to offering articles to websites that you respect in the field.
- Conduct free online events: Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom webinars, etc.
- Conduct free live events: workshops, clinics, lunch-and-learns, etc.
Then follow steps 1 through 5 again. Then again. And again. Do this for a minimum of three to five years.
That would be a good start
Odds are, in time, the message you’ll be sending that star coach you admire will be very different.
“Hi, Coach! I’ve been following your advice for several years now, and I’m an even bigger fan now. I just wanted to thank you for all you do. It’s people like you who continue to help our field grow in a positive direction. Keep up the great work!”
This type of message may not get you the “follow” you were looking for, but it shouldn’t be about that. It’s should be about building a strong network of like-minded professionals over time. This won’t happen overnight, but by following the steps for success consistently, you’ll not only be on the road to success yourself, but you’ll also be on the radar of the coach who provided so much value to you in the first place.
And when it comes to helping others, you must be prepared to provide value without expecting anything in return, and to do so on a consistent basis. You’ll be surprised at the value you eventually get back, because people are loyal to those they can rely on.
You’ve probably noticed a similar theme in each of the two previous points: patience.
Being patient is boring. Nothing about it is fun. It takes a ton of time. However, patience is your key to success in becoming a better strength coach or personal trainer.
Every single successful professional in this field has gone through the process you’re about to go through now. This process, as outlined in the two previous points, is imperative for your growth and development.
Instead of being in a rush, slow down and take it all in. Be patient. Offer value over time. Educate and learn from your own mistakes. And you will succeed.