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Monday
Dec092013

Why Work with a Coach?

Let’s say you decide to get healthy. Maybe your goals are to lose weight and to get in shape. You may generally know what needs to happen for you to achieve these goals, meaning you have a sense of what makes for a healthy life and better fitness (or know good sources of information for those). That said, you know the road ahead will be challenging. You won’t always feel like doing what you know you need to do. You might not always know exactly what steps to take first or next. Maybe the process is even starting to feel a little intimidating or overwhelming at times. You find yourself wondering, “Can I really do this alone? Do I want to do it alone?” Enter the idea of a coach. 

Just about everyone can recall a positive influence of some kind in his/her life--maybe a team coach, a musical director, a career mentor, a spiritual leader, a personal role model, etc. These people encouraged us, helped shape us in some way, saw us through a time or experience in our lives. When I personally look back, I credit two coaches I had early in life with shaping my work ethic and attitude toward obstacles. They knew how to push me beyond where I would have fallen off track had I been on my own. They were partners in my progress in that way. At times, it felt like they were my worst enemy because they knew exactly what buttons to push to make me better. (Yes, they were that good.) This is precisely what a coach can do for you--make you reach higher than you would if you were on your own.  

They can help change the way you think. 

By understanding who you are and what you are trying to accomplish, a coach can strategize the best way to steer and encourage you. This understanding is clearly built over time, but it oftentimes starts with a brief questionnaire asking you about your likes and dislikes. By strategically introducing new habits, a coach may be able to help you change the way you look at different practices and attitudes in your life. 

I have a client who I initially started coaching primarily for weight loss. In getting to know her busy lifestyle and stress patterns, I realized that we needed to move slowly and take her weight loss process one habit at a time. She started with just journaling as her first goal. Then every other week she chose a new goal to focus on. Together, we identified that there were some habits that she really needed to focus on changing in her evening and sleep routine. I helped her uncover how some of her habits were wreaking havoc on the quality of her sleep. Soon after, she began to feel what a “good” night of sleep really is. Now she’s always striving to get a good quality sleep, rather than just quantity. Having changed her sleep habits, she understands how important other lifestyle factors are for her well-being and weight loss process. 

They don’t just tell you what to do but teach you why to do it and then how to do it. 

Teaching you what to do is more the role of a trainer. Teaching specific skill sets can be essential for a particular sport or exercise, but when you understand why the exercise is important for reaching your goal, you may have increased motivation to complete it. For example, I have had to teach a client how to perform a squat properly. Your coach will teach you why squats are an important exercise in your program for reaching your goals and will then incorporate that exercise into your routine. 

They help you reach new limits. 

Beyond the physical limitations that you may encounter in a training routine, mental barriers can be the most frustrating. A coach can help you overcome these obstacles or challenges by planning for them ahead of time, and coaching you though them when they arise. Coaches work best with your feedback as they start to assemble their own “guide” on how to best coach you. As they begin to understand you more, they can start to unlock your truest potential. I have had clients who claimed they never had the desire to perform pull-ups. As they accomplished new strength gains, however, they felt empowered to take on pull-ups as a personal challenge. 

They hold you accountable. 

Both the client and coach take on personal responsibility when they begin the coaching relationship. A coach will get to know your habits and needs and will regularly refine your program to allow for continual progress. This can only happen, however, if you’re executing the tasks that you agree upon. Without the work, you’ll experience no progress no matter what the plan. If you feel overwhelmed, coaches can re-prioritize your program with you. In doing so, you’ll be able to accomplish small victories to build momentum while still focusing on the big goal at hand. 

Now that we’ve highlighted the value of a coach for any health or weight loss journey, let’s talk communication tips to consider when choosing a coach

 

  • Platform: Do you want your coaching to be in person, by telephone or virtual (email)? You may even want all three from time to time. This is going to be a decision that you and your coach can agree upon when you get started. 
  • Coaching Style: The personality of your coach may or may not be important to you. If it is, you may want to “interview” a few coaches to see who might be your best fit. Each coach has a unique coaching style, but most should be able to clearly define their coaching philosophy. Do you want someone who’s a little more social, or do you want a coach who is straight to the point? 
  • Frequency: Do you want your coach to check in with you daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly? If you feel you need someone who will check your program daily to help keep you accountable, tell them that! 
  • Type: Do you want coaching for resistance training, cardiovascular training, or perhaps nutrition training? Or maybe you want a coach who can do all three! 

 

The best coaches may use similar tools for each client, but they use those tools differently for each individual. Each personality demands a different style of coaching. You’re unique as a client, and your plan/program should be just as distinctive. Just remember that a coach works for you and with you, but only with your partnership. Coaching can provide you accountability and education in Exercise, Nutrition, Movement, Stress Management, Sleep, and Lifestyle Strategies. A program like myCoach offers you 100% virtual access to a health and fitness coach with expert fitness instruction and a personalized program design at a low price of $29.99. Contact your local Life Time Training Team for more details.

Whether you opt for a program like myCoach or select an in-person partnership in your club, however, the coaching relationship will undoubtedly boost your opportunity for success and enhance the experience of your health and weight loss journey.

Have you used a coach in your health/weight loss process? What has that partnership meant for your experience? What did you learn along the way, and what questions and tips would you offer to those considering working with a coach? Thanks for reading, everyone.

Written by Mitchell Keyes – Program Manager, Life Time Training

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