As a trainer, I rarely encounter theses types of people. Normally, I get clients who come to me for help and want to be coached. However, it is not uncommon to get clients who:
1. Complain. They complain due to a lack of self motivation for the most part. So, as a trainer I try to step in and give them the extra push that they need. This approach usually works.
2. Tell you you’re wrong. If I’m wrong, why did you come to me in the first place? I make it clear that I’m a product of my own training, so I know it works. There is no disputing that hard work is a proven vehicle to get you where you want to be.
3. Get frustrated with results. Patience is absolutely essential to success. However, in our society of instant gratification, clients expect to be shredded in two weeks. Many people have a long road ahead of them to get the swimsuit body they often desire. It can’t happen overnight, or even over a year in many cases. The result is that we have an average client lifespan of about six months. If you have a tropical vacation you’re going on in three months and you have 50 pounds to lose (the right way), you should have started training nine months ago. It’s not my fault you didn’t give yourself enough time. Stick with it and you’ll be set for next year! But, their lack of patience and persistence leads to them to inevitably drop – see below.
3. Fall off the wagon. Since we started our gym, there is only one of the original members who has stuck with it. One. She has seriously reaped the benefits, too! Others fall off for various legit reasons (moving usually). But, most of the time people just can not handle the intensity or the work capacity, so they ramp up the excuses and gradually stop coming. Although they typically blame it on finances, injury, or a busy schedule – we know the truth. I love being a trainer and I don’t do it for the money. I’m willing to work with people on schedules, around injuries, etc. The fact is, this training is extremely tough and takes physical and mental grit.
At least these people had original intentions of seeking help and listening, but found out that the solution was too hard to handle. Most of the time you can salvage the client before they hit the drop off point by listening to their feedback. Perhaps they are being pushed beyond their limit or not being pushed in the right direction. Open communication is the key to keeping clients around long enough to meet their goals. Communication not only with the trainer, but with their own bodies, too. Clients need to be the messenger between their bodies and the trainer. Enough of the rant. On to the truly uncoachable…
There is the rare breed that will ask for it, but doesn’t want your solicited advice.
What do you do when you get the person who is asking for help, but rejects everything you say?
Me: Try this exercise.
Client: No, I don’t like that because (insert random reason).
Me: Ok, how about this?
Client: How does that help me?
Me: Trust me.
Client: Well, I would rather do this.
The best approach, in my opinion, is to simply let them be. If you don’t want to listen to me, that’s fine. Do it your own way. If your way works, great! If it doesn’t, I’ll be here for you when you get frustrated and need help. Just come ready to listen!
Typically, the people who want to have a coach, but don’t want to listen them are better off without one. These people are usually accomplished athletes and simply need accountability for their own program. Take my wife Ashley, for instance. She seriously is the most hardcore runner I know. She has ran herself literally close to death (ICU), through a hip fracture, through all of her toe nails being ripped off; all in 100 mile running races. Pretty sick. She’s won 12 hour races, 5ks, and more. All great accomplishments in running. So, I don’t even try to give her running advice. But, when she cross trains, she’s more in my world. Although she definitely knows what she’s doing and has a strong background in cross training (she can bang out 50 Pushups in a row and Squat 250 for reps), she will occasionally ask me for workouts.
Because she’s so accomplished and driven, she has got to be the most uncoachable person I know. Ashley is a prime example of somebody who I do not need to coach, but keep in check with her own program. I can’t tell her how to run (because she already knows how) and I can’t tell her how to cross train (because she thinks she knows what she needs better than I do). So, all I can do is not spend my time coaching and simply keep her on the right track and maybe recommend something to get her wheels turning. If I give her a hint and she takes it as her own idea, it’s brilliant! If it comes from me, it’s dumb and doesn’t make any sense.
So, as a trainer, how do you deal with the uncoachable? You don’t. Just let them go off on their own and give them accountability and advice only if they ask for it. Otherwise, you and the client will both be wasting your time.