As fitness coaches and personal trainers, we can sometimes believe that we can help people simply by getting them to change their behavior. We set out to create custom movement and nutrition programs that will fix the clients life, body, outlook, basically everything. This occurs after an enrollment conversation that has us, on one side of a table, ask directed questions about their life and goals, leading the client say all of the things that are needed to prove that we have the solution. Then we get them to agree to buy time with us, shake hands and part ways. They feel great about the future you are going to help them create, we feel great about getting a new client and about the prospects of helping someone create that new future.
I have had many of these conversations and learned to quickly identify the moment when the conversation could end because they were going to train with me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was lying to myself and to them.
Most trainers and coaches tell the same lies. The reason they do is because they don’t shut their mouths and listen. They have a sales system that emotionally massages the right pieces to get the desired outcome. Trainers and coaches have a huge conflict of interest that they are unwilling to accept or even consider will taint their view of the truth. The conflict of interest could be financial, it could have something to do with a persons need to be liked, their need to contribute to the development of others, it could be a desire to spend time with the client for some reason, it could be any number of things that taint judgment. But the outcome is always the same, the coach / trainer has the solution to the problem they directed the client to reveal.
Oh how very convenient and utterly unremarkable.
The thing is this, if you let someone talk long enough about their problems in the world, they will reveal the very reason why they are the cause of these problems. But if you don’t let them talk, or when you sit there waiting for your turn to talk, this information will never reveal itself. And lets be completely honest, people with a conflict of interest have a lot to gain by letting this information remain undiscovered or else they wouldn’t have a conflict of interest.
Consider what is at stake for a coach / trainer or inversely what they have to gain from directing the conversation in a particular way. $60 an hour, 3 hours per week, for 6 months. That’s about $5000. You don’t need to have many conversations like that to create a good income. On the flip side, how many more conversations does that trainer need to have if they unpack the truth about the client, their identity and how their actions and behavior maintain this identity? The number is much larger.
Strangers on airplanes, bar tenders, new acquaintances and other single serving friends will usually pull out more information about who we are, why we are that way and how we have perfectly created ourselves and our life than those who stand to gain from a longer duration relationship simply because they don’t immediately have anything to gain from the relationship lasting. There are no consequences to you for telling them how it is and there is nothing to be lost by them telling it like it is.
What does this all mean and how do we use this to more effectively move forward?
It means don’t trust anyone who doesn’t help you see how you have masterfully created the life you are currently living. It means work with people who accept and admit that they have a conflict of interest in getting you to buy their services. Ask someone directly what is in it for them because if they don’t know this, or won’t tell you this, they know even less about themselves than you do. It means knowing what YOU are hungry for so you can quickly identify when that part of YOU is massaged. It means accepting the you are the architect and master builder of the life you live and the future you want to create.
It means, fundamentally, that if you do not leave the conversation with a huge amount of new information about you, that you have revealed or that the coach / trainer has helped you reveal, you have participated in an enrollment conversation that serves the needs of the trainer. And that conversation revealed why THEY are a danger to their brand and career.