“You’ve got to play to the majority and tailor to the minority.”
When you’re coaching a class, you have to find things that work for a larger group, and then tailor to the few who need something different. To do this, you need to be aware of how your words and actions are affecting others. This is where emotional intelligence (EQ) comes into play. I define emotional intelligence as the ability to see the subtly of human emotion. It’s a skill that helps you connect to people in an individual way so they feel seen, heard and understood.
Some coaches are naturally bubbly, happy and entertaining. They bring tons of energy and laughs to class. This charismatic personality appeals to the majority. But if this type of coach isn’t self-aware, if they don’t have higher levels of emotional intelligence, they won’t tailor their approach to the few people in the class who aren’t vibing well with their over-the-top personality. And if the coach doesn’t tailor to the few, they’ll lose those members to another class (or gym).
A simple way to address this is to teach your coaches, or yourself, about emotional intelligence. Here’s one way to do that:
Step One: Awareness
Simply introducing your coaches to the concept of EQ can have a profound impact on their relationships with members. EQ is a skill. It can be taught just by getting coaches to pay more attention to how people respond to them. Awareness is a powerful thing.
Step Two: What? Why? What?
Drill your coaches on monitoring people’s reactions to them. An easy way to do this is to teach the ‘What? Why? What?’ Method. It’s very scientific. 🙂
• What? — What’s happening?
• Why? — Why is that happening?
• What? — What am I going to do about it?
So when a coach offers feedback, delivers a cue, briefs the workout, greets someone, each and every interaction, they step back, monitor the member’s reaction and then self-reflect.
We have to remember that our job as coaches goes beyond getting someone that first pull-up or PR. We are friends who are here to listen, to give people a kick in the butt when they need it, or a safe place to rebuild their confidence. So when we talk to members, it should be clear that we care about them, and what’s going on in their lives, more than their performance in a workout.