As clichéd as it may sound, there is a distinct difference between a physical trainer & a coach or a mentor. For those who refer to me as a physical trainer – No, thanks. I am not a trainer.. A trainer is someone who largely operates by experience who is dependent on their subject matter expertise whereas a coach is much more beyond that.
All of us need coaches in life. It may not be related to fitness but all of us have someone in our life, whom we can depend on for advice or look up to as a mentor to grow in life. In terms of fitness, while there are so many pseudo –coaches/trainers out there in the industry, which is not really a point of concern for me, below are some of the key aspects that a coach requires, according to me.
While a particular plan might have given results to an individual, as a coach, it is highly essential to understand that there is NO ONE FIT ALL plan. The program depends on various factors such as origin,, gene, eating habits, stress levels, availability , goals, experience etc. to state a few. It is very important to customise the program based on the individual’s goal & level of expertise
If your coach uses the same plan across the entire group, its time to RUN AWAY
Talk Less, Listen More, Observe More!!
For a long time, I was always keen on putting my viewpoint across. It took me a while to figure out that understanding the perspective of the mentee is so crucial for the success of the program. As i always say, it does not matter if the coach is highly skilled or if the mentee is dedicated and consistent. 2 way Communication is the most important factor for the success of the program,to achieve the desired results
If your coach does not interact with you on a regular basis, its time to RUN AWAY!
Improvement in fitness is never linear. People are not robots to follow a plan blindly without stopping. Everyone goes through ups & downs in life with their personal/professional livesAs a coach, it is very important to understand the situation of the mentee & stay with them during tough times & help them to get them back on track. Never aim for perfection. Aim to get better everyday incrementally (slow & steady)
If you have had a lot of uneasy conversations with your coach, its time to RUN AWAY!
While it is good to show results in the short term, it is very important to understand the strengths & limitations of the mentee & have an action plan with a realistic timeline. This is why I never offer any 30 day weight loss challenge or a 4 week marathon plan. As a coach, it will definitely take at least 3-4 weeks to understand the mentee, their schedule, their food eating patterns, recovery, sleep etc. Understanding the goals (short-term & long-term) of everyone is highly critical in order to have a sustainable training plan, that will help them stay motivated.
If your coach tries to push her/his goals on you, its time to RUN AWAY!
As a coach, I have always believed that my biggest goal is make all my mentees self-reliant. I not only emphasize on what to do but also WHY. I encourage all my mentees to ask questions, understand why a particular program/workout has to be done. It keeps me on my toes & pushes me to learn more everyday
If your coach blindly asks you to follow something, its time to RUN AWAY!
6.SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE
It is highly recommended to have a solid foundational knowledge on the particular field of fitness, as the program will thrive on this knowledge. It is also very important to constantly stay updated on the current trends of fitness. While a certification is not necessary to be a good Coach, it definitely adds to the credibility of one. At the same time, having multiple certifications need not necessarily make one, a good coach.
While the above stated points may hold good for all coaches, below 2 points have worked extremely well for me
Trust is the premise of my coaching & the moment someone trusts me & my abilities, I go out of my way to ensure that I get things done for all my mentees & hence the tagline TRUST, TRAIN & TRANSFORM
MONEY IS NEVER A PRIOTITY
While it is good to be in the field of fitness to generate revenue, Money has never been a priority to me. This has helped me to keep the passion for the sport alive. I do not mean to say that one has to offer services on a pro bono basis but when the focus is on helping someone to lead a sustainable healthy lifestyle or to transform someone completely & the revenue becomes secondary
As one of my coaches would put it perfectly
As a coach, I won’t
Try to fix
Offer any advice
Tell you what to do
Pretend I know more than you
Assume what’s best for you
As a coach, I WILL
Supporting you in figuring out what you want
Accept that I dont know everything
Understand that you know what’s best for you
Collaborate with you to achieve your goals
The only thing I will insist on, is to stay committed & give your best every time