Training a client is not only a VIP service; it is a very intimate and personal experience. Adam Saris, Fitness Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness VIC/TAS explains how to build communication and rapport with your clients.
Personal training involves taking a person you have never met, developing a trust, understanding their emotions, creating vulnerability, and then helping them to rebuild themselves. It is more than just a physical transformation; it can be very scary for some and knowing you are there to support them throughout their journey will make all the difference.
It’s not as easy as going through a health screening and asking a few questions about their goals A connection is developed through your ability to communicate!
Once you have developed rapport with your client the rest is easy because you will have already done the hard part of inspiring them to take the first step in the right direction with you as their guide.
So where do you start? Here are a few tips that will get you on the right track.
1. What’s in it for the client? Ask yourself this every time you speak: Will this educate, inspire, relax, motivate, encourage, reward, protect, build trust or benefit my client? If not, shut your mouth.
2. Ask open-ended questions. Ask questions that will get them to talk about their interests and their life. Talking about themselves can help them gain a new perspective on their life and goals, and can help you understand their motivations and emotions.
3. Listen attentively to everything they say. Don’t focus on what you’re going to say next as they are talking. Instead, maintain eye contact, listen to every word they say, pause, and respond back as relevantly and smoothly as possible.
4. Adapt to their body language. Watch them closely and try and gauge how they are feeling by observing their body language and voice tone. You can then shape your words, body language, and tone to the ones they are more likely to respond positively to.
5. Be on their team. Use words like we, us, we’re, our, and ourselves to instantly build a bond that instills confidence to overcome adversity.
6. Encourage your client. Give them encouragement whenever you can. You are a role model and an inspiration, and your opinion definitely matters! Convince them that they can surpass their problems and limitations and they will look forward to having you as a person to talk to.
7. Have positive energy! Generally, people want to be around those who lift them up and will naturally gravitate towards you if you display a high energy level. Consistently indicate this with your voice and your body language to maximise your client’s enthusiasm.
Just remember that personal training is more about training your clients’ mind rather than their body. Clients need motivation, and motivation is fueled by emotion. If you never really develop a trusting relationship then you will never truly understand what drives your client.