You see things and you say “Why?”
But I dream things that never were, and I say “Why not?”
- George Bernard Shaw
When I started as a personal trainer in London in the mid nineties it was all about physically training my clients to be fitter, stronger and in better shape. I used equipment with names like ‘hip abductor’, ‘lat pulldown’, ‘pec deck’ and something weird called a ‘torso rotator’.
They were all designed to get people better looking muscles by working one muscle group at a time, and it took (I thought at the time) a highly qualified trainer to show people how best to use these types of exercise machines. Otherwise (we told them), they wouldn’t get the best results and even worse they could injure themselves.
It was a time where a personal trainer told clients what to do, without really getting to understand what was best for the client. If a client wasn’t willing to do what they were told then they lacked the motivation needed to achieve the results they wanted. It was their fault, not the personal trainer’s.
A client told the trainer what their goal was, and the trainer told the client the best way to achieve that goal based on what the trainers’ knowledge was with regards to exercise and nutrition (which at best, was more than the clients, but was still very limited).
A programme was designed and a prescription was given on how best to follow the programme. Not once was the client consulted as to whether they felt the programme was right for them or not. As trainers we asked the client to fit in with our view on what it would take, as it wasn’t for us to fit in with the client’s views. We were the professionals in this relationship and we knew what was best.
Move forward 20 years and how different things are now in the world of health coaching. We now have terms like ‘client centred programming’ and ‘personalised coaching’ and quiet rightly so.
The most important partner in a coaching relationship is the client, not the coach. No matter how good the coach is. The coach is there for the client, not the other way round.
The flip side of this better coaching approach is there is more responsibility on behalf of the client.
If they have set the goal and they have expressed what they feel is needed to be done to achieve it, it is then the role of the coach to educate and support them and hold them to account when it comes to what is needed.
No longer can someone put the responsibility of their goals solely on someone else, if they truly want to achieve long-lasting results.
Taking personal responsibility for a lot of people isn’t an easy or comfortable thing to do.
It can end up highlighting their lack of motivation, desire to change and perseverance to keep doing wh