There are thousands of successful personal trainers who all make very good livings from what they do. Yet inevitably they all have different personalities. So it may be safe to assume that a trainer that suits one client, may not suit another. But individual personalities aside, the fact remains that most great trainers share some similar skills and attributes and it is these personal attributes that make them successful at what they do.
A Great Listener
Contrary to the stereotypical images of personal trainers just barking instructions, great trainers actually do a lot of listening. After all, how can you become a great trainer if you don’t actually listen to your clients. The saying goes that we were born with two ears and only one mouth, so we should try to listen twice as much as we talk! This should begin in the calls and even tweets. In this day and age, it’s impossible to be a successful trainer without excellent communication skills. Very first meeting with a prospective client where you should be listening carefully to their needs and requirements, and this should inevitably continue throughout the relationship as you gather session feedback and find out about what makes your clients tick.
The modern personal trainer is highly adaptable. They respond to changes in research, education and training methods and keep updating their client programmes and knowledge accordingly. They keep up to date with social media and technology. They adapt their schedules to suit clients and make use of their time effectively during quieter periods. Personal trainers work very varied hours so being adaptable ensures that you are able to move with the times and mould your days around your clients, whilst making time for all important CPD, study, admin and training.
You may live a very clean life, with plenty of exercise and healthy food. You’re an example to those around you – a shining beacon of inspiration to your clients. Perhaps this way of living comes easy to you, but remember that for most of your clients, it’s a struggle. Many of your clients may naturally dislike exercise or find it difficult to eat healthily. Having some degree of empathy for your clients means understanding their struggles and inner demons and trying to support and motivate them as opposed to judging or giving up on them at the first hurdle. Clients who feel that their trainer understands them and is not going to give up easily, will likely feel more inclined to stick with you as their trainer rather than jump ship to someone else.
So your client’s had a bad day at work, or maybe they’ve stepped on the bathroom scales moments before your session and didn’t like what they saw. Great trainers are perceptive and they know when a client is on form and when they need a little TLC. At times clients will need to be pushed harder and other times it may be prudent to step back a little. Sometimes clients will say they cannot do another rep, when you know they can. Other times a client will say they need a rest, and they really do. Being perceptive can mark you out from other trainers whilst helping you to build more lasting relationships with your clients.
Are you one of those people that naturally inspires others? Most great trainers are also great motivators and they can inspire others to get active and to maintain a regular programme of exercise. This is often a natural innate quality rather than something that can be taught. Great trainers exude inspiration and positivity. They give lots of positive reinforcement to help motivate their clients and this may come during the session or even via a quick text message later in the day to say well done on a great workout.
A Solid Communicator
We live in an era of communication, and a good trainer will be able to adapt their communication according to their audience. This often requires talking to a client on their level and on their terms. Great communicators have the ability to respond professionally and expediently to customer enquiries and to talk with, rather than talk down to clients. Great trainers display professionalism and efficiency in all channels of communication from emails and text messages to phone.