Why ego is the enemy of great fitness coaching... and how to avoid it.
Fitness is big business. In the last 10 years we have seen a flooding of the market with fitness professionals, new classes and new training options popping up in every town and village in the country. And with winter approaching, the rush for classes and new programmes is well underway.
Social media has been taken over with instructors and coaches promoting various services and it can be quite confusing for the average Joe Soap to know where best to invest their hard earned money.
While social media is great to a point I’ve seen a trend occurring a little bit which worries me. Fitness and training is so in vogue at the moment that we’re seeing all sorts of fitness professionals gaining big followings online.
In many cases I think quite a few people working in the industry have lost sight of why we’re there. It’s become about them. It’s become about who has the biggest following. It’s become about who can post a video of themselves doing the most extreme exercises. It’s become about who’s the coolest.
A good Personal Trainer/Coach will always make the session about the client. We’re there to improve and help every client we meet. There’s no room for egos.
I’ve seen my share of instructors who go into a studio and the class is all about them. They shout for the sake of shouting, they push people to extreme levels, they want to be “the man” or “the woman’.
The reality is their numbers usually drop pretty quickly.
A good coach will motivate and encourage you. It’s not about roaring at people to do things, it’s about getting the best out of them. Supporting them on their journey.
Yes you’ll push them but you’ll also be able to recognise when they’re doing their best and when they need rest. When young instructors ask me for advice I always tell them “leave your ego at the door, it’s not about you”.
And it’s not even about the training aspect. A good coach will build the confidence of the client, through constant support and encouragement. A good coach will help the client reach their potential, open their eyes to what they are capable of. In many cases the client will reach levels they never thought they were capable of achieving. And that’s not just in a training environment. Advancements in self-esteem are transferable to everyday life. A good coach can literally change a person’s life and how they perceive their surroundings and circumstances.
This doesn’t just apply to the adult environment. Something that concerns me greatly is the “win at all costs” approach we see applied to children’s sports. It’s not a new thing. It was there when I was growing up and I still think it’s there to a large degree now.
Of course there are brilliant coaches out there. But there are also coaches who put winning ahead of the development of the child. Too often we see cases where the same child is on the subs bench every week, sometimes not getting any game time.
Maybe they’re deemed as being too small, too weak, or “not good enough”? How do they become good enough if they are never given the chance to play? How do they develop confidence if coaches show no confidence in them?
And why to coaches put the result above the development of that child? The answer Ego. They want to be seen as the manager of a winning team.
A good coach leads by example and helps the client become the best version of themselves, be that at adult level or youth level.
Maybe it’s time for our fitness professionals to reassess. Remember why we’re working as fitness professionals. Let’s make the client number one again.