I had a couple come in together to talk to me about lecturing them. I was wondering how does a trainer motivate their clients to complete challenges on their own without feeling like their trainer is lecturing them? I felt awful that they had a terrible week because they wanted to be defiant and do exactly the opposite of what I was saying. They felt I was just telling them that they were wrong and they had to do things my way. That wasn’t my intention to make them feel bad for being themselves. I felt, on the other hand, that I was giving them ideas for how to plan out their week. Am I doing something wrong?
I would really suggest you consider taking a course on coaching.
It is really difficult to give you the perfect answer because the situation is complex.
I will say that people don’t resist change, however, they resist being changed. Folks don’t like to be told what to do. So if your approach doesn’t give them the freedom to make their own choices it will appear as if you are lecturing them.
Read up on motivation interviewing, the transtheoretical model stages of change as well as appreciative inquiry. It will do much to assist you in helping your clients to adopt life-promoting habits.
All the best to you.
Ask some questions before hand like…how has your week been, any new stressors, etc etc to get a feel for how the client is feeling that day.
We’re not just here to make people work out, personal training is very personal to say the least. Asking questions and getting a genuine feel for what that client is going through is an important part of what we do. Of course we’re not counselors but sometimes an ear to listen to can do wonders and put that client in a good place for that session.
Everyone one of us has an “off day” and regular life can sometimes get the best of us. I like to have a recap at the end of the session asking the client what he/she liked/didn’t like and suggestions for improvement. Remember we as fitness professionals have already taken the step to a healthy lifestyle, our clients need to start or continue that journey and we’re here to help them.
Hello Caitlin Anderson,
I have been learning much about how to motivate through the “ACE Health Coach” kit. It is the motivational interviewing which would help greatly in a situation like this.
You are lucky the clients feel close enough to you to tell you the truth. Every relationship can be fixed; so, use this opportunity to your advantage. I am sure you and your clients will connect better after getting through this awkward time.