You want to know the biggest obstacle that really keeps a coach from flourishing in their business? It’s not knowledge or a lack of certifications. It’s a lack of confidence, and you probably don’t have enough of it.
Let me count the ways your lack of confidence is straight up killing your business:
#1. You don’t approach that client on the gym floor to build rapport. Instead, you watch another trainer snatch up your client and become that person’s go-to trainer.
#2. You talk about visiting a local business to let them know you’re around and possibly arrange a deal for in-house classes or talks. It’s been months now. And you still haven’t done it.
#3. You’re afraid of asking for the sale. Period.
#4. You have a hard time pressing a client who is on the fence about their thoughts on training with you. You want so badly to close the sale, but you don’t press. You let them be and another one slips away.
#5. You refuse to raise your prices for fear of what your existing clients will say.
Do these sound hauntingly familiar?
Personal training is your livelihood. To turn it into a sustainable, fulfilling career in all aspects of your life, you need to boost your confidence – the confidence to go out there and close the sale, to trust in your ability, and to know that you really are an amazing coach who can change so many people’s lives.
For those who lack this trait, confidence seems like a magical substance that some people just have and others don’t.
Confidence is innate for some people, but only to an extent. These people were exposed to situations, environments, various life experiences, and people that allowed them to cultivate this confidence without much concerted effort. For the rest of us, what do we do?
The road to developing greater confidence starts with self-compassion
Unfortunately, increasing your confidence doesn’t involve specific action steps that you can just tick off on a list and consider them done. It takes some specific shifts in your mindset and perspectives about yourself. More importantly, there’s one key character trait that you need to adopt: self-compassion.
Most of us understand that self-compassion is necessary for our clients who want to lose weight or aspire to any other fitness goal. The road is full of bumps, potholes, obstacles, and many other setbacks; it is through self-compassion and understanding that no one can be perfect that they are able to navigate these perils.
Similarly, in order to be more confident, you need to be able to reflect on where you are now, where you are going and want to be, and how you are performing in your work–all the while being kind to yourself and being as nonjudgmental as possible throughout this whole process.
After all, if you cannot confront your own follies and avoid abusive self-talk, how can you hope to improve without self-compassion, when you think you can’t be anything less than perfect?
Confidence booster #1: Acknowledge your capabilities
When you lack confidence, you probably are blind to your own abilities and streaks of brilliance.
I’m going to illustrate this point by giving an example. Let’s say you normally don’t believe that you are a “good” coach–whatever that entails. You feel you need more knowledge to be considered good and to be able to truly help more people.
Over the past week, however, you experienced three breakthroughs with three different clients. One client dropped more weight in their fat loss phase than ever before; another client just got rid of the back pain that had been nagging them for six months; and the other now feels more confident and happy with themselves.
In one short week, you have three separate incidences that act as evidence of your coaching abilities.
But to be able to truly take stock in these achievements, you must associate your clients’ wins with your own abilities. As you reflect, you can revel in your client’s success and say to yourself–like a positive affirmation:
“Yeah, I did that. Those results were due to my ability to coach them through the process. I did that.”
This affirmation and acknowledgement of your own abilities are how you can slowly develop and reinforce your confidence as a coach. They inspire the feeling that you are awesome at your job and that you can help a myriad of people.
The proof, after all, is there: just look at those three clients who are beaming with pride because you helped them do that! Because you are a capable coach.
Simply acknowledging and embracing this, through recognizing small wins, helps you cultivate this confidence in yourself.
Confidence booster #2: Get into awesome shape
A lack of confidence typically conjures up any number of self-deprecating thoughts: you’re unattractive, you’re not good enough, you’re not liked, and so on and so forth. These thoughts about ourselves are often tied to what we think others may think about us.
When I worked hard to become the best personal trainer I could possibly be, before I ever moved into public speaking, I pushed to get into the best shape of my life. I wanted to be a walking product of my work: to walk the talk and to look so fit and healthy that people had no choice but to unconditionally trust in me (because how could I look like I do without knowing what I’m talking about?).
When I got to this point, I was able to be confident in my appearance and develop much more self-love and appreciation. It meant that whenever I spoke in public, coached, walked into a business meeting, or talked to a prospective client, I was able to stand tall and proud, knowing that I looked like they should take my fitness advice seriously.
And if a client or colleague did ask me something that I didn’t know the answer to, I would just be honest and say, “I don’t know, sorry, but here is a place I recommend to find out the answer” or “Let me find out and come back to you.”
Why is this important?
Because honesty–to yourself and others–is one of the most valued character traits. People can tell when you are not 100% sure and can detect you stumbling your way through the answer. You lose credibility in their eyes and you’re lying to yourself. Be humble and honest and say you don’t know. People will really value this, and instead of falling in their eyes, they see you as someone they can trust.
No one knows all the answers, so don’t pretend to.
In summary, to boost your confidence, you need to do a couple of things:
- Be aware of your environment and how you’re performing in your job. Take time to stand back, review what you are doing, see where you can improve, and work to make those improvements so that you can have more success as a coach. Self-awareness is an essential life skill.
- Acknowledge your results with clients and appreciate all those high-five-worthy moments with them. It’s important to celebrate your wins with clients on a personal level, just as much as they should celebrate their personal wins.
- When you get awesome results, tell yourself, “I did that. I’m an awesome coach. Yes, me.” Revel in your success and be proud.
- Be kind to yourself and gradually appreciate yourself as a person. Too many coaches are hard on themselves to the point of crushing their own confidence. At the same time, be hard enough on yourself that you always look to improve, but have enough self-compassion that you choose to view your shortcomings as malleable, rather than fixed.
- Value the way you look and aim to look better than 99% of the population that would be looking for your help, because if you’re in shape, it sells.
About Ben Coomber
Ben Coomber is a performance nutritionist (BSc, ISSN), educator, speaker and writer, with a 5 star selling book on Amazon ‘How to be an Awesome Personal Trainer’. Ben run’s the Body Type Nutrition Academy, an online nutrition course for coaches that can be done fully online. Ben has the UK’s #1 rated health and fitness podcast on iTunes ‘Ben Coomber Radio’ with regular Q&A’s and expert interviews.