To Be a Good trainer, You First Need to be a Good Person (Part 1)
by: Daniel Lucchini
Success as a trainer is not found in doing something for the client, but rather in being someone for the client. A lot of us enter the health and fitness industry because of a passion for training and helping others. We think if we do the right courses and write the perfect programs we will change the lives of many. However, if we neglect the development of our own personal qualities as humans we will fall horribly short of any good intentions we have.
To be a good trainer we need a range of general and specific qualities that will contribute to our personal, relational and technical abilities.
Intelligence – there is no stepping around the fact you need a reasonable level of intelligence. You need to be able to comprehend and grasp various theories and techniques to apply them in a meaningful way towards the individual in front of you. You must be able to understand the challenges, goals and presentations of the client in front of you to decide whether you need to add complexity or simplify the process. In order to maximize your intelligence it is important to devote time to study and practice, understand how you learn most effectively and seek out feedback on your knowledge.
Memory – You require a reasonable memory to remember the elements of intelligence presented above, as well as for remembering the important details of a number of clients that you work with. By remembering details about your clients they will feel respected and valued by you. To aid in this process it is important to listen intently, ask for confirmation on your understanding and take notes where appropriate.
Respect for others – This is at the centre of all aspects of life, but pertains heavily to any person-to-person based work. This means being aware of your biases and prejudices and not judging someone negatively because they differ from you. This may involve openly acknowledging your differences in a respectful and positive way. This is also critical as it relates to confidentiality.
Initiative – You must be willing to work autonomously. No matter how detailed your understanding of a framework or system, within a training session/ongoing sessions you will constantly need to make decisions to ensure things are moving in the right direction. This involves confidence in the process which involves adequate training, intelligence and memory as well as a flexible mindset
Tolerance – Your clients won’t always listen to you, they won’t always do their homework and they sure as hell won’t always want to be there. Being able to demonstrate tolerance is essential in maintaining engagement and as a pillar of support for your client. There will be times you need to let your clients makes their own choices, even if you don’t believe they are making the right ones. In saying that, at other times you will need to be comfortable in being directive and decisive.
Perseverance and stamina – Not every client reaches their goals in the first four weeks, for some it may take months or years to become applied to the process. They may frequently present with training and non-training related problems and this requires a certain level of stamina. Maintaining your own state of mind so you can present yourself appropriately not just for that session, but the other sessions in your schedule is paramount. Stamina is also important towards your active enrolment in the continued process of education and training. In order to develop and maintain your stamina it is important to have a supervisor or colleague you can discuss problems with as well as an appropriate self care routine. How many times has your own physical health been affected because of workload? Consider your own health and set appropriate boundaries to ensure you can have the stamina to be an effective trainer.
Continued in Part 2