Your clients provide the longevity and credibility you need for your career as a Personal Trainer so developing great relationships with them is a must. Your client needs to feel comfortable enough with you to be vulnerable in front of you – you need to know their fitness goals, their fears about their health and you need to fully understand their relationship with food and exercise currently.
Without having a rounded, open and communicative relationship with your client, you won’t be able to make a real impact on their health and fitness. Ultimately, anyone can give them a gym routine and watch them do it, what they need from you is someone who can must the motivation and dedication they’ve been trying to find in themselves.
You’re probably fit, healthy and totally at home in the gym, but your clients might be none of those. They may have faced something which led them to finally making a change to improve their health and fitness. Perhaps they had a health scare, maybe they’ve just recovered from an injury, or they’re trying to find themselves again after having children. Whatever it is, have empathy for them. You may never have experienced what they’re telling you, even if it is something as common as a long-term weight problem but listen and put yourself in their shoes.
Their reason for seeking out a Personal Trainer will help you to understand them, and once they’ve told you, they’ll feel more connected to you because opening up to you will have put them in a vulnerable state.
It’s vitally important that during your initial consultation with your new client, you make a good first impression. That means a warm (but not over familiar) greeting, plenty of eye contact and most importantly – good listening skills. If your client feels you’re uninterested in their reason to be there, they won’t trust your commitment to helping them. Make them feel like an individual, not just a number. The most important part of communication as a Personal Trainer is listening, not lecturing.
As you keep seeing your new client, make sure to ask for updates on what they’ve confided in you about. Another hobby, a story about a family member, or an interest in another sport is a good talking point for you and your client and it shows you were listening and taking in what they were saying during your first meeting.
Make sure to create a feeling of inclusion for all personality types, races, ages, genders and abilities. Making off hand comments about people with weight problems with a client who is slim may seem harmless but subconsciously you’re portraying yourself as a judgemental person – something which may make your client feel intimidated by. Whilst it’s important to be authentic and be yourself during your PT session, think about the impact your comments can have. Your client may take your word as gospel and with that comes some responsibility over which views, opinions and judgements you share with them.
So to summarise, the main principles which will help you to build a good relationship with your client are:
· Having empathy for them
· Creating a good first impression
· Honing your listening skills
· Creating an inclusive environment
If you’re looking to get qualified as a Personal Trainer, get in touch.