As a coach, I have a responsibility to my athletes and clients to know my stuff. They rely on me to be extremely knowledgeable in my field. Knowledgeable enough that I can present any theory to them in a clear, concise and easily digestible manner.
They consistently come to me with questions about training, nutrition, habit-formation and lifestyle factors. And although I could easily bluff my way through the minefield of their questions, as many do, it would question my integrity to do so.
If I was ok to perform my job to the level far below the best of my ability, rather than provide my clients with accurate information and valuable guidance, then ultimately my business would be unsustainable. You see, success in this industry requires that you assist meaningful change in your clients lives. If you genuinely help them, then they will be more likely to; 1. Stick around, 2. Speak well of you to others. If you constantly churn out new clients like there’s no tomorrow, then your business is dependent on the success of your marketing tactics, and will fail to sustain itself in the long-term.
You see, people have an innate ability to spot bullshit from a mile away. They can spot the people that genuinely care about others, and they can spot the people that are just looking to make a quick buck.
Those that genuinely care, will always keep in mind the long-term development of their clients, as well as the long-term impact that they, themselves, can have on them. If we only focus on the here and now, then that client is going to become continually dependent on you as a coach. If they’re continually dependent on you, then the moment they leave your care, is the moment that they fall back to their old ways.
If they decide to stay with you because they can’t do it without you, then I would argue that you’re not really making a real difference to their long-term health and performance. Although you enjoy working with them, you can’t work with them forever. You fail to help your clients to take ownership of their own health and performance, and you fail to make sustainable and meaningful change.
So then, this is why knowledge really is power, and it is why I always focus on education and learning as part of my client-coaching process. The client needs to understand the why behind the tasks and behaviours that we implement together. If they understand the why, then they are going to be more likely to perform the tasks with maximal intent, and also see the value in their implementation.
You transfer the power from yourself to your client. Give them the power to take ownership of their own lives. As long as they feel you can still add value to what they’re doing, they will be both grateful and more likely to stick around for another block of training and education.
Now, not every client that comes through the door is going to be comfortable with the depth of information you offer, nor the level of autonomy you bestow upon them. That is why it is important to be able to adapt your system to meet the client’s needs.
For the ones that eat up any and all information, give them the extra content, give them the webinars, and give them the detailed breakdown of the science. But always be conscious of not giving them so much information, that they end up diluting their focus in the areas where they should be doubling down.
But for the ones that aren’t interested in all this additional information, it’s important to not try to fit a square peg in a round hole. You absolutely must explain to them the why behind the agreed-upon program, to create buy-in. But don’t bore them with the detailed analysis. This is where you have to forgo the intricacies, make it clear and concise, and present it in a language that they understand. Drip feed them the information, and they won’t even realize how much their learning whilst they do so. Slowly but surely, you’ll equip them with the necessary tools to look after themselves.
Once a client understands how to work on themselves by themselves, that’s when you’ve finally made your breakthrough. That’s when you’ve truly helped them. That’s when their newly-developed knowledge has given them power over their own health and performance.