Monday, May 14, 2012

9 Traits to Make You a Personal Trainer That Can Lead

I've been teaching personal trainers in a classroom setting  for over 10 years. Most students come in with passion and curiosity, but some lack the ability to lead others. In my opinion, when you are not able to lead, you are unable to coach. The problem with leadership is, people tend to mis-interpret the role as leading a group of people. That is one aspect, but a leader can also lead just one person. That is the essence of coaching others. The ability to maintain someone in a controlled environment and usher them through a  process is a basically leading. 

Looking back on my classroom lectures, I can't make all my students into leaders.  However, what I can do is provide them the tools needed to chip away the rough edges and discover their true leadership and coaching ability.  This is a snippet of a lecture series where I explain to my students the importance of maintaining control in the environment and "giving yourself the power to influence" clients.


In my book, Secret Skills of Personal Training, there are nine traits that I outline that will help personal trainers become better coaches. A better coach and a better leader--in my eyes--are interchangeable. If you are one, you have the ability to be the other!

1. Professionalism
Professionalism also assumes well-honed organizational skills that make all contacts with the client a satisfying experience that enables the fitness professional to be viewed as a trustful resource.

2. Commitment
As a fitness professional selling a service, the client will expect the fitness professional to be as interested, even as passionate, about reaching a timely goal as they are themselves. The fitness professional should be committed to their own success—which should be comprised of investment in time, energy, training, and other resources to foster ongoing professional development.

3. Charisma
Charisma is a competence that all fitness professionals need, and most are able to learn. It is that seamless combination of vision, empathy, self-confidence, enthusiasm, optimism, and focus that often makes the different between closing a sale and closing a door. It involves the consistent ability to rapport instantly and maintain it subconsciously so that the fitness professional and client are never adversarial, but on the same side.

4. Work-ethic
Developing and maintaining a good work ethic means that one can develop efficient and effective work habits and then stick with them on a consistent basis. This includes a regular schedule, standard operating procedures for the repetitive tasks to perform, a simple but effective record-keeping system, and self-discipline to continue. The fitness professional must realize that success is not dependent just on the number of hours worked, but on how much of that time is channeled towards planned objectives.

5. Desire
The fitness professional should always ask themselves: “What do I really want for my client?” This answer to this question should remain the priority in the relationship between the fitness professional and the client. As with any exceptional service, the fitness professional should go above and beyond every time with a desire to impress the client. Desire is seldom a personality trait; so much as it is a developed skill.

6. Attitude
The right attitude is something we can develop, improve, and fine tune. The opportunity to help change others is always an energetic and joyous feeling that should transcend the fitness professional on a daily basis.

7. Creativity
To a client, two fitness professionals may be indistinguishable; as both may provide excellent service and each may deliver a professional presentation of that service that is undeniably attractive. However, creativity may become the sole differentiator that makes one stand out from the numerous fitness professionals that a client may encounter. It may be a new exercise program, sequence of exercises, or different environment to train in; creativity can easily become a factor between gaining a client and losing one.

8. Resilience
Similar to any sales positions, the fitness professional will likely see long-time clients eventually drop out due to financial restrictions, emergencies, career moves, or family obligations. Some clients will simply no longer need a fitness professional to continue an exercise program. Whatever the outcome, it is important for the fitness professional to expect these changes and look forward to acquiring more clients in the future.

9. Flexibility
A fitness professional must develop an outstanding ability to read the particular needs, preferences, and personal idiosyncrasies of a client, and then tailor the interaction, presentation, and closing tactics to custom-fit that client. This is accomplished by establishing a rapport through effective interaction.


Check out the book that started it all. You can get acquire all the skills you need to be a successful personal trainer simply by understanding that all the qualities lie within you. This book will help you to discover and apply your personal characteristics to become an effective leader in the fitness field!


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