David Hassell’s article “Employees Quit Leaders, Not Companies” reveals the trend that people will be loyal and stay at a job or working for a company when they believe in and trust their leaders and will seek-out new opportunities whenever that confidence and trust fades.
This got me thinking about how it applies to the partnership between a personal trainer and their clients or a fitness instructor and the participants in a class.
There is a lot of talk in all industries about delivering high quality experiences and ultimately this is what personal training and fitness classes are all about. The experiences of the participants need to be enjoyable / valuable or else they will not return. But before that world class experience is possible, the participant needs to believe that it is possible and have trust in the person delivering / facilitating the experience.
When I teach a class and notice a new participant, I will always do my best to talk to them before it begins to explain to them what they should expect during and after the class. I’ll be honest that they are likely going to feel some pain in the days following because each new experience will place new demands on the body and muscle pain is often an accompanying consequence. I let them know that it may suck, it may be challenging and that they’ve made a great decision to participate and improve their life regardless of any immediate discomfort. If I am successful with the introduction and in leading the class, the new participant will leave feeling tired but satisfied with the use of their time.
I’ll do effectively the same thing with a personal training client – I’ll tell them what they should expect in the first few weeks and months, I’ll share what they should be noticing in terms of progress and they’ll be well aware that whatever they are going to experience others have experienced because the process of creating improved health and fitness is the same for everyone. It’s easy to be convincing with these conversations because human beings are basically the same from a genetic and physiological point of view. Everyone’s muscles contract and adapt in the same way, everyone’s blood vessels respond to hard work in exactly the same way, etc….
I used to view my disclosure as just being honest about the training experience, an attempt to mitigate some of the thoughts that tend to accompany the pain associated with working out, but I’m now clear that it serves another purpose. By revealing the nature of the journey before it begins, I’m creating credibility and instilling a belief that I am a capable leader and partner in their quest for a better experience of life.
Given that results come from doing hard work this trust is critical in moving them forward!