Sales 101 in the coaching business is that when a new client comes to you, it’s because they have a problem that they want solved. They look to hire you because you can solve that problem. While this is a very simplified version of all that goes into gaining a new client, I would imagine for most of you, the fun part begins once they do hire you and you can really work your magic.
After all, this is why you became a coach; to help people reach their goals! Somewhere during this sales process, you were able to convey how you are the most obvious solution to their problem. Because of that, I’m sure you are excited to create a training plan and guide them to that solution.
Hold on a minute, what good is a perfect plan if it’s not executed correctly? A mentor of mine once said that the best program is the one you are currently on. His point was that most people will jump from program to program looking for “perfection” and never give something a good enough chance to see if it works. His other point was that an “okay” program followed perfectly will always be better than a “perfect” program followed inconsistently.
That’s why, unfortunately, your perfect plan doesn’t matter if you can’t meet your clients where they are and help them execute at a high level. I want to teach you the importance of helping your clients build lifestyle habits to stay consistent and follow through on your program. Not only will this make your job easier, but will enhance all aspects of their lives.
Okay, so let’s talk about how to build habits that actually stick!
When it comes to making habits, you need to think about starting small. Then, go even smaller! Starting a new habit is about picking something that is so simple to implement it seems too easy. When helping clients build this habit, help them pick something they know they can do without a shadow of a doubt. Once they build some momentum, you can increase the difficulty or commitment of that habit.
The other critical part is to provide an anchor point for that specific habit. Think about the anchor point like a “trigger”, which can be a reminder and also provide motivation. For example, let’s say you have a client who has trouble feeling motivated to workout when they get home from work.
If you ask them what the first thing is they normally do when they get home and they say: “Take off my shoes and sit on the couch.” Often, once they sit down they get too comfortable to get up. So the anchor point becomes “sitting on the couch”, and before they can sit on the couch, they have to change into their workout clothes. I know you may have been thinking they have to workout before sitting down, but remember we want the habit to feel effortless. Changing clothes is very achievable.
The odds are once they change their clothes and shoes they will at least go outside for a walk around the block. While going one block, they might as well go two blocks, and before you know it they start running etc, etc.
This is a general example that you can apply to anything you are helping your client implement. Make it so easy they are bound for success. The caveat is that if they change into their workout clothes and they want to sit down on the couch, that’s totally fine. They can do it guilt free because changing clothes was their “buy in”. Again the reason this method works is by making the habit so small they are likely to follow up on it.
These same principles are crucial when it comes to programming for clients. While you may well know your client needs to walk 10,000 steps per day, it may not be wise to start there. Some may be able to implement right away, but others need to start by standing up from their desk every hour of the day.
Even though 5 days a week of olympic lifting may be best to prepare them for a competition, that doesn’t matter if they can only consistently make 3 days a week. While you could program less days, one way you can help them is to create habits outside of the gym.
If your clients can’t be consistent, are they being busy instead of productive? Do they need help with time management? With better scheduling could they make 5 days a week of training happen? The most effective coaches will coach the person, not just the exercise. This may mean helping your clients set themselves up for success outside of the gym, as well as inside.
Use this habit building process to help you and your clients see more success and increased consistency!