Yes it should be a relationship! I probably spend more time thinking about and talking to some of my clients than I do with my wife! Maybe I have just got my priorities wrong?
Coaching should not be transactional. Not simply a case of prescribing workouts, getting them done and then moving onto the next. The best results come when both coach and client share who they are. I think that I am pretty authentic. My coaching is not founded on me and my achievements, it is about being open about who I am and what I have to offer. I like to think I have a half decent brain, have some useful experience motivating high performing people and teams, and can work out what needs to be done for my clients to excel at their chosen events or disciplines. It's not rocket scientist stuff, and I have worked with few of those! I hope that people see me as relatable and see that I too have a little vulnerability, just like them. That to me is key in helping people feel safe so that they too can share their vulnerabilities.
The best coaching relationships I have are with clients who share some pretty deep and emotional parts of their lives with me. Understanding who they are and what practical and emotional issues they face in their everyday lives is massively important.
I am passionate about what I do and I am trying to nurture and grow something that has real value in peoples lives. The road is bumpy, the journey never smooth. You have doubter, detractors, cynics and people who just don't like you. However, I firmly believe that as humans we get inspired when we see other people who have passion, and are doing something about it. What difference do you want to make in the world? What are you doing about it?
So we are talking about some pretty deep stuff when it comes to the best coaching relationships. I work best with people who are open emotionally and passionate about what they do.
It is really important to talk about and understand goals. What are my clients' goals for coaching with me? What do they want from me? What will I help them achieve? For 90% of my personal clients we are working towards an event goal. But what do they want to achieve? To complete, to compete, to podium, to win! Those things are hugely important to know in advance.
The best coaching relationships I have are with clients who are open, practically and emotionally, are passionate and have razor sharp goals.
Coaching has to be a two way gig. It's never good enough for it just to be about me supplying you with stuff. I have two pretty basic 'rules' of engagement and commitments I make to all my clients.
- If you leave me feedback I will always read it at the start of every day and respond if required - how did a workout go, how did you feel physically and psychologically?
- You can email, call me or visit whenever you want to, weekdays, weekends and when I am holiday (ok maybe not visit me but I have never had an email off holiday in my life!)
So there is a flip side to this as well.....
- If you don't leave me feedback I won't know that you need anything and will assume all is well
- If you never email, call or visit me I wont know that you need anything and will assume all is well
I am not a mind reader, and worse than that, I am a bloke so don't expect me to pick up on subliminal messages or vibes!
I personally use a coach for my training (because not even us coaches can be objective enough to coach ourselves properly). I leave him feedback for every single intensity session I do. I pay him £300 a month so given that I can put a training plan into Training Peaks myself, I am 100% paying for the feedback, advice and an iterative and adaptable programme. You should do the same!
The best coaching relationships I have are with clients who are open, practically and emotionally, are passionate, have razor sharp goals and communicate with me regularly.
In my strive to be a great coach I understand that it is not just about my coaching skills. It is equally about treating every client as more than just a client and building a genuine relationship with a unique individual. I definitely don't get everything right. But I know that I try to do the right thing and seek to improve all the time. Sometimes it looks good, other times not. Good days and bad days, just like you. The key is communication.
So in your strive to be a great client, and get the most from your coaching relationship with me - could you be more open emotionally and about practical challenges? Do you have goals and have you told me what they are? Do you communicate to me about how a session went, how you felt physically and psychologically?
So why would I write this post? If you all take it on board I am going to get a hell of a lot more work! But genuinely I am driven to help you get what you want, not making it easy for me. So get typing in those post workout boxes, send me an email, pick up the phone, come into the shop for a free coffee, or take me out to dinner, I really do quite like eating and talking about cycling......
Have fun, ride well and have a great weekend!