Over the last decade that I have been active in the health and fitness industry, I have seen social media explode with new personal trainers and coaches come forward. I’ve never been one to see others as competition, as I believe that this benefits everyone involved. However, what I have seen along with this growth and exposure, are some of the negative attitudes towards helping people. Let me give you an example of this.
As I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my brand (Evolved Athletix), I was joining quite a few marketing and branding groups, as well as attending an assortment of conference calls with the hopes that I could figure out a more definitive direction for my wayward company. On these calls and in the groups, one thing became abundantly clear, the only thing people were worried about was how to maximize the most money out of each of their clients.
Now, I realize that this was marketing and branding, and the goal is to make money, but the basis of of their job was to help people not extort money from them. Some of the talk rotated around getting their clients into complicated diets and training routines because it would cause them to continue paying for coaching. Some of the talk also included selling their clients expensive supplements for their complicated and restrictive regimes. But, what most of them agreed on was that if a potential client approached them and was ambivalent in wanting to pay for services, you shouldn’t pick them up as a client. They patted each other on the back by saying things like “well if they don’t want to pay, then they don’t want it bad enough”.
This kind of conversation was extremely disheartening to hear. You see, if you call yourself a coach, then that means helping people through sticking points, even if that means helping them through things that aren’t physical. I’m sure I don’t share this sentiment, but as health and fitness professionals, we should be helping people to lead healthier lives for their duration of their life, not for as long as they can keep paying us.
Before I move on, let me make one thing perfectly clear, I understand that you can’t run a business with non-performing clients. I also understand that not every professional is going to have the skill set to handle more complicated clients, especially those that are still in the precontemplation or contemplation stage. It should also be pointed out that not everyone is going to show up and be 100% every time. Most people are going to need encouragement, validation, and dare I say, empathy.
As health and fitness professionals, we have to show some empathy to those that are seeking help. Most people are going to need time to learn, understand, and be able to repeat what they have learned. We can’t rush these things and contrary to popular belief, when someone is struggling, it doesn’t mean they are not motivated or “just don’t want it bad enough”, it means that they need our help to learn how to work through their struggle, regardless of what it is.
And for those that are reading this, that aren’t health and fitness professionals, let me just say that if you’ve ever been turned away from a trainer or coach, there are better ones out there. The unfortunate thing would have been, if they would have taken you on and would have delivered sub par work because they weren’t sure how to help you through what you needed help with.
I’m sure I will talk about this more in the future, but in the meantime, I want to hear what you have to say.