Nothing changed until I changed: How some clients/athletes will irritate you until you realize it’s not them, it’s you.
This post if for the coaches but goes well with anyone who deals in public relationships or in a leadership role. I however will relate it to my career as relating to any other would make no sense. This is about that person(s) who you really cannot get to. The person you feel is out to get you every time they walk into the gym. It is about that person who makes you say “Wow, what the hell?”. More importantly however, this is about you. Because the feeling you get from knowing you are about to train that person and the response, or lack there of, you get from that person has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.
If you are a coach, you know the person I am talking about. It is not uncommon or rare for this person to come along. I have a great example of this person. In 2008 I started my personal training career at the Texas A&M Sports and Recreation Center. I was 19, had held a personal trainers certificate for about a year and was training anywhere from 4-6 people per week. It was great and I loved it until I started to train “her”. If I remembered her name, I would say it but I can’t remember for the life of me. She came in as most of our clients did there. Overweight and slightly motivated. But this case was different. In fact she made it very clear she had no intention of ever being interested in getting in shape. Yet, she showed up every day telling me how her mom and dad signed her up and gave her the money to “Say she had a trainer”. The breaking point came after thanksgiving when she came back to training and said “Oh you would be so proud, I ate so much pie and desserts, it was great!” That was it, I couldn’t take it anymore and I ended our session/sessions for good.
Looking back I think of my immaturity and inability to communicate the importance of health and wellness to this girl. Her attitude was poor, but my one way tunnel of motivation was not what worked for her so therefore I gave up. Each day I had a paradigm of what that day would be like. I envisioned the hour of training would be horrible so therefore every time we met, it was. I never had a positive attitude so who was I to expect her to have one?
The Fix: If you want to change someone else you must first realize that is NOT possible. People are who they are especially once they have reached adulthood and thinking they will change is ignorance. We as coaches must understand that WE have to change if we want to connect with those who are a little harder to get to. We have to explore and learn new forms of leadership, we must change our paradigm of how we believe the training session will go, we have to understand that no two people are alike and they all require a different approach. Here are the steps I take when dealing with “that person”.
Start first by simply talking to them. Learn more about them, their family, their past, and the things they like. Getting an insight into their personal lives will 1) Give you a foundation of who they are and 2) Will make them feel more comfortable. I mean, who doesn’t like talking about themselves? This talk is not about their attitude or behaviour this talk is simply getting to know them in a more personal manner.
If things are still shaky, the next talk you need to have with them is to show 1) Why you care and 2) Why what you are trying to get them to do is important. What is the alternative to NOT exercising? Once they understand that you care about them (many times these people don’t care a lot about themselves and figure you don’t care either) and they see the alternative to not being healthy, they may begin to become more open to your leadership and coaching.
Lastly I must admit that some people just down right don’t care or want to be there. This is however VERY RARE. If they pay money and show up daily, they want to be there. Don’t get to this conclusion too quickly. weeks or months may pass before they really begin to understand, care and commit. We are sometimes to quick to think, that this option is the final option. If this is what it has come to, you simply let them go. Their attitude is not worth your time and there are always others out there looking to commit and begin a new life journey.
Maybe you have not come across this person yet. If you haven’t, trust me you will. But don’t think of it as a bad thing. Think of it as an opportunity to grow as a leader, communicator and of course, a coach.
- Coach David de Leon