Let me begin this blog with a great quote by the great Philosopher Aristotle. ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit’.

If you want anything in your life to be better you must also strive to be better. After twenty years of coaching here are five habits that I have found very helpful. Some of these I learnt very early in my career and some that I hate to say I learnt only recently. Maybe that is one of the joys of this job? We are constantly learning and evolving.

Habit # One:

A wise man once told me you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. So shut up and listen! As much as we like to think personal training is about movement it’s not. Movement maybe the initial catalyst but after that it’s all about building a relationship. Any successful relationship comes down to communication. During that initial consult when you ask a question, listen listen and listen.

  • Don’t interrupt them half way through there answer.
  • Don’t start planning out there next three months of training in your head.
  • Listen intently and take note of everything that was said.

When they’re finished ask another question and you guessed it listen. Not that tough you would think. But unfortunately an art we are quickly losing as a society today. With so much time and content on electronic devices, we are losing our ability for face to face interaction

Habit # Two:

Take the time to understand your clients training style. Just because you enjoy doing Olympic lifts doesn’t mean everyone you train will like Olympic lifts. Make the program specific to your clients’ needs and wants as well ensuring it helps them achieve their goals. Ask questions about what has worked in the past, what they enjoy, what they don’t enjoy and you guessed it. Listen!

Take your ego out of the equation and let your client create their environment for learning and change. Just because a certain style of training works for you doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. A great example of this is nutrition. One style of eating and serving size does not fit all.

Habit # Three:

As a coach your role is to act as a guide. Yes give answers, suggestions and direction when asked but not before. It is an honor and a privilege to be asked for help in achieving a person’s life long goal. So don’t abuse it. Guess what? You won’t have all the answers and it is only with open communication that happens between you both that the success will be possible. You’re that all important guide on stand-by to provide guidance, not the expert that holds all the power and answers.

Habit # Four:

Become a life longer learner. Our industry is constantly changing and we should also evolve. Remain up to date and learn from sources that are endorsed with references and studies. Anyone who says that they know everything or is a “GURU” has stopped learning or is living on their ego and closed off from other views and opinions. Enough said.

Habit # Five:

Bring your ‘A’ game every session. Sure some days are harder than others. That’s when you put on a brave face and suck it up. As they say fake till you make it. You want that time the client spends with you to be the highlight of their day. Coaching is about getting the best from your client. To do that you must devote 100% of your time to them when you are with them. The small things matter.

Turning up on time.

  • Look the part and dress professionally (not covered in sweat)
  • Smile and be grateful they have given up their time to spend time with you.
  • Ask how they’re doing, have an empathetic ear and be prepared to change the session around how they are feeling.

It’s not about how tired or hung over you are or if you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend. They don’t want to know you’ve got another ten sessions to go.

I Hope this helps you and your business. I have made all of these mistakes at some time in my career but I have been fortunate enough to have some great mentors who in turn listened to me and helped me learn.

Written by

Aaron Callaghan – After playing professional rugby in England, Aaron turned his knowledge to fitness and studied extensively under industry greats Cook and Gray, Chuck Wolf, PTA Global and two mentorships with Michol Dalcourt and the Institute of Motion. Aaron has just recently moved back to New Zealand in Wanaka, establishing Peak 40, helping people move and function better and getting them to live his motto – “Vitality for modern living”. For more information contact Aaron at www.peak40.co.nz.