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5 keys to becoming a great coach

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I really love talking with young coaches and sharing my experience. 

Maybe that’s because I am far enough down the path now to notice how far I’ve come. I can look back on my history and see the barriers I’ve cleared, the steady fears and burdensome doubts, the stiff resistance.

It wasn’t all that easy, but this journey has been more than worth the fuss. I just want others to know that so they don’t feel the burden and false expectations. That’s enough for success right there.

The journey is tough, theres no question. The grinding work and constant study will seam endless. But that’s alright. It’s normal, even. The stress and grind fades as you become more and more experienced. This is a craft like any other. If you work at it, it will come.

What I wanted to do is share a few ideas that I think will help. These are just some simple things that will get you a better result in the gym and in life.

I’ll just call them the 5 keys for now. 

Mike and David brainstorming the WOD at the park Saturday! Be afraid! Haha

A photo posted by Faction Strength&Conditioning (@faction_sc) on

 

Here goes…

1. Start by being open.

One thing you have to understand is that there are no deep secrets out there. You don’t have to pick sides or join camps. You don’t have to defend anything.

Remember, your only job is to get out in the world and hear as many points of view as possible. Burn your days in pursuit of knowledge. Study all the methods you can, because in time – and after countless coaching reps – your unique voice will begin to emerge from that cumulative experience.

Never let your mind grow shut.

2. Connect with as many minds as possible.

Simply put, the easiest and fastest way to progress your career is to leverage the experience of others. Reach out to your peers, or people you would love to have as mentors. I don’t care what you have to do, get out on the road and spend time with them.

Contribute value and help them however you can. Pick their brains. Make sure they know you appreciate them, that goes a long way.

3. Target discomfort.

From time to time you will be challenged. You will feel awkward, out of place, maybe weak. That’s OK.

What you have to do is aggressively seek out these moments and push straight through them. You have to change your mindset so that you start to see these events as good things. I know you might not feel good enough or ready right now, but that doesn’t matter at all. Just focus on stretching yourself and you will grow.

4. Get good at asking great questions.

There will come a time when you’ll know all the methods that matter, and all the common tricks. If you want to keep advancing as a coach, I think you have to ask great questions.

The absolute best coaches are those that pick up on ALL the data. They take the time to really ask their athletes how they are doing, not just in the gym, but in school, work, relationships you name it. It ALL affects the training plan.

So, ask away. Get to really know and understand the people you’re working with. That will make your job much, much easier.

5. Create upward gradients in your life.

This is one of the only real secrets I know. It works like a charm, again, it’s just not easy.

If you want to be great at something, surround yourself with positive people who push you. Set progressively challenging goals. Do not accept stasis in any area of your life. You can be much better than you think, but not if the conditions are off. Make sure you are being pulled up, not down.

I hope you find those points of view helpful. If you have any questions just toss them in the comments below. I’d love to help you out however I can.

Cheers,

Chris

21 Responses to “5 keys to becoming a great coach”

  1. Sean Hanratty

    Hey I’m a pt the last 2years and becoming more experienced everyday . Interaction with clients and learning from minor mistakes… All that aside are there any books that you would recommend as I would really like to expand my field of expertise. Lately I’ve been concentrating on raw powerlifting and strength training… Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards
    Sean H

    Reply
  2. Jesse Arkebauer

    It’s refreshing to see an article of this nature that isn’t so specific. I’ve watched many videos and read many articles about the specific aspects of coaching, like class flow, communication, feedback, box management, etc, but this article is much more broad and a nice change of pace. The advice is also applicable to success in life, career, and relationships. Funny how those things go hand in hand. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Specific is good, but it’s not the only thing. I agree. I don’t think emulation is always great.

      Reply
  3. Chris Monachino

    First off, The Daily is awesome! So insightful. As a coach / personal trainer, I find the thing I struggle with most is prioritizing movement error fixes. An athlete has multiple movement errors and it’s difficult to focus and fix one at a time. Chris, how do you prioritize and focus in on one area? Any tips?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Chris

      You should never overload. Start with one thing, yeah. I would seek out the highest level deficiency. For example, ankles. Limited function there affects everything.

      Reply
  4. Terra

    I feel like you know exactly what kind of day I had yesterday. I just became a personal trainer and I price presented yesterday for the first time and I’ve been down on myself. These words of encouragement couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you for this valuable information.

    Reply
  5. Naysayer

    Sean H. : Barbellshrugged EP 81. 10 Books coaches and athletes should read.

    Reply
  6. Robert Karpathios

    Wicked article, Chris. Really enjoyed this one. I would really love to have a one on one chat some day and pick your brain. You definitely seem to hold much of the knowledge that I am currently seeking!

    Cheers brother!

    Reply
  7. scd

    I have always wanted to be a trainer but it seems to be a labour of love. Do you think the market is flooded with trainers and does not allow the “good” trainers to receive the compensation they deserve? What would you say is a good path to becoming a “good”personal trainer?

    Reply
  8. papa yats

    Nice work, nice website, Chris. Good light read for my sunday morning coffee.
    I would assume you’re taking mainly about crossfit or weight training in this article?

    My humble addition: take international trips to meet foreign athletes, coaches and see different ways they use… then ask questions, and you might find surprising answers.

    Reply
  9. Jesse Irizarry

    There’s more value in between the lines than in just the words of this article that I hope everyone reading picks up on. Thanks for this, Chris.

    Reply
  10. Ruben Nieves

    I have a crossfit, just starting out, 5 months open and its been awesome, a lot of great people have been joining us and making great changes, but for some reason i still havent found my… zen, best way to put it, like the rythim, i seem to be always trying to get ahead even though we are already ahead we just dont… run instead of walk but, i read this and it felt new, fresh, it kinda makes me remember and re-start, so just wanted to share that, thanks for everything shared, lets see how we develop

    Reply
  11. Ruben Nieves

    I have a crossfit, just starting out, 5 months open and its been awesome, a lot of great people have been joining us and making great changes, but for some reason i still havent found my… zen, best way to put it, like the rythim, i seem to be always trying to get ahead even though we are already ahead we just dont… run instead of walk but, i read this and it felt new, fresh, it kinda makes me remember and re-start, so just wanted to share that, thanks for everything shared, lets see how we develop

    Reply

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