Coaches, We Are in a Relationship Business

Pat Barber Coaching, Culture

At the heart of coaching, there’s connection. It’s what we do.

If a member doesn’t feel connected to you, if they don’t feel seen, heard and valued, they might not go to those places you’re trying to push them. They might pull back and stay safe. Never getting to their physical and mental thresholds or going beyond them.

This keeps members from hitting their goals. Which keeps your gym from growing.

That hurts everyone — members, coaches, staff, owners.

Connection is a two-way street.

So, it’s not just members who suffer from a lack of social connection.

As coaches, connecting to members also gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. When we’re coaching the air squat for the ten thousandth time, if we can find a way to connect with people, we can feel less bored or burnt out. It’s a great strategy for old-timers who’ve been in the game for a bit or anyone who feels like they’re living the same day over and over again.

Coaching is repetitive. Because humans only learn through repetition.

That fact can be sort of maddening sometimes.

We need to find ways to connect with the moment and live in the here and now so that we’re more present with our members.

I’ve found that if I just try to connect with every person who walks through the door, to make eye contact with them, talk with them, coach them, commit to making their goal for the day come true, I feel more energized by what I’m doing. Renewed even.

One final thought before today’s coaching goal: We are in the business of developing and maintaining relationships. Yes, you need to help people get their first pull-up. Yes, you need to help them hit that lift PR they want so badly. But, first and foremost, connect. You are the bridge between who they are today and who they want to be. That is a serious responsibility.

Today your goal is this: Make every person who shows up to class feel seen, heard and valued.⠀

About the Author
Pat Barber

Pat Barber

You might know me from the CrossFit Games, where I’ve competed since 2008, but I have also been the Head of Coaches Development for one of the largest CrossFits in the world. I have the honor of being one of the few L4 coaches, and I still love teaching L1s and L2s for CFHQ (I’ve put about 15,000 coaches through their L1’s). I'm husband to the most wonderful woman in the world, and a father who loves surfing, Magic: The Gathering, knife making and good coffee.

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