Essential Characteristics Of New Strength Coaches

Over the last 4 years I have interviewed a lot of people who were interested in becoming strength coaches as well has having worked with a large number of actual coaches. Below is a list of the 5 essential characteristics individuals must hold in order to be successful in the industry.

Passion for working with people. Passion is contagious. If a coach is passionate when they engage their athletes, there’s a very good chance that they will be able to boost the performance of the athletes and help to create better training experiences, results and compliance to the demands of year round training. The inverse is absolutely true – a coach who lacks passion will lower the performance of their athletes. Passion may not be enough to reach all of the people you train but it is absolutely critical for reaching those people who can be reached.

See gaining knowledge and experiences as valuable uses of your time. Unless you are really good, very experienced or you own the training center, there’s a good chance that the money you earn will be kind of low. For this reason, you need to be able to see the value that time with the athletes, creating programs and running the center. These experiences are what will make you a better coach and allow you to demand more money in the future. You will not learn everything you need to know at school and don’t really have a choice but to gain years of experience before you can consider yourself a professional. If you don’t hold your professional development in a high regard, this industry isn’t the right one for you.

The ability to accept that other people know more than you. Given that you are there to learn and gain experience, you need to be open to just how little you know about particular things. Part of this is regarding others as experts or as more expert than you are.

The ability to listen and hear what other people are saying. This applies to feedback you receive about your coaching and especially the feedback / verbal reports from your clients. With your athletes and clients, you need to know if they are feeling a movement the way they are supposed to feel it, if they are experiencing any pain vs. work and if they are working with the required intensity. With reference to your coaching actions, you need to be able to hear what people are saying in order for you to make the call on the appropriateness of your coaching. You need to be able to hear the bad, because these are the things that you will need to change in order to move your abilities forward. As important is hearing the good as these things will let you know that you are doing the right stuff as well as making your job very rewarding.

A willingness to try new things and follow the advice you give to other people BEFORE you give it to them. There is a story about Ghandie that illustrates this well. A women brought her some to Ghandie and said “Ghandie, please tell my son to stop eating sugar” to which Ghandie said “bring him back in 2 weeks.” The women shrugged her shoulders, left with her son and returned two weeks later. Upon arriving, Ghandie looked at the boy and said “stop eating sugar.” The boy agreed and as they turned to leave the women looked at Ghandie saying “why didn’t you say that two weeks ago?” Ghandie replied “two weeks ago I was still eating sugar.” I think this is more important than almost everything because you cannot come from a place of authority if you have not done what you are asking your athletes to do. This doesn’t mean that you need to have won a world championship in order to coach a world class athlete but it does mean that you need to have done contrast training if you are going to be programming it for your athletes

So there you have it, 5 characteristics that you MUST have if you are going to start to work and excel in the strength coaching industry. If you are missing any of these, take a moment to consider your decision to move into this area of work. It may not be the right fit for you.

New Challenges – Moving In With Rachel – The Final Month

Sadly, things haven’t worked out with Rachel and me so last month was my final month living with her. I’m not going to get all blamey, down or amped-up for what comes now because I don’t really feel any of those things. Rachel is a great person with a ton of potential in many areas of her life. In two years we’ll both be doing great personally and professionally – that’s inevitable – so there’s no real point in suffering the time between now and then for it is only temporary.

But there are lessons and wisdom in the entire experience so the pragmatic thing is to put them down so I don’t forget them and maybe they can be of use to others.

People need to be alone for a long enough period of time to know that they can survive independently. If this time is not taken or this knowledge is not present, one may view others as a necessary part in their life and NOT simply as a choice. I’m not sure how long this takes, but it takes time. It is only when you know what it’s like to be alone that you will know if it’s better when you choose to be with a specific person.

People should be able to identify when they are trying to control another person. This will usually happen when two people disagree on something and cannot simply agree to disagree. To not be able to agree is human, to not accept that the other person has a right to feel what they feel simply because you don’t agree with them is very shortsighted. In reality it doesn’t really matter for most things. What does matter is your ability to accept that others have a view of the world that is important to them and you should not try to control this. Provide evidence for your point of view if you like, but just do your best to let others do what they need to do.

People are not good or bad, they just work to make real the internal world view they hold. Actions will generally construct events that tend to validate your self image or self-talk. Most of the time, people are completely unaware that their actions reflect this view. Attributing malice to most things is inaccurate given that most behaviors, even self-destructive ones, are self-interested actions.

Behaviors are not good/bad or right/wrong, they either work for us or they don’t. By using judging words when talking to someone about their behavior we create shame which causes them to withdraw. Judgment fosters contempt, which will destroy a relationship and likely the possibility of a friendship very quickly. You have to let people be themselves and make the decision if their way of being is compatible with yours. If it doesn’t work for you, you need to move on fairly quickly.

There are many more things that I have learned from my time with Rachel but these are four big ones that, moving forward, I will try to focus on.

Nothing Worse Than Good When Good and Bad When Bad

Been doing a lot of listening to my clients recently because we’ve been working together for long enough that I don’t have to coach them as much.

One of them blew my mind when he mentioned that “there is little worse than being around someone who is great when things are good but horrible when things are bad”. I laughed because it didn’t make any sense but he is right. “You are always going to be a punching bag when things go bad because that is the persons coping mechanism.” It’s kind of frightening because it’s an obvious pattern that I had interpreted as the exact opposite.

It’s easy to be a pleasure when times are fun and easy. It’s very hard to be a pleasure when your world is falling in on you. The issue is that life is tough if you are trying to improve it and as an enlightened or challenging seeking individual you are ALWAYS going t try and improve it therefore times are not always going to be fun and easy.

The lesson is to not be mean when times are tough. Try to avoid lashing out when you feel your actions do not seem to be moving anything forward. If you feel victimized by someone you are close to when their life is tough make them aware that you feel they are doing it and allow them to make the decision to either change their approach to you or keep it the same. If it remains the same and you don’t want to be a punching bag when they feel challenged you will need to change the situation.