Today, we’re pumped to bring you a guest post from one of our Faction Family members from Long Island (pronounced LAWN-guy-LAND in American), Chris Cooper. Chris is a father, a gym owner, and an ass kicker, and he wants to tell you a little bit about the “bubble of awesome” he’s found in the relationships with his clients. Check it out:
One of my favorite things about Strength Faction is that we all get an extended network of friends and colleagues in which to bounce ideas off of, ask questions, offer advice and sometimes, vent a little about what’s going on in our lives. This is what an amazing support system looks like, picking each other up when we feel like a piece of shit. Additionally, one of my favorite lessons has been the concept of finding “bright spots” in our day, meaning we pick out the positive things instead of harping on the negative ones. This is an important concept to keep in mind going forward.
During a recent conversation with a friend, coach, and fellow member of the Strength Faction Family, we got to talking about the struggle of coaching in a place where you feel unappreciated, undervalued, and unhappy. These feelings are powerful, and since we’re human (the robots haven’t taken over yet), we let our feelings dictate our behavior, our actions, and our mood. It’s hard to not let those creep into our sessions with clients. And if we notice, you bet your sweet bippy your clients notice as well.
Many coaches and trainers feel stuck we’re they are at and not living the life they want to. This career comes with early mornings and late nights, which can weigh heavily as time goes on, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Feelings of being unappreciated and undervalued can exponentially grow as time goes on. Eventually, as we make our way through our careers, these turn into moments where we feel burned out.
When we’re burnt out, we just can’t seem to bring ourselves to care about where we are training, the people we’re surrounded by, writing programs, or even just our own training itself. And the last thing we want to do, when we’re stuck in this zone, is go through another session with a client, which sucks because that feeling alone can make you feel like a piece of shit, as you are there to give your best to your client. But one thing to remember in all of this, and it’s something that has been and continues to be a struggle for me is
“You Are Not Your Feelings”
It happens to the best of us. And if you’re saying “Not me,” well then I believe you need to check to see if your pants are on fire. Look, there’s a misconception that we, as fitness professionals, have our shit together, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Bubble of Awesome
But even amongst the chaos, stress, and burnt feeling, one thing remains a constant. The coach-client relationship. That relationship right there is gold, because it can always ground you back to real world, to what matters. In just the same way this relationship can ground you, it can and should also be the best part of your clients’ day. This is where this interaction becomes “a bubble of awesome.” A place where nothing outside of it matters.
For you as the coach, being in this bubble of awesome gives you something tangible to focus on, your client. Coaching this person in front of you becomes your temporary bright spot for the day, hour, minute, whatever. Inside, the nonsense that distracts you, puts you in a shitty mood doesn’t matter. What does matter is your client, their experience, their results, and making sure they get you, all of you.
For your client, it presents a space for them to be open, honest, and confident without fear of being criticized. And if the fitness industry, there is a lot to be desired in trainers and coaches NOT criticizing their client’s choices. We can guide them to make better choices, but it is not our role to demean or bemoan any choice they make.
So here was my advice:
“Control what you can control, which means your interactions with clients. Let your clients become your bright spot when the gym is actually your shithole. You have the ability to bring positivity to their world with your coaching. You can’t control your bosses bullshit or the atmosphere of the facility, but you can control that tiny bubble that your coaching takes place in. Let that bubble be your clients AND your happy place. Your own bubble of awesome.”
The mental and emotional struggle of being a coach and trainer is real. And it can affect the way we interact with our clients. By building a client-coach bubble, we create a safe space where the client is free to express themselves without fear, and the coach can block out the uncontrollable nonsense and focus on what really matters…the client.
Chris Cooper, NSCA-CPT, LMT is co-owner of Active Movement & Performance, training facility on Long Island. He has been coaching clients to be better, stronger movers for over 10 years by integrating strength exercises with soft tissue work. Chris also believes in pushing the education of coaches and trainers higher through writing and speaking.