Humans do things for a reason.
You can’t improve a person’s health until you change his or her behavior. This includes your clients, your coaches and yourself.
The process I’m about to teach you is the result of all the current research on behavioral change. It’s the sum of two decades’ worth of study in changing behavior and making people healthy. It’s so important that I co-founded Two-Brain Coaching to help coaches learn the things that really change lives.
Everyone teaches cues and corrections; no one teaches how to change behavior—until now. It’s a fundamental part of our courses at Two-Brain Coaching.
8 Steps to Behavior Change
As I’ve said earlier in this series, behavioral change has to come before motivation, before adoption of a new fitness program and before adherence. Retention—keeping a client long term—is the result of mastering behavioral change. It’s a lagging metric, not a leading metric.
Here’s how to do it, step by step:
1. Start with a clear picture of success. No one joins a gym for the sake of joining. Ask every client—in a sit-down, 1:1 conversation—what his or her goals are.
2. After you get a clear goal, ask “Why?” until you get to the root motivation. You need to know what the elephant likes to eat, so to speak. In this analogy, the elephant is the client’s emotional mind, and the rider atop the elephant is the client’s rational mind.
3. Show the client your plan to get him or her to the goal. We call this the “prescriptive model.” If you read the previous post in this series, you can call it “informing the rider” atop the elephant.
4. Provide a 20 percent bonus. Show the client what he or she is already doing right. It’s easier to modify an existing behavior than to start a new one. I wrote about “head starts” in “Two-Brain Business” and “Help First.” It’s important to show people they’re already a little bit successful.
5. Find Bright Spots. Motivation requires success, not the other way around. Highlight wins early. Celebrate them. Make this a priority for your coaches.
6. Put clients on podiums. A podium is a victory over a previous best. It’s also a chance to step up and move to a higher degree of challenge. And it’s the best marketing you can do. Make your clients famous. Tell their stories.
7. Ask for the next goal. This is the step most coaches miss.
The fitness industry is changing. Selling the same thing to everyone means selling a commodity. But no one can compete with personalized delivery. Even if your gym sells only group programming, your program must be delivered in an individual way.
Gym owners in our Incubator program build out their Client Journey step by step. They plan every interaction with their clients in advance. They keep clients longer. They don’t sell memberships; they sell change. And they can make this righteous claim because they understand behavior.
In the next installment in this series, I’ll talk with Ty Krueger of Behavior Change Collective and Packerland CrossFit on Two-Brain Radio. He’ll give you some real-world examples of behavior change in action.