If you’re working with a trainer or an online coach, or if you’re thinking about hiring one, there are some things you can do to get the most out of your investment of time and money.
Ultimately, I believe it is the responsibility of the coach/trainer to make the experience valuable for the client.
But that said, I’ve also seen a lot of people self-sabotage the experience and use it as evidence that it’s impossible for them to change. That breaks my teacher-heart. Helping someone avoid that is my motivation for writing this blog post.
It can be scary to ask for help. These tips are intended to empower you to make it the best experience you can with the variables you control.
This is me and I didn’t do this alone. I’ve been working with coaches for 10 years. And now that I’ve retired from teaching, I am also a coach.
Tip 1: Be willing to go outside your comfort zone.
I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. At some point, something will be asked that is necessary for you to do to make progress and you won’t like it.
If it’s safe, and there is no other reason to NOT do it besides your emotional discomfort because you’re being challenged – give it a shot.
For example, as a coach, I sometimes get resistance when I ask a woman to eat more. I know how it feels. I was skeptical, too. Why “eating more” is a solid piece of advice will be left hanging here as a topic for a future blog. It’s something that is safe, but emotionally uncomfortable when you are first asked to do it.
To get outside your comfort zone…
be ambitious about you can accomplish
be committed to change
surrender control and follow directions
I’m not suggesting you be unsafe, but let’s be face it – if you’re a woman over 40, we’ve been told to be “realistic” one too many times. Many of us doubt what we can do fitness-wise. We are wary to set bold goals because we might look foolish.
And a bunch of us like to be in control because that’s how we avoid catastrophic events in the other areas of our lives.
All of this can make us our own worst enemy when it comes to having a successful working relationship with a trainer or coach.
Tip 2: Be open. Say what you need to say.
Don’t need to be overly negative, but you aren’t expected to be “perfect”. Tell your coach how you feel. If you sandbag it, it can become too much to handle and you might quit. (This is my issue as a client. I don’t want to be a “bother”. Raised by martyrs.)
Tip 3: Welcome tough feedback.
Remember – your coach wants you to improve. They may not be the most diplomatic when delivering the tough feedback, so listen to what is said, not how it’s said.
It’s a good idea to ask for tough feedback, too.
My personal experience with my coach is that he respects his elders and delivering tough feedback to me (older than his mom) was awkward. Neither of us realized this was an underlying issue, but after years of coaching we had a trust level that allowed for us to work through it.
Tip 4: Be willing to learn.
Be humble and open to all the new stuff you’re about to learn. The fear of failure can become an issue now. Our ego protects us from looking stupid by talking us out of doing new things. Check your ego.
Surrender control (again).
We are accomplished adults in the real world. We know things. We have wisdom gained from our experiences.
And here’s this person we don’t really know that well telling us to “eat more” – or whatever it is we doubt will work. Just set aside the ego and welcome the new idea because it’s probably the right thing to do.
Tip 5: Be willing to work the program.
Again, seems obvious. But it needs to be said because life has a way of taking us off track.
Your trainer/coach wants you to be successful, but they aren’t doing it – you are. These are your goals. The coach provides structure, accountability, advice, and feedback.
But if you’re not doing the program, it won’t work.
I have to be honest – this wasn’t my issue as a client. My apporach was to work the programs and if they weren’t working, we could have that conversation and make adjustments.
If you’re willing to work, you can get results. If you’re not, the best coach can’t help you. Save your $$$.
Tip 6: Squeeze EVERYTHING you can from your sessions.
Be prepared – have everything ready you’re supposed to have ready. If you’re working with a trainer, that may mean to bring your log book or maybe even watch video tutorials about movements. If you’re working with an online coach, that means to keep your data current on the tool they are using to communicate back and forth.
Be on time (or early) for your sessions. You’re paying for their time so be there for every minute.
Minimize distractions as much as possible. That’s also a red flag for you if your trainer or coach is consistently distracted during your session.
I sincerely hope you found at least one of these tips valuable. Hiring a coach or trainer is a big investment finacially and an investement another valuable resource – time. If you and your trainer/coach aren’t “clicking”, that’s a different issue. But occasionally, the coach isn’t the problem* and we can fix the situation ourselves with a little reflection.
*My coach Alberto Nunez and I backstage at one of my shows. We’ve worked together for 6 years at the time of this writing.
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Coach Tammy became an athlete in her 50’s and is passionate about helping other busy adults transform their health. Each individual has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that have to be used to shape a program that will work. Science-based principles, flexibility, accountability, and support make all the difference. If you want to learn more about her online coaching programs, click here.