I have found that these are the most common reasons why some trainers are not performing: lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, lack of recognition and lack of personalized motivation (you as a manager/owner knowing what specifically motivates them).

Lack of knowledge.

The number-one reason why trainers don’t meet expectations is lack of knowledge—not about the profession or the industry but about their company’s culture, goals and expectations. Are these made clear to your trainers during the hiring process and continually communicated to them on a regular basis? If not, you are setting up your trainers for failure. Or, worse, you may lose someone who could have been your top performer.

Lack of confidence.

If trainers lack confidence in their skills but you mentor and coach them through their weaknesses and insecurities, they will flourish. Make continuing education a part of your employees’ schedules and goals. Mentor and coach your employees. They chose you and your company for a reason. Be that reason.

Lack of recognition.

Do you have trainers who were star performers but are now mediocre? If people are meeting or exceeding all of their goals quarter after quarter but don’t receive any recognition, their success may become less meaningful to them and they may become unmotivated and start looking for employment elsewhere. Keep employee recognition at the top of your to-do list on a daily basis and you will see consistent performance.

Lack of personalized motivation.

What motivates one person may not motivate another. For some, seeing their name on the wall as employee of the month or earning the coveted employee-of-the-month parking space is what keeps them going. For others, it is the bottom line: money. Find out what motivates each of your employees and set the reward for meeting their goals accordingly.

Employees appreciate having behavior and performance issues addressed quickly with an expected time frame for performance improvement and a plan on how that improvement will happen. If you wait to address issues, the impact of your discussion will only lose power with each passing day.

Believe in and value your employees and you will have top performers with little to no turnover.

Cathy Taylor

Personal Trainer and Owner, Fit Body Fit Life

East Derry, New Hampshire

We use an in-house performance system that I developed called Flow State Trainer™. Using a 1–10 scale, we measure the following: teamwork/loyalty, client-centered focus, client results, sales/e-commerce, initiative, planning, self-improvement/learning, own energy, hours per month, and wow! factor.

This system allows us to look at all of the factors we consider important in terms of our values. We review performance every 3–6 months so we can pick up on changes quickly. The trainer reviews herself and her peers, and I review the trainer. Reviewing performance comes down to two things: Does the trainer share your company’s values? Is she performing?

If you put both these factors on a grid, you get four possible outcomes and actions that you need to take:

  1. Shares company values—YES and performing—NO: Coach her until she improves.
  2. Shares company values—YES and performing—YES: She’s a star!
  3. Shares company values—NO and performing—YES: Manage her out over time. (Mutually discuss helping the trainer move to an environment more suited to her outlook, since you have already established that she doesn’t share your values.)
  4. Shares company values—NO and performing—NO: Change your interviewing procedure!

Jon Denoris, MSc

Founder and Director, Club 51 London and Club 51 Asia (Singapore)

I don’t expect every trainer I work with to use the same ideas that I train with, but I have specific expectations that he or she will have the same values. For example, the client’s best interest must always come first. If a trainer has customized a program for someone who is starting to show signs of being overtrained and overworked, the trainer


customize the program for this individual again so that the client


benefits and there are no negative effects. As many of us know, it is possible to train too much; exercise is only beneficial when a client trains at his full capabilities but no more than that. The trainer-to-manager relationship must be solid enough from day one to discuss and understand these types of values going in so that expectations are always met from the start.

Training values that need to be considered for each client are previous injury status, medical history, age and any muscle weakness, or imbalances. Clients have different goals and fitness levels. It is a manager’s job to make sure trainers are taking the steps to talk with and (through various assessment tests) evaluate clients to ensure that the program designed for them is beneficial and not harmful in any way. This is my biggest expectation with any trainer I work with, and I make sure my trainers have that same best-interest attitude with clients before and throughout training sessions.

Client feedback is most important in ensuring that my expectations have been met and that my own knowledge and experience of what each client needs out of a workout routine has been addressed. A client must feel good and get good results from


of their sessions. Monthly client surveys are a great way to see how they feel about their sessions.

Gabrielle Furlong

Furlong Fitness and Nutrition

Fitness and Nutrition by Gabrielle

Los Angeles

Before a Solo Fitness trainer works with one of our clients, I meet with the client for an initial fitness assessment and one follow-up workout session. This way, the trainer I assign is well-versed in the client’s health history, fitness experience and goals, and has an outline of what the first session should be like. Most important, the trainer should have an understanding of how the client likes to work. Does she take verbal instruction or need to observe the trainer first? Does she like to repeat workouts, or is she looking for a different one every session? These nuances complete the client picture. When the trainer gives a session that is not meeting a client’s expectation, then it is not meeting mine either. In this case, the client will contact me, and we will discuss what is and isn’t working. The client always has the option of working with another trainer of ours; however, I like to give the original trainer a second chance.

When I know what needs to change, I can speak with the trainer and we can work together on the situation. Having that conversation isn’t always easy. The trainer’s style may work for other clients but not for this one. Usually the trainer will feel it, too. The click isn’t happening. If the trainer agrees, we will come up with a different approach to working with the client. If that still doesn’t help, we move on, and I bring in another trainer to work with the client so we don’t miss a beat in the client’s training progression.

Lisa Hoffman, MA

Founder and Director, Solo Fitness & Wellness

New York

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