“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.” – Tom Landry
As a follow up from my last post on leaving your comfort zone for growth where I talked about my experience with hiring a coach, I wanted to write a short post on what I think makes a good coach. I have coached hundreds of successful clients and I have a coach helping me towards my own goals. Hiring a coach was one of the best decisions in my life. For me the biggest realization I had was even coaches have coaches! My coach Paul Revelia provided this perfect outlook: Paul says – “My take on hiring a coach, it’s like taking a Master’s class. A good coach teaches you as you go and it’s information you keep forever. I still work with a coach when I prep. Being objective is very tough and sometimes It’s nice to just be told and follow someone you trust.”
Here are my 5 key traits that make a successful coach:
They Let You Set The Goals – Yes, a good coach will definitely help you outline and pull out some tangible metrics for you to hit, but at the end of the day a good coach let’s you set the goals that makes you feel comfortable and excited to achieve. A good coach will never force you to do something you are not willing to do when it comes to your goals. Some of my clients refuse to give up a few glasses of wine per week, so it’s my job to teach them how to balance that into the goals they have set for themselves. After all it’s their journey not mine. However, a good coach will push you in the right direction towards your goals you’ve set when needed. This may come with doing something you might not be too excited about. I remember when Paul emailed me my cardio plan the week before my first competition and said:
“It’s going to suck. You will hate me. It will work.”
With that being said, a good coach doesn’t throw you into something you are not ready for. I have had some people sit in my office and tell me they want to start a program, but the more we talk I can tell they are not ready to make the lifestyle and behavioral changes that are necessary for success. I could push them into a program, but instead I’d rather they come back when they are fully ready to commit and be successful.
They Keep You Accountable – Accountability is the key to success. The number one reason people hire a coach is for accountability. The fact is we are not good at keeping ourselves accountable towards our goals. I have worked with some clients for several years. We form a personal relationship and a great friendship but I never let that inhibit my ability to be completely objective with them. If they missed their weekend meal prep, I am going to keep them accountable. If they didn’t make it in for cardio on their off days, I am going to follow up on why. A good coach needs to keep you accountable towards the goals that you have set for yourself.
They Understand Weight Loss Is Not Linear – Most diets make people fat. A good coach understands that the body is very resilient and adaptive. What I mean by that is your body HATES change. It is physiologically designed to resist change and maintain a constant internal environment called homeostasis. We are also hardwired to be very efficient at storing body fat as survival mechanism. A good coach knows that even if you are seeing results with the plan you have in place now, you will need to make changes as the body adapts.
They Go Slow – Since we know weight loss in not linear and that adaptations will occur a good coach approaches weight loss from a slow and steady perspective. Sure, I could have some one drop 10 lbs in a month but how sustainable would that be in the long run? I’d rather move at the pace of 2lbs per month CONSISTENTLY over the next year, then have a bolus weight loss and then results come to a screeching halt. I have clients all the time that are so eager for results they want to eat the fewest amount of calories possible and do cardio seven days a week. That approach would guarantee you not to hit your end results. My goal is always to feed a client the most amount of food possible, with the least amount of cardio to induce weight loss. The proper approach has you gradually decrease calories and increase cardio over time as needed as a way to induce the weight loss response once the body adapts. Is that as sexy as a 30lbs in 30 days program? No, but sustainable results are pretty cool if you ask me compared to rapid weight loss and rebound weight gain.
They Celebrate Your Successes – At the end of the day your coach needs to be just as, if not more excited about you achieving your goals as you are. I always say to my clients that their goals become my goals. When they hit a new weight loss plateau I am jumping for joy and bombarding them with high-fives. If they succeed during their busy weekend with getting their workout in and sticking to their nutrition plan I am ecstatic for them! A good coach cares about you and your results and reinforces your wins with excitement and gratitude, no matter how small the victory may be. Everyone struggles, but a good coach picks you up when needed and gets you moving towards your goals again.
Thanks for reading feel free to share this with anyone if you think it could add some value to their day!