Today’s post is going to cover three things: My take on Crossfit, what I feel are “Must-know” Comminication Skills for anyone who’s in a coaching/teaching role, and why Personal trainers may not want to try and copy Strength Coaches and Physical therapists. The strategies I’m going to share with you here have certainly helped me become and better communicator and a more effective teacher/coach. And, I want them to help you too!
You may be wondering what my take on Crossfit has to do with communication skills? Well, to me, communication has everything to do with everything! It just so happens that I was inspired to discuss these topics after seeing the huge response to this (below) Facebook post, in regards to my take on CrossFit, which I made here on my page just yesterday:
“What do you think of CrossFit? That’s the question I get at every conference I teach at and almost weekly in my email inbox. I’ve found that the only people who ask this question are ones whom already have a strong opinion on Crossfit and they’re looking to take a stance on me, based on my response. If my outlook agrees with theirs, they’ll like me a lot more. And if mine doesn’t, I’ll lose cool points. The fact is, I’m just a gloried PE teacher who loves telling people about the training concepts & techniques that I’ve found to work well for me. If you’ve found something that works well for you, thats awesome! Keep doing until it doesn’t. I don’t get caught up in talking about what others are doing. I train and let train, while I focus on what works best for me. I know what I know… and I do what I know!”
Communication 101 – What you’re are saying is probably NOT what we are hearing!
The fact is, regardless of the stance you take on training and what YOU believe is right – You have to accept that the first step in helping people to benefit from your message does NOT begin with technical stuff and science. It begins with COMMUNICATION!
If you can’t communicate, you can’t coach! And, before some one will listen to what you have to say, they must first be WILLING to spend their valuable time listening to you in the first place.
So unless you want to lead a life of frustration wondering why you keep talking, but not many people seem to be listening. I suggest you take a “pause for the cause” to think about strategies you can take that actually encourage people to actually listen and benefit from all of the time and hard work you’ve put into your training philosophy.
Put simply, you can’t “thrill” someone until you’ve “compelled/inspired” them to listen first!
In this video (below), I share with you some simple, yet extremely effective strategies we’ve used to first compel and inspire people to listen, so we can then thrill them with our Performance U Hybrid Training approach!
Certain Jobs allow you to say anyhing you want and people have to listen!
In the world of health & fitness training we have a few jobs, which we as fitness professionals feel are the same. But, they’re actually very different!
I’m talking specifically about strength coaches (high-school, college, etc.) and therapists vs. personal trainers. No, I’m not talking about the differences in scope of practice. I’m talking about the differences in the environment in which these professions work within.
Strength Coaches and Physical therapists work in an environment that allows them to work with people who are kind of forced to work with them, regardless of wether they like it or not. If you’re injured, your doctor and insurance company tell you that you’ve got to go to physical therapy. Or, if you’re an athlete who’s in school or on a team, you’ve got to do what your strength coach says if you want to stay on the team.
Or, a kid athlete who maybe feels “pushed” by his parent(s) to work with a certain Sports Performance professional and does it because they don’t want to disappoint mommy and daddy.
The point is: there are several health & fitness related professions that don’t require you to first “inspire people” to listen as they’re already thrown in your lap and told “just do what coach/therapist says and you’ll be okay.”
Now, some coaches and therapists still embrace the power of inspiration through good communication. And, those are the ones I’d refer my clients to if needed. But, in these professions, great strength coaches/ therapists aren’t always great teachers/communicators because they don’t have to be. And, they also may not see the value in working to become a better communicator because they don’t have to. And, instead, they’ll focus their energy and $ on learning the latest training/rehab techniques.
But, what if I’m a Personal Trainer?
On the other hand, if you’re a personal trainer or someone looking to make a name for themsleves by writing blogs or articles – Things are very, very different! You’ve got to actively seek people out, and find creative ways to encourage and inspire them to come to you! And, that’s NOT a one-time thing. It’s a daily thing because at anytime people could decide that there’s potentially something better out there for them to spend their hard earned money on. It’s about giving great customer service day in and day out! And great customer service begins with communicating with your customers (your clients) about what YOU can do to keep them a happy customer/client!
In the world of Personal training or Semi-Private training, the way you communicate can make or break you! The only people who will be willing to invest their time, money and energy in your services must first be willing to invest in YOU! And, they’ll be more willing to do that if you are able to compel them with a message that they can understand and relate to. If you can do that, they’ll feel that you’ve got THIER best interest in mind, instead of simply using your training as an ego boost to dictate to them your doctrines and why your technical knowledge is superior to the trainer who works down the street or who’s video you just say on Youtube.
In other words, you cant start to “educate” them until your first “motivate” them (on THIER terms) to learn more and to mentally buy into your philosophies in the first place! They have to know that you look at each training session as something for them, not something for you.
Okay – I told you all that to tell you this…
Here are my main take home messages, along with what I already discussed in the communication 101 video:
– Learning to communicate better is not “giving in” to your clients and letting them dictate what you do. It’s a way to get them to want to do what you want them to do! It saves you BOTH time and potential frustration.
– It’s much easier to try to get on your clients page then it is to try to put them on yours. They’re paying you remember!
– Your clients can still respect you even though they may not like you. And, they probably wont like you if they feel that you don’t bother trying to speak to them in a way they understand. That said, do you want raving fans that are always ready to sing your praises. Or, would you rather them simply tell others “My trainer is smart, but he or she is kind of a know it all.”
– If you’re a personal trainer, try to learn from everyone you can. Just be careful about approaching your training practice in the same way you’ve seen strength coaches and physical therapist do because they don’t live in the same world as you do. Some of the technical aspects may be similar, but the game is very different!
– As soon as “smart” trainers figure out how to market themselves like the people on TV whom they like to make fun of, they won’t have to worry about the general public being misinformed because THEY will become the ones on TV giving people the truth.
– Thinking that being smart is all you need or what you “should” need to be successful is the dumbest mistake I made as a younger trainer.
– Just because you disagree with some one’s approach to training doesn’t mean that you also can’t embrace what they may be doing well. For the most part, it’s the fault of the honest, passionate and informed fitness professionals that the general public doesn’t hear our message because we speak in overly technical terms that only other nerdy fitness pros can understand. And/or, we come off bitter, jealous and negative minded when the general public sees us using our time and mental energy to mock others who may be getting more publicity than we do. It doesn’t take a genius to see that things aren’t changing because WE aren’t changing!
– If you want to change the way the general public looks at fitness training, you’ve got to think like the general public. And, I can promise you that they don’t respond to your professional technical babble. Nor will they take to kindly to being told that “you’ve got to get into better shape (correct your dysfunctions) before you start working out.” They respond to simple, quick and basic stuff. Once they respond, then you can hit them with all the technical stuff you’d like!
– Using good marketing as general communication to get people’s attention and compel them to listen. The use specific communication to help them feel encouraged because you’re speaking “to them”, not just “at them.” Then, you keep them thrilled by delivering great customer service from your technical knowledge. (Note: notice how the technical stuff came last.)
– Good marketing is good communication! And, neither require that you have to lie. Marketing is simply a way to get peoples attention. Once you get their attention, you can tell it like it is!
– Even with good communication, sometime it takes people a little time to come around. Remember: No one ever started out as an expert or an informed consumer. They became driven to learn more because they made a mistake and don’t want to repeat the same mistake again. It may only be after they made that mistake where they are willing to seek YOU out. So relax and don’t get so worried about people not getting it perfect the first time by discouraging them from trying something that interests them. If you do, you may push them away for good and no marketing or communication skills out there will bring them back to your world!
Next Up on here on the Blog!
Are you as good a coach/trainer as you think you are? Or, are you really as smart as you think you are?
My next post is going to hit you with some must know facts about basic human psychology that will help you better understand yourself, so you can better understand others, and become a better coach/trainer/teacher.
These are simply strategies that’ve helped me become a better person, a much better teacher and continually inspire an ever-growing network of people from all walks of life!