I’ve browsed some of the posts here and I’ve seen the language “My client has to want it more than I do,” used in a few of the posts. What does this mean, specifically? Why do you use this phrase in particular? It seems to refer to motivation — my client has to be motivated. Do you feel it’s a situation you get trapped in if your client is unmotivated? I think it’s a curious way of saying something and I’d like to understand the concept that this phrase describes. Thanks!
Is this part of client selection? Would you reject a client who doesn’t “want it” enough? How do you as a personal trainer work with a client’s (possibly fluctuating) levels of motivation and commitment to their program and goals?
Harris and Nancy gave excellent answers.
When a client approaches me for personal training, I do not make a selection based on whether or not I think that client may be less than motivated. It certainly happens when somebody approaches at the urging of another person, be it spouse or doctor. Sometimes it is possible to ignite the spark, and what was initially extrinsic motivation becomes intrinsic.
It also happens that the spark never ignites despite best efforts. Most clients then usually fade away but there are instances when people still continue. They often recognize (grudgingly) the importance of exercise to them but know that they would never do it on their own. It is not the inspiring situation for me a a personal trainer; yet I know that I am doing this for the benefit of the client, and thus the relationship continues as long as the clients wants it.
Harris explained it very well. Here’s my take.
Hiring a trainer, in and of itself, isn’t enough to get results.
Having goals, in and of themselves, isn’t enough to get results.
Coming to a session with me, alone, isn’t enough to get results.
(I define “results” based on client’s definition – some are function based, some are weight based, some are aesthetic)
There’s a level of effort required within a training session – HARD WORK that’s needed. In your experience with group-ex, I’m sure you’ve noticed that some people work very hard in class and others barely wiggle, even though everyone gets the same encouragement. It’s possible to work to less than one’s potential in a one-on-one training session as well.
Even more than that because we can’t be with our clients all of the time, is a level of compliance during the hours they’re not training with us.
I want my clients to succeed. I’m passionate about what I do. But me wanting it for them doesn’t mean a thing if they don’t have the motivation to do the work.
Would I fire a client for not being motivated? Not really, no. Clients who aren’t motivated tend to fire themselves. They stop coming, or they don’t renew. But I prefer that not happen. When I see a client is having a down day, or a couple of down workouts in a row, that’s the time to address their motivation. NOT on their last session of a package.
When the client is ready to hire a trainer, he/she is usually ready to take the next step (which is the toughest one). Once this person has become your client, you will need to keep him/her motivated enough to continue training and engaged until the goals have been reached. If the client is ready to do some personal training then a big part of our job is done because it means that he/she is ready to commit (most of the times). And when the client wants it more than we do, then they are more acceptable to our suggestions, recommendations and help.
There will be moments when the client might want to either quit or take a step backwards. This is the reason why we as trainers need to start building a strong relationship with the client so they will not lose their confidence in us. If our relationship with them has strong foundation, then we will be able to help them during the difficult moments and keep them motivated enough to continue with their progress. If this part is missing, then the risk of them breaking away is high. I always believed that working on their confidence and their minds is very essential and it’s the hardest thing to do. Even if they are the ones who want it more, there will be a time when doubt could start invading their minds and make them lose their motivation and confidence.
For the majority of our clients putting a program together is the easy part of personal training. The toughest thing is to change the way they think, even when they say “they want it more than we do” :-)…