Written by Lauren Irvine
A personal trainer is more than just someone who trains clients in a gym. They are the missing link for someone who wants to achieve a fitness goal or create a healthy lifestyle. However, not all coaches are the same.
To be a successful, personable coach who clients want to work with, it’s important to have the following qualities…
Being able to communicate with your clients the how and why of what they’re doing, as well as explaining things in a way they understand will go a long way in building a positive relationship with that client. The more open communication you can have with your client, the better you’ll be able to work through any barriers together, if and when they arise.
THEY ACT PROFESSIONALLY
While personal trainers often create close, trusting relationships with their clients, it’s important to always remain professional when interacting with them. You don’t want your professional relationship with a client to suffer, simply because you start acting casually once you’ve been training them for a while and they end up losing respect for you. Additionally, you should never judge your clients or make them feel unworthy if they miss a workout or go to a social event – after all, they’re only human! As their personal trainer, it’s your job to equip them with the skills to still do the things they enjoy while working towards their goals.
THEY ARE PASSIONATE
You’ve probably seen that one trainer in the gym who never smiles and leans against the weights machine on their smartphone while their client works out. No potential client is going to look at them and think, “Wow, look how passionate and inspiring they are, I want to train with them!” You want to show your clients that you are genuinely passionate about what you do. Motivating your clients during their sessions and cheering them on when they reach personal goals are just some of the ways passionate trainers show they care.
THEY ‘COACH’ INSTEAD OF INSTRUCT
If a client is paying you with their valuable time and money for you to train them, you need to be able to offer them more value than they could get from simply following along a workout in say, a training app. Good personal trainers don’t just stand there and ‘tell’ their clients what to do. Instead, they use tools such as motivational interviewing and understanding the stages of behaviour change to coach their clients towards making sustainable progress. If every client was able to be handed a training and nutrition plan to follow without any outside help, the need for personal trainers wouldn’t exist. You need to make sure you are giving your clients a valuable experience that they can’t get anywhere else.
HAVE THE ABILITY TO BE HONEST
If you’re working with a client, there’s no point in watching them do a movement with incorrect technique without telling them how to change it. The same goes with being honest about other things they might be doing that are detrimental to their progress. This doesn’t mean that you should say, “You can’t do this” or “You can’t do that,” but rather educating them as to why certain lifestyle or nutrition choices could be getting in the way of them achieving their goal. On top of this, you need to be able to brainstorm with them an alternative or offer them a solution, so they understand that the honesty is coming from a place of wanting to help them.
CAN BE EMPATHETIC
Most of your clients will come to you with something they want to change. This is often something personal, possibly affecting their self esteem or even their mental health. We’ve established that personal trainers need to be honest and have the ability to ‘coach’ among other qualities, but equally as important is the ability to be empathetic towards the struggles they might be facing. For the majority of clients, fitness and training is only one small part of their lives and it’s unrealistic to assume that nothing will get in the way of them achieving their goals. As their coach, it’s your job to help them get back on the right path if they happen to fall off.
THEY CAN ADAPT
You could write the most incredible training and nutrition program, but if your client is unable to follow it because it simply doesn’t fit in with their lifestyle, then it’s no good to them. One of the most important qualities of a personal trainer is being able to adapt a program for clients’ individual needs. The best program is the one a client can stick to over the long term, so being able to adapt something that will work best for them – without completely sacrificing their social life – is one of the best qualities a personal trainer can have. At the end of the day, personal trainers aren’t just there to instruct. They provide the knowledge and education for clients to be able to reach their goals, while maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
To learn more about becoming a passionate, empathetic, professional personal trainer, enrol into our Master Coach Program!