By Simon Greenwood, #RideTheWave Alum
Hello, my name is Simon and I’d like to tell you about my experience of executive coaching and how it’s helping me become a better personal trainer. I have 13 years of experience in personal training and I have been lucky enough to work with a huge variety people. Their obvious objectives are to lose weight, improve fitness and gain muscle. The majority of the time, with the right dedication and consistency, these things can be achieved. What I have learnt though over the years is each client, no matter what goal they come to me with, come with an element of external stress. This is where executive coaching can play a crucial part of reaching new goals.
These external stresses can be work related, relationships, money, mental health … the list is endless. Some clients, when external stresses were high, found it harder to be disciplined with tasks given to them regarding their gyms goals and therefore reducing their chances of achieving the results they’re working for.
This got me thinking and through this reflection I made a number of changes to my programming style to fit client’s external environment. I found the change to be really impactful to my clients’ stress levels, but there were still some inconsistencies.
Personal Training revolves around being a ‘people person’, the ability to listen well and be empathic. Although, for me, as someone who always wants to help and fix a problem I found myself being less of a sounding board but more of a ‘giver of advice’. I would try to guide a client’s actions to improve whatever it was they were struggling with in their day to day. My objective – if I can help them improve their external stresses, it will improve their chances of success in the gym. Where my intentions were always for the good of the client, my advice was more along the lines of; “this is what you should do” or “have you ever thought of trying this?”
I was advising clients on what to do, rather than allowing them to come to a decision they felt was best for them. Where this undoubtedly built trust it also leaves me as a trainer in very murky waters, especially if the outcome of my advice isn’t the desired one. I felt there had to be a better approach to helping clients with external stress and coaching in a way that puts them in the driver’s seat of their decisions.
Enter ‘Ride The Wave’ (RTW) Professional coach training. My first experience of executive coaching.
The course structure comprised three, three-day modules all of which were jammed packed with opportunities to learn, apply and reflect. The delivery of the course, incredibly interactive and relaxed, aiding in a great learning environment. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t walk into module one overly confident, thinking that “coaching people is what I do for a living, it’ll be easy”. Although for years I have been a ‘giver of advice’, but with my new skills in executive coaching, the strategy is not to advise, it’s to guide.
I really struggled at first, having to holding back my usual approach and taking a step back to listen. I was soon to realise that there is so much more to the art of executive coaching, a profession that requires knowledge of a vast number of coaching techniques and how best to apply them. This was uncomfortable at first, but I’m a firm believer in making the uncomfortable, comfortable, so this was a great challenge for me.
Lucy and Sonya are brilliant at what they do and enable you to really discover your own coaching style. They wanted us to bounce ideas off them and all the others on the course, giving us another opportunity to learn. The learning doesn’t just stop once you leave module three either. You build a network of fellow coaches and mentors to help continue your development in executive coaching.
#RideTheWave opened my eyes to how best to communicate with my clients. How, through the art of open questions and tools to help open perspective, you can help empower people to make their own choices to better their lives. I now use my coaching as a tool to bridge that gap between client goals and their habits outside the gym. The skills I have learned have completely changed my approach and role as a PT and will be forever grateful.
An exciting future awaits.