Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success: Installment 2
Written on June 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm, by Eric Cressey
I published a post on this topic a few months ago, and it was really popular. With that in mind, I figured I'd do another quick brain dump on the subject - and have it serve as the second installment of what will become a semi-regular series.
1. Use people's names as much as possible.
Tony Bonvechio is an outstanding coach at our Massachusetts location, and he does this better than any coach I've ever seen. I don't know if he does it intentionally, but it's simple, yet powerful strategy that allows him to really connect with clients - and I'm confident that it makes his coaching more efficient.
This "strategy" does' just apply to coaching, though; it makes all your dealings with other people more positive. As Dale Carnegie wrote in How to Win Friends and Influence People, “A person’s name is to them the sweetest sound in any language.”
2. What you don't say matters just as much as what you say.
Body language means a lot in the world of coaching. Crossing your arms screams, "I'm not interested in talking to you." Hands in your pockets gives off the "I don't really know why I'm here, and I don't have anything of value to contribute." If you don't know how to stand, move! If you're bouncing around and interaction with a lot of athletes (in the group setting) or working from multiple coaching angles (when working with a single athlete/client), you can't give off any vibe other than, "I really care and want to help."
3. "In business, you either grow fast or die slowly."
Robert Herjavec dropped this quote in his new book, You Don't Have to Be a Shark, and I definitely think it holds true in the fitness industry.
You see, the fields of health and human performance are remarkably dynamic. New research emerges every day, and we learn better ways to do things. Likewise, the dynamics of the business of fitness is changing dramatically as well; you don't have to look any further than the growth of semi-private training opportunities over the past decade as an example of that.
These changes aren't going to slow down anytime soon, so you better stay openminded and flexible so that you can adapt and grow in the decades ahead. The second you think you have it all figured out, the fitness and business games will quickly humble you.
4. This is likely the best progression for learning how to be a complete strength and conditioning coach...
Step 1: learn functional anatomy.
Step 2: learn exercises and how to coach them (note: most coaches cover a big chunk of this step by being athletes themselves).
Step 3: learn assessments.
Step 4: refine exercise selection and coaching strategies in light of the assessments.
Step 5: learn programming strategies.
Step 5: write programs based on steps 3, 4 and 5.
Step 6: keep refining points 3-6 for the rest of your career. Tinker, but never overhaul.
Everyone thinks they can write great programs right off the bat, but the truth is that there is a lot of foundational knowledge that has to be in place before they'll deliver a great training effect. The best coaches are the ones who've had years of going through steps 3-6 over and over again. For the young coaches out there, a good internship should take you from step 1 all the way through step 5.
5. Recognize your individual weaknesses, and coach accordingly.
I'm a fast talker and I often fall into the trap of mumbling. It's something that I really had to work to overcome for my speaking at seminars, but when I'm bouncing around on the training floor and the gym is busy, I often fall back into the trap of speaking too quickly. Recognizing this, at least 2-3 times per day, I have to remind myself of the cues "clear, concise, and firm" in my head to make sure that my brain doesn't get going too fast for my mouth.
Some coaches are too mellow and need reminders to step up their energy levels. Some need reminders to maintain eye contact with their athletes. Every coach has weaknesses like these - and you have to be honest with yourself about what they are so that you can be cognizant of not slipping back into your old traps.
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