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If Your Clients Fail, Are You A Failure?

Recently I watched  a video of a Personal Training Business Mastermind Group in which a Coach was discussing how he gets upset when clients don’t follow his advice. He takes it personally and plays on his mind for a long time.

His mentor’s response was this was for him not to get bothered by it. Take no credit, take no blame. You have given your advice, it is up to them to follow it. You have done your part of the bargain.

This, my esteemed Coaches and trainers is bullshit.

It means one of a few things:

1. The advice you gave was the wrong advice

2. You gave the client the advice in the wrong way and you didn’t communicate in a way they understand.

3. You didn’t ask the client for their input on the advice.

Lets explore these a little deeper, because getting over this problem will help both your clients results and your Coaching business.

  1. The advice you gave was the wrong advice.

Not all advice is good advice. This is something that many coaches forgot: Just because it came from the all knowing fountain of wisdom, (your mouth) doesn’t mean it has any practical value or usefulness.

We need our advice to be right for the client, not what you think is the best course of action. Many clients are not yet ready for the best course of action, we need to do what is appropriate.

An example of this is many trainers think ‘The Meat and Nut Breakfast” (eating meat and nuts for breakfast) is the best way to start the day, along with only having carbs post workout and heavy resistance training 4x a week to get results. However if you have a client coming in to the gym who is 6 months removed from a Caesarean section, has twins and runs a small business, this advice is not practical or useful in any way.

When giving advice it doesn’t need to be optimal: it needs to be just a little bit better than what the client is currently doing. This is all that matters.

2. You gave the client the advice in the wrong way and you didn’t communicate in a way they understand.

The old axiom it doesn’t matter what we say, but how we say it is very, very true. We need to talk to our clientele in a way that helps them understand and implement, not in a way that impresses and/or confuses them.

Which of the following 2 statements is going to make the most sense to a prospective client?

  1. You need to have a precise combination of protein and carbs post training to optimise muscle glycogen replenishment, protein synthesis and activate the mTOR pathway, creating an anabolic environment.
  1. Having a protein shake with a bit of carbs after training is going to help you recover faster so you can train even harder next time you get to the gym.

We need to get away from our need to make ourselves sound intelligent and talk to clients so they can easily implement what we say. This is a mistake I have made many times and since identifying it, my clients results have gotten so much better.

3. You didn’t ask the client for their input on the advice.

So many Coaches get put off when I say this.

“Why should I ask for their input? They are PAYING ME!”

“If they give input, they don’t need me”

This is a narrow-minded way of looking at the Coaching Process and is doing a major dis-service to your clients. How do you know what your clients feel about your advice if you don’t ask them?

Do they feel overwhelmed by it?

Do they think they can successfully achieve it?

Will it work in their already busy and chaotic lives?

One method I use is to ask each client how Ready, Willing and Able they are to follow the advice.

“Are you ready to train 3x a week?”

“Are you willing to train 3x a week?”

“Are you able to train 3x a week?”

I ask them to score each of these questions on a scale of 1-10, with 10 indicating the utmost confidence it can be achieved and 1 indicating there is no hope of that happening right now.

If each score is a 9 or above, that is the best piece of advice for that client right now. They will succeed which will lead to better results moving forward and increased compliance in every part of their training and nutrition program. The client will also feel heard by you and feel you are there with them for the process, not there for yourself.

If your clients do fail, it is not because you are a bad Coach or they are a bad person. It is simply an incompatibility between what you are advising and what they can actually do. By working with your clients and applying these simple strategies, you can and will ensure long term short term success with all your clients.

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