Dylan Staniec remembers the frustration: The frustration he felt when he wasn’t able to offer a solution to his clients.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’d ask people who came to the gym, ‘Why are you here? What are your goals?’ And they would give me this big long explanation of what they wanted to do, and my only answer was, ‘Ok, so you’re just going to take classes like everyone else now,’” Staniec said of his time coaching primarily group classes at a CrossFit gym in California.
The group class model didn’t allow him to cater to anyone’s individual needs, he explained.
“It was frustrating because I didn’t have a business offering that matched what they really wanted, or what their goals were. And then I’d see them in classes and it was so obvious they didn’t belong there and that they weren’t going to get what they wanted,” he said.
As a result, many of Staniec’s clients didn’t stick around the gym long. And on his end, Staniec said he felt that he wasn’t really able to help many people transform their lives, which is why he got involved in the fitness industry in the first place.
Eager to discover a better way, Staniec decided to look into OPEX’s education. The first course he signed up for was the business systems course in 2013. He learned so much, he explained, that he went on to complete the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP).
Then in January 2018, the 35-year-old from Santa Cruz, California opened Sea 2 Summit Training and abandoned his old way of training clients in favor of an individual program design model.
Today, each of Staniec’s 20 clients pay between US$250 and $900 a month, depending on how much one-on-one coaching they want. They also receive regular lifestyle consultation sessions with Staniec and an individualized training program designed for their personal wants and needs. While he does have a small physical location—a 300 square foot studio—many of his clients train at their own home gyms.
Unlike the old group class days, Staniec’s client retention since January 2018 is 100 percent.
“I haven’t had a single person cancel yet,” he said, adding that his goal is to increase his client book by another 10 clients.
Though he praises the exercise physiology and nutrition education he learned through CCP, Staniec said the biggest concept he took away from the OPEX education was the importance of developing close relationships with clients. Learn how to develop close relationships with your clients here.
“Other education out there just focuses on how to train people, not about why that person is walking through the door,” he said. “I’ve learned a big part of it comes down to figuring out why your clients are really there, not just physically, but mentally and psychologically. You really need to understand them and their aspirations and their values.”
He added: “In the (group class) model, clients would get to know each other and build relationships with each other, and to a certain extent the coaches, but they didn’t always have the same coach. And with all the realities and responsibilities of owning a gym, I never really built a strong relationship with them the way I do with my clients now.”
Connecting with his clients today starts with a process that takes at least one to two months, he explained.
“The first two months is about getting to know them and helping them develop habits and making sure their lifestyle matches their goals. That comes before giving them really difficult workouts,” he said. “There’s usually a big emphasis on nutrition planning, and, you know, just all the behind the scene things that have to take place first.”
Once this is all done, his clients hop on their individual training program, all the while continuing to work closely with their coach. Staniec said he generally has three or four direct communications with each client each week.
“Plus at least an hour conversation once a month without any distractions. The trust my clients put in me is significant, which is obvious as to the types of things they share with me and how they open up about their lives,” he added.
This is a far cry from the old days when he said he felt like he told clients what they were supposed to care about, rather than empowering them to figure out what type of life they want to live.
“At the end of the day, most people don’t care about their back squat, but we would tell them they really need to be concerned with their back squat. But all they really wanted to do is go skiing all day without knee pain,” he said. “So it’s really rewarding for me now when someone comes to me with a specific goal and then they tell me a month later they went skiing all day without pain. It’s really fulfilling to help people reach the goals they came to you with, instead of trying to convince them to be happy with the goals you told them they should be concerned about,” Staniec said.
He added: “It’s more fulfilling for everyone.”
Get an introduction to the same education that helped changed Staniec’s approach to coaching in this free Coach’s Toolkit.
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