Finding the Balance (Coach/Client Relationship)

I've coached many types of athletes, people (young, middle age, older), recreational lifters and competitors.  Each person is so very different in personality, needs and psychology.

While I am not a psychologist, being in the industry for 20+ years, I've learned so much about people's behaviors and attitudes.

What makes some people tick and others shrink back?

Why does being harder on one person make them push more, but another person makes them unresponsive?

Why do some people need more cheerleading and others it does nothing for them?

I love the psychology aspect of it all, and I especially love figuring people out as we go.

I recently had a client who I knew was nervous to start training.  She lived further away so everything was done remotely.  She was also dealing with some medical stuff that caused painful knees and inflammation. Tack on the pandemic, working from home, feeling stressed as work seemed to call on her every hour of the day and getting more and more discouraged as she slowly gained weight.

After a phone call and some encouragement, I created a program specifically designed for her. A week went by and I hadn't heard from her. So I emailed her.  She said he hadn't started yet, but was hoping to start soon. (Work was crazy.)

Another week went by and I didn't hear from her.  So I sent her another email. No response.  A few days later, another email.  Nothing. So I sent a DM on Instagram.  After a few days she finally replied...

"I haven't started yet.  Work has been crazy. They seem to think since I'm working at home, I am available 24/7.  This project will be done mid June and then things will slow down. I really want to be healthy with this pandemic going on, but I'm just so tired at the end of a work day."

Here is where, as a coach, I take this one of two directions. The first time, I veered right... calm, friendly, understanding response. This time, I veered a little left... understanding, yes, but seeing through some excuses.

When you can hear someone's pain (physical and emotional) through their words, you have to help them see the bigger WHY.  I know she's frustrated. I know she's scared. I know she feels overwhelmed.  I also know that just starting with something will help her so much mentally.

"Sounds like work is crazy right now.  Do you think maybe you can do the first 2-3 exercises for that day rather than feeling overwhelmed to do the whole thing? Maybe 10 minutes before you log into work?  I know there is a lot going on right now, but let me know how I can help you and encourage you.  In all reality, life is never really going to slow down. That's why so many people end up putting it off. I am confident you can start with 10 minutes.  Let's see if we can do that for a week and let me know how it goes!"

Meeting them where they are at.  Knowing when to push past the excuses. Listen and respond accordingly.  Completing all three hour long workouts was not possible.  At least from what I was gathering in our conversations.  But as a coach, I wasn't just going to let yet another month go by without doing anything.  Walk, do some pushups, find a way to get out of the comfort zone.

This type of mentality carries over into so many other areas of life.  This isn't about weight loss.  It's not about me as a coach making someone else do something. It's about empowering them to see the bigger picture and to show them that they are capable of taking one step at a time.

What are some things you've done to keep going when life has seemed overwhelming?

How do you know the difference between real life issues and excuses?

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