Personal Fitness Professional - September 2008 - (Page 28)

Life Coaching 101 Key concepts in connecting and motivating your clients By Carolyn Scarborough If following a set of instructions was all people needed to get fit, we’d all be in our living rooms watching leotard-clad instructors on television. After all, toning up this way is cheap and convenient, and you can always grab an iced drink from the kitchen between sets. But we humans are a mite more complex than that. Getting in the way of that perfect scenario are all those creative obstacles we think up. We procrastinate, fall prey to limiting beliefs and break our promises. So when a client finally pulls it together and hires a trainer, it takes more than barking out instructions to help them succeed. Fitness trainers who use life coaching skills add that extra ingredient to help melt resistance people have to staying on track with their programs and reaching their goals. Listen Actively What people crave is the opposite of more input; they want to be heard. Really heard. If you’re always trying to impress clients by being the “expert,” you’re simply churning out more information and missing an opportunity to offer them what they really need. Start by quieting the chatter in your own head so you can more clearly hear what they’re trying to express. Reflect back what they say in different words so they know they’ve been heard. And listen without judgment. When you judge, people close down. An unbiased atmosphere offers them a safe space to explore new areas, which may be just the thing to get them past a mental block and into untapped possibilities. Good listening is actively trying to understand what your client is saying and feeling at a deep level. Although they may be talking about how they spend a lot of time driving their children to activities, if you’re really listening, you may detect a frustration that they don’t keep up with their own fitness needs enough because they’re depleted from always doing for others. Helping them discover what can refuel them may increase their energy, both at home and in the gym. Don’t make any assumption or lead the client towards this conclusion. Just listen, ask further questions, and let their inner guidance take over. Another powerful way of listening is coming from your heart, not your head. A client may tell you that their mother died at the same age they are now, and they fear that without getting fit, they may suffer the same end. Listening with your heart heals and transforms the situation. Ask Powerful Questions Powerful questions flow directly from powerful listening. Remember that you’re not the source of information dispensing questions that you already know the answers to. Instead, encourage them to tap into their own wisdom to find the answers. For instance, you notice that your client has hit a plateau. Don’t assume anything, including that they want to go beyond their plateau. For all you know, this “resting” feels right for them. You could start with something like, “Are you feeling on track with where you want to be right now?” If they say yes, the conversation will go one way. Perhaps they will respond that they’re frustrated with lack of movement, but they’ve lost interest in pushing further. Here, a good coach doesn’t grill or judge. Lightly ask a question that will evoke discovery or insight. Keep the question in the present moment. Perhaps you will explore with them what they mean by “pushing further.” Or you could ask them to simply tell you more about it, at which point you may glean some information to ask further questions. Again, the important thing is to stay in the dance with your client and let them take the lead. With each step they make, you follow. 28 SEPTEMBER2008 · WWW.FIT-PRO.COM http://WWW.FIT-PRO.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Personal Fitness Professional - September 2008

Personal Fitness Professional - September 2008
Letter from the Editor, Writers
Adding Pilates and Yoga to Your Clients' Workouts
Combating Youth Obesity
Prescription for Success
NEW! The Balancing Act
Technical Necessities
Product Profiles
Current Controversies
Mark Your Calendar
Coaching Your Client's Diet
Life Coaching 101
Exercise Spotlight
Product Profiles
New on the Market
[Spotlight] Gregg Miehle

Personal Fitness Professional - September 2008