One of the things I take great pride in as a Big-C Coach is my client retention rate.
Believe it or not, my clients average about five years staying with me before they move on. Some will also come to me for coaching, stay a couple years, then try things on their own, only to come back knowing they are just more comfortable having a coach always there for them.
Then there are other types who seek Coaching but they are actually unprepared for real Coaching, and what it offers and what it is about. The people who don’t last long with me are those who don’t understand what Coaching is. When they “buy” Coaching, they think that they’re buying some secret recipe, like a magical set of reps and sets, a prescribed number of calories of this and grams of that. Coaching a client to success is far more subtle and nuanced.
So many people seeking Coaching are impatient, so they have a very black and white focus on their goal for physique transformation, and they have a very immature focus on the process that takes them there.
Most – at first – do not realize that a change of mindset is often necessary in order to produce the requisite changes in behavior that will take them to their goal and then sustain that success. (And, of course, so often their goals are completely unrealistic from the get go.)
But some people get it.
They really get it.
Or, they may sign up for one on one Coaching for one reason, but continue it for another. What is ironic to me is that the people who stay with me for Coaching the longest are the people for whom figuring out their body and their physique is no longer a real, pressing issue. They continue one on one Coaching with me for other, deeper reasons. Often it’s just the feeling of security and confidence and comfort that the Coaching relationship offers them.
Here are two fantastic client examples:
I’ve written about my client Aaron a few times in previous blogs. Aaron checked in with me last week and reminded me that this is now our “10 year anniversary” with him and I working together as Coach and client.
Aaron is 49 years young, so later this year Aaron will become a member of my ‘Physique After 50/Platinum Club!.”
Check out his 2017 pictures.
Aaron looks like this all the time, and at age 49 this is quite a feat. But he has adapted to the reality that fitness is lifestyle, not magic. Diet is lifestyle, not magic.
But here’s the thing that remains lost on so many people: Aaron looks like this all year long now, but he continues to stay with one on one Coaching. There are things going on under the surface. Getting there is one thing – staying there, and at your best – that is a completely other thing; and it requires a completely different mindset as well.
These days people will “pinball” with Coaches as much as they do with training programs and getting about the same level of result as well. Part of this, I admit, is because of just how terrible the level of Coaching out there seems to be, but a large part of this is that people just don’t realize how valuable Coaching is beyond diets and programs, so they’re actively seeking coaches who only provide those things.
On the younger side of the equation, my client Andy Sinclair reminded me the other day that he joined with me as a client in 2004, which means we are now into our thirteenth year working together as Coach and client.
Andy has had some great successes in these years. He is one of those few who “has the look” so to speak. Way back when, when he put in the work, I also helped get Andy on magazine covers, and he has done so on his own as well.
He has been on the cover of romance novels and erotica books and has been a paid endorsed athlete for numerous supplement companies. He got there because he listened.
Check out this before and after picture:
You see when Andy first came to me and explained his goals to me I knew a real bulk up was in order. Andy listened and bulked up for as long as it took to change his metabolism to where it needed to be.
Very few clients who want to bulk up actually last the duration of how long it really takes for a bulk to truly have a permanent and lasting impact.
Most don’t last for more than 3-4 months before they are tired of how they look, bulking up. So they go back on a diet having never reaped the full benefits of a true bulk.
But Andy wasn’t like that.
Now, just look at how he looks year round now. He is always photo shoot ready.
He put in the time, and it has paid off.
Why Stay with a Coach?
But just like with Aaron the question begs, well if these guys look so great year round now; then why still have me as a Coach?
Think about it:
After ten or more years with me, both Aaron and Andy each have plenty of my programs to train with, moving forward. They’ve also basically “achieved” their physique goals.
So… where is the value in the one on one Coaching?
Well, to be blunt: this is where the near-sighted of others who have not achieved their goals comes into play.
As I said above, people often begin the Coaching relationship for one reason but continue it for another.
I’m reminded of the quote from Vern Gambetta, who said the role of Coach is “to go from being a guiding light, to becoming more of a mirror.”
People like Aaron and Andy stay with one on one Coaching after a decade or longer because my kind of one on one Coaching still provides value. For them, I’m more a mirror than a guiding light.
I’m not holding their hand. But that doesn’t mean I’m not there for them!
Like so many other things in life, the Coaching relationship can change and still be of immense value. People who hang around for only a few months of Coaching will never understand the deeper riches and value real that true Big “C” Coaching offers. They are too impatient with physique transformation to ever see beyond it.
In my opinion, here is what real coaching offers:
- Real Coaching reflects the material reality principle pointed out by Warren Buffet: Anything that is cheap is not usually very good, and anything very good is not usually very cheap.
- A Big “C” Coach must be someone who goes beyond industry knowledge and professional excellence. You should look for Coaches who have character worth emulating. Those who tell you ‘achieve it at all costs” – such as the cost of your personal health, friends, and family – are reflecting their own weaknesses and inadequacies. You don’t have to listen to them. You have a choice. As a side note here, those who tell you, “Everyone cheats” are of that same ilk. We need to stop abiding in this idiocy and labeling it “Coaching.”
- The “triple-A” of Big “C” Coaching is as follows: Access, Availability, and Accountability! Coaching is a relationship. The Coach needs to be as accountable to you as you are to them! Maybe even more so. A good part of that is access and availability. Anything less than that is not Coaching.
- The Big “C” Coach needs to “CARE” about their clients. Selfish coaches will only care about you insofar as you advance their agenda. We see this all the time with so-called coaches who are really just “competitors” looking to avoid real work, so they can continue training and dieting for competition. They’re not coaching because they respect it. They’re doing it to because it’s the most convenient way to achieve their physique goals.
- The Big “C” Coach has a passion for Coaching itself, above and beyond fitness or diet and nutrition industry knowledge.
- The Big “C” Coach Cares about the Craft of Coaching. This means it is always about treating clients on an individual level. Coaching is first, last and always a relationship, and it’s a relationship built in trust. Knowledge without emotional support is sterile. And advice without compassion and caring it just feels cold. Imagine if your best friend just talked to you in advice and sound-bites. Would they still be your best friend?
- The Big C Coach offers candor, but never without that aforesaid care. While honesty is part of real-Coaching, candor without the caring is just needlessly harsh; it is often unhelpful, and occasionally it is very damaging. Honest candor, combined with real care, is a powerful combination. Clients need to know what they need to do. They need to know if they can improve. But they don’t need
- The Big C Coaching goes beyond just physical goals, and supports a client’s personal growth goals as well. This must come from the Coach’s head AND heart, and a client must know and feel this support as well. Only then are the tough-love messages from the Coach delivered with the kind of dignity a client can respect. There are enough idiots out there who are patronizing and who talk down to clients. That is NOT Coaching in real terms. A great Coach is as much a listener as a talker. And the great Coach must be a great facilitator of communication as well.