So, you want to become a good coach? Let’s scratch that; you want to be a better coach? Okay, let’s try one more time, you want to be the best coach? It takes hard work and dedication to achieve this salutation. In this article, I hope to provide some unique tips to help you become the best coach you can be. From one coach to another coach, it’s a continuous process to work on one's craft, but allowing the room for adaptability is the greatest equity.
While reading this article, understand that it by no means is stating you are doing things wrong, but instead may be a portion of coaching you can improve on. In simple terms of being a fitness coach, we all know that to adapt; one must improve in the small things to achieve more significant scale developments.
What does coaching mean to you?
To take the next step in a coaching career, one must remember what it is to be a “coach.” A variety of definitions exists, but in my professional opinion, this one strikes home. A coach is defined as ‘someone who will take you somewhere you want to go when you can’t get there yourself’ (Rooney, 2020). This holds a deep meaning when you think about it. Pause for a second on reading any further and think about that definition. How does it make you feel? Does coaching mean something different for you?
In many cases, individuals strive to become a coach because they experienced something in their life that empowered them to become a coach. This is great, but to this day, does that experience still hold value in your coaching process? You ask, what is the coaching process? It’s a combination of a variety of things. Think about the word “REAL.” A coach must be a REAL Coach! Let’s explain this a little more!
In all honesty, I look to keep things real in the article. Provide real expectations for becoming the best coach! Examine real experiences that shape us into the coach we want to become! Deliver tangible results that your clients will be passionate about in the long run! Now, REAL was created to become an acronym. Let’s start diving into what it means.
R = Relationships
E = Evaluate
A = Action
L = Learn
When becoming the best coach, valuing relationships goes a long way! Of course, when diving into a coaching meeting, a coach should establish goals, but building a successful connection from the start is essential for the outcomes associated with the journey to be effective (Deiorio, Carney, Kahl, Bonura, & Juve, 2016). As many coaches would recommend, learn your client's name before coaching them!
All coaches can ultimately make their clients sweaty and provide them a hard training session, but your first step should be developing a strong relationship before loading them up with weights. Building rapport with your client can take you a long way and help improve the client’s satisfaction with the coaching service (Sheikh, Qayyum, & Panda, 2019). Remember, they are human! Gain their trust through reliable information and honest opinions that are effective (Deiorio et al., 2016). As with anyone, there are boundaries. Understand the boundaries that are set in place on being a coach, thus knowing the acceptable behavior that is essential on your end (Deiorio et al., 2016). By all means, show your personality when working with a client but be respectable to the coach-client relationship.
This portion of REAL goes into two primary components of becoming the best coach! It doesn’t just mean evaluating your client’s movement capacities and other physiological parameters; it means taking the time and evaluating yourself as a coach. What do you need to become the best coach? What can you improve on? What does your future look like? Does it involve coaching? Pause and think about these questions. If you need to take some time and think about them, do it! It will only help you become the best coach!
Now, you can’t just only focus on developing yourself. Let’s look at how you evaluate your clients. As mentioned above, you need to have a system in place to assess your client’s movement capacities and other physiological parameters. Of course, the steps you take or the system you run can change for the population you are evaluating. You can learn a lot during the evaluation process, such as their previous training experiences, injuries and current pains, training desires in structures of goals, anatomy formations, and many more. Do you learn all these things right from the start?
In many cases, not necessary. Like mentioned previously, developing a concrete relationship with a client is critical, but building trust may take a few sessions. Do you trust someone right at first? Likely no from the start. You want to learn more about them, and they make that perception.
Having a plan of action after evaluating is vital in becoming the best coach! You may have thousands in movements in your library to program a client, but does the evaluation you administered to allow you to set your client up for success? Did you evaluate the right things? Let’s move forward like you can program appropriately with the information you collected. Don’t push your clients towards a cookie-cutter approach! Put your abilities and skills to the test. Think about the tools you have that can help your client grow further in their fitness and wellness journey. When it comes to the client’s program, structure their warm-ups with the intentions of the training session, and the primary components should address their needs and goals they noted. Becoming the best coach employs many belts, but stay with your comfort zones as a coach. A coach needs to be able to embrace the client's support system by motivating them and encouraging a life with reduced stress.
Now it’s time to put the plan of action for yourself. Earlier, you were to think about your needs as a coach and the future you anticipate. Are you looking to become a more educated coach? If so, how do you plan on achieving the knowledge you seek? Maybe you want to study for an academic degree in psychology. How will this psychology degree help you reach your anticipated plans? Or, perhaps you want to obtain another certification because you believe in the system and methodology, thus helping you deliver higher quality coaching services towards your clients. Now put it into a plan and go for it! Again, your goal here to become a better YOU. Put your evaluations into actions! It’s a tough task but do not back out.
Absorb the information needed to become the best coach!
Learning more information for yourself and about your client is the power that should not be underutilized. It takes one step to expand your mind. In the beginning, this article stated the importance of building relationships with clients to help steer the directions upon their path. In the learning portion, keep learning more about your client. Yes, building a relationship is wanted and needed, but now it’s time to make a friendship. Take the time to learn more about your client… what hobbies do they love, do they have a pet, what’s their favorite vacation, and millions of other things. There are so many things to learn about your client that can help your coaching process.
Continue to build your brainpower! The field of sports medicine is always growing, and in fact, it’s growing at an incredible rate. It seems like coaches are popping up all around and makes you think that the competition is getting higher. However, don’t think about others as your competitors, instead, think about them as your network in the industry. This is so important in the industry and growing your mind. The field is filled with a variety of leading experts and adds incredible value to our learning curve. Expand your network to broaden your methods and see through the lens of others. Don’t be bullheaded and one minded! Everyone has an opinion, you may not agree with it, and that is okay. Just make sure you stay humble and be a coach that wants to learn.
When it comes to coaching, being a coach that is client-centered is meaningful above all! When you receive a new client, take the time to follow the REAL coach acronym. Take the time to build a positive relationship, evaluate the necessary components, develop a plan of action that is useful, and learn more about your client. This will help you become a better coach! Oh, wait… the BEST coach!
In return, take the time to follow the REAL coach acronym for yourself. Enhance your surrounding relationships, evaluate your desires and needs, develop a plan of action that will elevate yourself, and keep expanding your mind for continued growth. To help your client, promoting yourself can be the most significant achievement. It’s all about being a REAL coach!
Coaching is a lifelong journey, and the experiences you are blessed to receive in your career are superior above all! Keep pushing towards becoming the BEST coach!
Deiorio, N. M., Carney, P. A., Kahl, L. E., Bonura, E. M., & Juve, A. M. (2016). Coaching: a new model for academic and career achievement. Medical education online, 21, 33480-33480.
Rooney, M. (2020). Coach to Coach: An Empowering Story about How to Be a Greater Leader: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Sheikh, M. M., Qayyum, R., & Panda, M. (2019). Relationship of Physicians' Rapport with Patients' Satisfaction and Psychological Well-being During Hospitalization. Cureus, 11(6), e4991-e4991.