By Andrea Savard, Certified Two-Brain Fitness Business Mentor
If you aren’t training your staff on mental-health issues, you are doing your clients a major disservice.
Most gym owners train their team members to become better fitness coaches. After all, a typical training session is 90 percent movement and coaching cues and 10 percent gym operations or sales.
While improving fitness is our goal, the pursuit of fitness has changed as people ride the roller coaster of gym closures, social isolation, virtual lives and daily overwhelm.
In 2021, the job of the trainer has changed. Welcome to the new era.
Train the Trainer
In fall 2020, with the COVID Crisis upon us, I hired a psychotherapist to help with our 2021 strategic planning. My goal was to equip my coaching team with the tools they needed to better communicate with clients and prospects.
Our question was simple: How do we get in front of the next wave of the pandemic and the associated challenges to mental health?
We then set up multiple meetings with the psychotherapist to train our team members. The sessions included education about what’s happening with society and how people are being affected mentally by the pandemic. This helped us understand what drives or inhibits their decision-making and how we can adapt our approach with fitness and nutrition to compassionately and supportively guide clients to success.
This process also helped me adapt and revise our vision and mission to create a clearer, more vivid picture of our purpose in the lives of the people we serve.
With this new, enhanced mental-health training, our coaches certainly do not diagnose issues—that has to be left to a professional. But our coaches are now trained to observe, ask the right questions, and show compassion and understanding. As they do this, they might need to adapt their clients’ training strategies to refocus on positive habits instead of fitness goals. Or they might need to simplify the decision-making process in free consultations with new prospects.
Our goals are to encourage resilience, strengthen relationships and improve retention. Smart gym owners will also recognize the benefits mental-health training will have on staff members who might be struggling with their own work-life balance or pandemic-related stressors.
To provide your team with new tools, find a mental-health professional in your area or online. Doing so will be one of the most valuable investments you make in your team’s training.