Your client has a goal. Perhaps, they’ve even shared it with you.. Great! But your job isn’t done yet. Check this out:
Client: “Hey Coach, I’ve decided I’m committed to losing 20 lbs.”
Trainer: “That’s great that you’ve set a goal! If I may ask, why is it that you want to lose 20 lbs?”
Client: “I need to look good for our summer trip!”
Trainer: “Okay, what do you envision yourself looking like?”
Client: “When I was younger, I was in track and I was strong and athletic. I need to get back to THAT body.”
Trainer: “That’s more specific. I want you to think about when you were in track. How did you feel?”
Client: “I felt great! I was fast and I was a part of a team. I actually met my spouse at a track meet and that’s part of the reason why my goal is to get back into shape. I want to feel attractive again and our summer vacation gives me a deadline.”
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. As you can see, this client is diving deeper and revealing what is truly on their mind – the “Why.” This kind of discovery typically happens when a coach asks the right questions.
Goals vs. Purpose
Having goals is very important, but tying them to a purpose is absolutely critical. As humans, we tend to procrastinate, lose motivation, and seek the path of least resistance. Putting time in the gym, having discipline, and sticking to a routine can be difficult when you do not tie your goals to a purpose.
If a client tells you that they want to lose weight so they can be active and play with their kids, you want to remind them on a daily basis WHY they are working out, WHY they are sweating, and WHY they are watching what they eat. They power of “Why” is rooted much more deeply than we think. Remind that client about the game of tag they will be able to play with their child, or running the bases, or whatever the visual is. Make it tangible for them – help them to see it.
You Must Be a Salesperson
The sales process doesn’t end when you close your client on their first training package. It doesn’t end when you sell them on their second training package. You are continually proving to your client that you and your services are worth more than the money they provide in exchange.
Your clients should continually stretch themselves to reach their goals that they set. As a trainer and coach, it is your job to SELL them on their goal. Connecting their goal with a motivating purpose makes that goal much more powerful. In closing a sale, you must convince someone that your product/service is more valuable than the price you ask. The same goes for selling someone on their goal. Is the attainment of the goal worth the labor? If you can show your client the answer is ‘Yes,’ they are more likely to stick to the plan. I find that this is more of an art than a science. Every individual is unique in this regard and their motives will be different.
When attaching a purpose to a goal, it takes empathy. Empathy is defined as “The ability to understand and share feelings with another.” Do your best to put yourself in your client’s shoes. Really try to understand what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way.
The more you understand, the more effective you will be as a coach. Typically, we tend to bark a lot of orders, but this is an opportunity for you to practice your effective listening skills. Goal setting and finding a purpose are meaningful conversations that you can have with your clients. You will need to work to earn their trust, but this process can strengthen your bond tremendously.