I immediately say that I consider the behavior inappropriate, and I do it in such a way that it is understood that one more incidence like that will terminate the relationship.
It is important to make that clear immediately. If you feel that you were so taken aback that you did not say anything at the time, you can still open the next meeting with a statement like: “Last time, when you did …., it made me feel …….. but I was too surprised to say something at the time. I would not be comfortable to continue to train you if that happens again.”
This gives the person a chance to reconsider his/her behavior, and he/she will know the consequences.
Whatever it was: if you are uncomfortable with it, you are under no obligation to put up with it.
Hi Beatriz. I agree with Karin that it is best to address the inappropriate behavior sooner rather than later. I agree that sometimes in the ‘heat of the moment’ we don’t react to certain situations, but in any event, it’s best to address it head-on the next time we get together with the client. Giving the client the benefit of the doubt (in not automatically assuming that the client knows that they’ve made you feel uneasy – particularly when it resulted from indirect actions such as how they looked at you) may be a good initial strategy in addressing the issue with your client. Sometimes, we can be off-put by something that on its face is innocent behavior. However, that being said, this does NOT mean that you should nor need to train or work with anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable working with them, for any reason. i once ‘fired a client’ who continued to imply that we should go out on a date together and would not get ‘the hint’ when I laughed it off, or later said a direct “no.”
In any personal training situation both the client and the trainer need to feel comfortable and safe.
I hope that this helps.
now that you have explained some of the sources of your discomfort, I would suggest an additional option. You mention that you feel that clients stare at you. This is difficult to address when you are an instructor demonstrating exercises because you expect to look at you; unless they are truly staring at your breasts.
You can try to diffuse a situation like that by asking something like: “I notice you keep looking at ….. Please tell me if you see something wrong.” This will put the burden to explain on them and you can then ask them to stop with an easy explanation. “You are making me very self-conscious.” That way you have given words to ‘looks’ and have put the person on notice.
I wish you good luck with your new studio.
I would have a conversation with the person, I would make sure I keep my professionalism and maintain a professional relationship at all times with my client. I would review my behavior and make sure I am not putting out any vibes that are being mis interpreted.
I would not be alone wilth this client, and may refer them to someone else, I would ask another trainer to evaluate one of the sessions with this client and get other opinions.
Listen to your gut!