That is a good question and definitely a fair one to ask of any fitness professional. I would have to agree with all those that have responded to your question prior to my answer. Education, professionalism, patience, “practicing what you preach”, and experience all are important and create the essential background for a good personal trainer. In addition to all those elements, I believe what makes a personal trainer effective to you is the skill of listening. I feel that anyone can achieve all those prior elements I have mentioned, but listening to a client’s needs and goals is what will determine the right personal trainer for you. Listening to the client’s goals, needs, and limitations and having the ability to apply a trainer’s knowledge, skills, and experience to a personal customized program for you makes a good personal trainer for that client. My advice to you is before committing to that personal trainer make sure you research the trainer’s background(education/certification and experience) as well as making sure that trainer is listening to you. Meet with that trainer prior to training and discuss your goals and limitations with them. Before you decide that’s the trainer for you; have the trainer paraphrase your goals and limitations back to you so that you know you are both on the same page before training. Good luck to you.