Written by Lauren Irvine
When it comes to coaching your clients, setting measurable goals that they can track and tick off will no doubt make the process of training more enjoyable. Additionally, many clients who just want to “get fit” or “lose weight” have been working towards these goals for a long time with no real direction, so it’s important to set aside some time to map out how they will achieve their chosen goal in order to set them up with success.
Here is our guide to successfully setting goals for your clients.
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals at some point and these are a great way to break down a fitness goal into something very specific and objective, so you and your clients know exactly once they’ve achieved it.
For something to be a SMART goal, it needs to be the following:
Therefore, instead of the goal being “lose weight” or “get fit” it needs to be more specific, such as “lose 5kg” or “improve 5km run time by 3 minutes”. By making the goal specific to a number, you are also ensuring that it is measurable either by weight, distance or time.
From there, you and your client can assess whether or not the goal is achievable. A 20kg fat loss goal for a client with minimal body fat might not be safely attainable, but 5kg of fat loss might be.
Once you have decided on a measurable goal, you need to set a date with your client for when they will achieve it by – and this will then determine whether achieving the goal is realistic. Going back to the 20kg fat loss goal, this is more realistic to achieve over a period of 6 months, instead of 6 weeks. Depending on whether your client has an event coming up, you can adjust their goal to be both achievable and realistic for a specific date.
SET REGULAR CHECK INS
Setting a SMART goal with your clients is all well and good, but you also need to make sure you are regularly measuring their progress. A good way to do this is to set a weekly or fortnightly ‘check in’ day where measurements are taken. You will clearly be able to see if your client is making progress towards achieving their goal, have plateaued, or are possibly even going backward. This is when you, as the coach, need to sit down and assess what adjustments might be needed to their training or nutrition plan to keep them moving towards their goal.
DEFINE THEIR ‘WHY’
Once you and your client have mapped out a SMART goal and set realistic expectations, it’s time to dig a little deeper and tie some emotion to that goal. This is what’s going to help keep your clients on track on the days they’re lacking motivation, or feel like giving up.
Being able to communicate with your client effectively at this point is crucial because you could end up touching on quite personal topics. For example, someone who wants to lose weight could have lost a family member to heart disease, or someone wanting to get stronger and build some muscle mass could be at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Be kind, ask thought provoking questions and most importantly listen – because your client might identify their “why” while they’re talking, without even realizing.
Putting some time aside to map out a SMART goal with your client and help them to define their “why” will ultimately give your client a purpose to train and give them a reason to show up every day even when they don’t feel like it. Every goal is personal and a small goal to one client could become a lifelong achievement for another. As the coach, your job is to assist your client in reaching their goal, no matter how big or small.
If you are looking to get qualified, the Clean Health’s Master Coach Program is the ultimate educational experience for those wanting to help people achieve their fitness goals!