Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What to look for in a coach

So a while back I listed off the things that you as a client should do for your coach.

Here's the other side.  How to find a proper coach, since that topic has come up a few times.

- What has his or her clients accomplished?  

There's a big debate about a myriad of the facets a coach should be in possession of.  I read an article about how he or she should have this much education, this much personal experience in the task at hand, etc.

But what it really all boils down to is one thing...does that coach get results?  He or she should have a list of clients that can show tangible results.  It doesn't matter if they are elite level athletes or the soccer mom that wanted to get in the best shape of her life.  Results are all that matter.

It is true that experience and education do matter.  And in my personal opinion someone should have at least a modicum of personal success in the field they are teaching.  I mean, if you're going to teach people how to build huge biceps and no one can tell you've ever picked up a barbell, then that might be a hard sell.  On the flip side, if you've taken a bunch of skinny runts and put big biceps on them, you might know what you're talking about.

Either way, a coach with experience should be able to show you the athletes he's made better.

As I noted in the previous article related to this, once you hire a coach it isn't their job to earn your trust.  You are making the decision to trust in a coach when you hire them.  Ask for the accomplishments of said coach before you hire them so that you can do that.

- A coach's own personal achievements does not make them a great coach.

There is a lot of this going on at the online coaching level now.

There are people who are elite level strength athletes or fitness/physique/bikini/bodybuilder competitors that have clients based off of their success as a competitor.

This drives me insane.

Just because you have big lifts or just because you did two shows, doesn't make you an expert in teaching and educating others.  There's a lot of women out there right now that have done well in women's "show" that don't have a clue as how to train or diet.  They do well because they have great genetics and respond well to what some other coach did for them.  They then turn around and think that because they do well in competition, that they are now just as good at getting others ready for such things.

Likewise there are bodybuilders and powerlifters out there that are at the top of those sports that believe because of that, and that alone, that they would be or are, great coaches.  George Farah is one of the best diet coaches in all of bodybuilding.  I'm not sure how many Olympia competitors he did dieting for come Olympia time, but it was something like 7 of the top 10 guys.  As a competitor himself, George was merely average.

Often times, the guys that things come easiest for, are the last people you want to go to for help.  When I was working with Klokov last week, he admitted to me that he had never had an issue with mobility.  He was always mobile and flexible.  So when he was doing seminars earlier in the year and people asked him about how to get more mobile for certain movements, he was clueless.  Yet people often look at those best in their field, and think they are the most capable at teaching that skill.

One has nothing to do with the other.  You're better off finding someone that had to work their ass off to find success than someone who showed up and was gifted from day 1.  Now, this doesn't mean that certain guys at the top don't know shit.  There are plenty.  I'm just saying that a persons level of success at their sport isn't a clear indicator that they are knowledgeable at teaching.  Understand the difference.

Your coach should be professional - 

One of the things about personal training, especially in person, is the lack of proximity that comes with it.  What I mean by that is, you're literally going to be close to that person.  Physically.

I've heard from dozens of women who got rid of coaches because of their inability to keep from either flirting, or being somewhat inappropriate before, during, and after training.

So when I talk about comfort here, I'm not talking about level of effort during training.  I'm talking about how he or she acts with you on a personal level.  A coach should treat his or her job as a professional job.  I don't care if they are coaching out of their home, at the Y, or at a giant commercial gym.  If said coach gazing at your tits the whole training session then his (or her!) mind may not be where it needs to be.  That is, making sure you are working correctly in every facet.

Sure, some people hook up in the training world.  I go back and forth on this.  If you find a love connection with your coach, hey that's great.  But I hold the opinion that coach's shouldn't be inappropriate with their clients.  Oh and as a client, you may have a coach that doesn't appreciate you being inappropriate with them.  I was training a woman out of her house one time.....never mind.

- Conclusion 

I could write a book on what to look for in a coach, but these three things should cover it fairly well.

Make sure your coach has a history of producing results.

Remember that their own personal achievement in a sport isn't indicative of their ability as a coach.

Your coach should be professional in the way they work with you as a person.

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  1. Come on, you're gonna leave us hanging about your "private training session"?

    1. hahahahaha She wanted me to bang it out and I was like "noooooo". True story.