Why is the Coach/Client Relationship so important?
First you have to recognize that your clients are people and not just dollar signs. Coaches must move past looking at avatars of athletes on paper and begin to recognize those avatars are really Adams and Avas. If you can’t establish a relationship with your client, you will live an endless cycle of turnover- constantly bringing in new clients and saying adios to the old. In the perfect coaching scenario your clients are life-long clients. This benefits both the client and the coach. Very simply put: who do you have a better relationship with… the mail carrier or your mom? Chances are the one you’ve spent years with over the one you have polite and sporadic interactions with.
Have you ever lost a client, but didn’t fully understand what happened? Maybe it seemed as if they had a change of heart overnight. Reflecting back one client that comes to mind was a young athlete who I coached for about a year. The athlete continuously progressed and I monitored the training closely, but what I hadn’t monitored was all of the outside factors. When this athlete told me they were no longer able to train with me I was taken aback. She was progressing, why would she stop?
After a few probing questions I finally got to the real reason she was quitting – her parents had paid for her training and were no longer able to continue to pay for it. Had I known this was an issue sooner I could have worked with her to express the value of the service to her parents. Perhaps invited them on one of our Skype calls or emailed them an update of her progress. In hindsight, there was an avenue I could have taken to open up communication and potentially kept the client for years to come.
Throughout my years of coaching one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that the programming is easy, it’s working with people that takes time to master. Every client relationship is different. As a coach you need to ask your self what each individual client values the most. You will quickly realize the diversity of answers your clients will respond with. Now ask yourself, are you catering your coaching to those values? Do your workouts, meal plans, and lifestyle tips all coincide with what that individual’s values/goals/wants/needs may be? By answering these questions honestly to yourself you will be able to provide the most genuine (and potentially badass) program that client could ever imagine.
When a client feels that you understand the why in their values you establish a trust that strengthens your relationship. Having trust in one another allows for more open communication and in return will allow you to have a deeper connection with your clients. A competent, trustworthy, and caring coach will be able to guide their clients to the best version of themselves. The stronger the coach/client relationship is the more honest and genuine conversation will be which will allow the results to happen sooner and more efficiently. Trust the client, trust the coach, and trust the process.