Today's guest post comes from a friend of mine Jim Ferris. Besides having the best hair in the fitness industry, Jim is someone I look up to as a coach and a person because of his passion, hustle, and desire to excel at his craft. There are a lot of good lessons to be learned in this article, so read up and enjoy!
So...you want to be a strength coach, performance coach, and/or personal trainer.
Seeing as you're here reading this article, I'm going to assume you don't just want to be "another coach." You probably want to be "the coach"--the guy or girl people come to for help because they know you can deliver.
As awesome as it would be to wake up every morning and just piss excellence, it doesn't happen that way. The journey to becoming a great coach takes years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice on your part.
Before we get into how you can become a better coach, I'd like to tell you a little about myself.
I've been working in the fitness industry now for over 14 years.
Over that time I've been based throughout Philadelphia, and worked for both a private company and myself.
Along the way, I've had the opportunity to wear many different hats. Including:
NBA strength consultant with the Philadelphia 76ers
Assistant strength coach with Saint Joeʼs University athletics with majority of my time being spent assisting men's and womenʼs basketball.
And In 2009 I decided to take an opportunity to work for myself and build my own brand.
As I continue to train and develop trainers over the years, I'm always throwing quotes at them to inspire them and make them think.
I'm big into the motivation, hustle, and pride that comes with being a great coach because we as coaches have a chance to impact lives.
For that reason, how we show up and present ourselves to whomever we are working with is a big deal, and something we should all take seriously.
Furthermore, never take anything for granted in this field. It is a blessing to do this for a career, and you have to show up every day ready to be your best.
To help you along your coaching journey, here are 5 quotes that I've used with myself, interns, and other coaches with great success.
“Your 5pm session does not care that you had a 5am session. Show Up. No excuses. "
You are providing a service.
The service should be the same high quality service no matter what hour of the day it is.
When you walk into the gym, leave your personal problems at the door, and give that client the best session you can give them.
The client is paying you the same as everyone else. If you cant handle it, then give them a refund or refer them to a coach that can give them what they're paying for.
“You are supposed to be an expert. Act like one.”
Believe it or not, clients look at you to be an expert. Actually they pay you as well, so I think it's important to know what you're talking about.
Sometimes clients can stump you with a question. It has happened to all of us. It is OK!!!
Just don't lie to them or make something up. It drives me nuts when I overhear a coach just bs-ing someone with absolute garbage.
Clients believe what you are telling them!!! If you don't know the answer, simply tell them you will email them an answer, or better yet, an article you have on the topic.
Here's the bottom line: get them the right answer no matter what.
“Train as if you are in front of a live studio audience”
Lets face it. Everybody turns it up a notch when the spotlight is on. As a trainer/coach, however, we're not always in the spotlight, and it can become easy to get in a funk.
For example, a trainer that's sitting down (in a lazy lounging position) during their 6am session staring at his or her cell phone as clients just go through the motions should never happen.
A trainer and the word lazy should never, ever go together!
If so, fire yourself and move onto something else.
Pay attention to the habits you develop as you coach and get rid of the bad ones.
This is where having another quality coach around plays a big role. He or she can be there to call you out, give you a heads up, and/or provide you with feedback on how you could have made that session better.
Moral of the story: be accountable for your actions.
“Be bulletproof in all that you do”
From the program design to how the session was run:
Can you defend it? Is it bulletproof?
I love the “W” questions. I play this game a lot with coaches because I believe it keeps you sharp and prevents cookie cutter tendencies.
Why are we doing this vs that?
When do we do this?
What is this doing exactly?
Several others can be added to this as well, so give it a try.
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best”
This is one of my mom-momʼs (grandmom) all-time favorite quotes, and it personally keeps me on my toes. I actually have it written in my continuing education notebook to serve as a daily reminder to seek out ways to get better because I'm a firm believer that coaches should always be reading, practicing, and finding ways to sharpen their skill set.
Never settle. Always find a way to progress and become a better coach.
about the author
Jim Ferris is a Philadelphia based trainer whose clientele includes professional athletes, local teams, everyday fitness enthusiasts, and maybe a celebrity or two depending on who is in town. Jim is known for his work in the basketball community from training with the Philadelphia 76ers for many years and training several NBA players that live their offseason in the Philadelphia area. Jim’s expertise in the training field, along with his dynamic and creative training style keeps players, coaches and clients coming back year after year.