Getting Clients to Stay on Track for Their Goals

Bob Wells | 24 Jul 2018

Once the initial excitement fades away, the real work begins.

How we continue this work once the aforementioned honeymoon period is over will help determine how successful our clients will ultimately be.

As we can all attest to, life ironically gets in the way of our clients improving their lives, especially when it comes to their health and fitness. At various junctures, they have all had too much work, been too tired or unmotivated, or simply not had enough time.

Short of swiping a time infinity stone, using Orson Welles’ time travel tech, or creating an energy pill with no side effects, there will always be barriers which we will have to help our clients overcome with creative and effective solutions.

One creative solutions to helping clients reach their health and fitness goals is to practice what Krista Scott-Dixon and Ryan Andrews term Awesomeness-Based Coaching, instead of Awfulness-Based Coaching.

Instead of simply being ‘Coach Hardass’, you know the drill Sargent type with a ‘no excuses’ and ‘take no prisoner’ type attitude, working collaboratively with the client yields the best results over the long-term.

Awesome-Based Coaching starts with coach and client working together to set appropriate goals. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals are considered the golden standard when it comes to goal setting. It is worth noting that a big part of that is helping your clients set meaningful goals for them.

Losing 30 pounds and eating right may be admirable goals, but if they don’t mean everything to your clients, it’s unlikely that they will stay on track for these goals.

We set these goals by exploring what matters most to our clients and what their overarching values are. Once we have helped them select the proper goals, we can then turn our focus to the next steps towards achieving those goals.

That next step is breaking those big goals down into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, your client’s goal may be to lose 100 lbs. Focusing on the larger goal can often be very depressing to a client, since it’s such a significant goal. Conversely, shifting the focus to a more manageable goal of 5-10 lbs. weight loss each month is more likely to inspire continued hope, faith, and consistency in their fitness journey.

Marie Martino of SLT and formerly of Equinox highlights the importance of consistency.

She says that for our clients, we need to “set a goal for weekly frequency of workouts and make sure they hit that.”

Martino goes on to say that “even if our clients aren’t feeling 100%, it’s better to show up and give what you got instead of skipping all together.”

Reframing our clients’ mindset from one focused on perfection to one focused on consistency can yield tremendous results. Being consistent builds the habits and skill necessary to keep clients on track to reach their health and fitness goals.

Also, as coaches, we need to monitor that progress towards goals appropriately, such as on a biweekly or monthly basis. Doing so will allow us to change course quickly, when necessary, with our programming. For example, if a client plateaus, it’s probably time to move on to the next block of training, even if your program calls for more time in that block.

Despite setting appropriate goals and doing regular check-ins, there will still be inevitable setbacks and disappointments, such as missing a body fat or weight loss goals...

How we navigate those setbacks will ultimately determine our clients’ success, as well as our own.

It is therefore crucial to acknowledge the immense difficulty of what the client is attempting to accomplish, to yourself and to the client. In many instances, they are going through a complete overhaul of their daily existence, such as from what and when they eat, to incorporating exercise into their daily schedule.

In addition to these aforementioned challenges, their loved ones may be sabotaging their efforts to change their lives, consciously or otherwise. As Fredo understood in the movie The Godfather II, ‘taking sides against the family’ is a tremendous task to undergo.

When we truly contemplate and understand such challenges of our clients, we can then best position ourselves better to help them navigate these challenges and ultimately reach all of their fitness goals, as well as earn another moniker for ourselves.

Coach Awesome.

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Bob Wells

About the author: Bob Wells

Bob Wells graduated from Duke University, where he studied Psychology and Biological Anthropology and Anatomy. He is the CEO and Founder of Bob Wells Fitness, and he is currently helping develop sports nutrition courses and material for multiple universities.

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