I’m not sure if it’s fair asking someone working as a fitness instructor about the qualities of a good coach, but I’m still doing it. It’s clear that guests’ opinion matters, but it doesn’t hurt if the coach is aware of their own abilities and good and bad qualities.
So, let’s see what one of my favorite instructors at Sugár Fitness thinks what she needs to (or at least should) offer so that people like her and her sessions. Written by Ildikó Szántó.
In case of a group fitness class, not only the coach’s professional knowledge, but also their personality is relevant. Determining the exact character a coach should have is impossible, since each guest has their own preferences.
A good coach…
However, there are qualities that I believe should be fundamental in our profession. Examples include politeness, attentiveness, helpfulness and precision (both in terms of time and execution). But of course, these aren’t equally important to everyone.
Some people, due to their schedule, their place of residence or any other reason, do not have the opportunity to choose between coaches, so even if they do not really like the coach, they’ll keep visiting their sessions. But there are some who choose not to attend group classes at all in such a case. In fact, an antipathetic coach can discourage guests from attending group classes for life. Although I think no one should let themselves be discouraged like that; it’s always worth trying out another type of class or another coach.
In an opposite case, a coach can make someone “fall in love” with a sport for a lifetime.
Some people only like strict, tough coaches because they feel that they can only improve this way. Some prefer not to be overworked but to train at the intensity they like. Nevertheless, training shouldn’t be comfortable! Motivation is always necessary on the part of the coach, but the way it’s done matters a lot.
Most classes I’ve been to yielded positive experiences. But there were exceptions, coaches whose sessions I wouldn’t attend anymore. I find it disturbing when a coach acts condescending toward guests. Of course, everyone can have problems and everyone can be in a bad mood, but guests aren’t there to go home in a bad mood themselves afterward. I think it’s worth separating private life from work as much as possible, just like in any other profession that deals with people. However, there are some whose improper behavior doesn’t stem from mood but simply from feeling superior to others.
…treats people right
Another example is when a coach is visibly bored by their own session and can’t wait for it to end. Not a very stimulating attitude either. To me, it doesn’t matter whether a coach is strict or lenient, smiling or not, joking or serious, direct or distant; the focus is on their attitude, the way they treat people and the proper application of their professional knowledge. This is my own point of view, so these characteristics might produce the opposite effect for some, or none at all.
In my opinion, it’s important that the instructor pays attention to all guests, even if there are many of them in the class. On the one hand, guests appreciate being cared about, and on the other hand, accidents can be prevented this way.
It’s important that the coach is energetic and enthusiastic, because they stimulate and motivate others as well.
…is professionally prepared
Presentation matters, too: it can be very motivating or demotivating. You also need to be able to explain people what you want them to do, so it’s worth paying attention to your speech as well.
Correcting errors is often required; it’s in the interest of guests. How you do this is important: does it make the guest feel taken a poke at or disparaged, or do they realize that it’s in their own interest and that we mean well, so they are happy to do what we tell them? Preferably, next time the guest will think “It’s great that the coach showed me this last time, now my knee, shoulder etc. doesn’t hurt anymore, and my posture looks good!” instead of “Oh my God, I need to watch out or they’ll rip on me again!”
A smile, a few nice words or a praise can make anyone’s day. Of course, you shouldn’t force it, the same effect can be achieved by other means as well. I always try my best to make my guests leave after my sessions physically exhausted but spiritually uplifted.
Original article here.
Source of featured image: flickr.com
Translation by Ádám Hittaller