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7 Principles to Becoming a World Class Trainer/Coach Part 1 & 2

atlanta crossfit dr. danny physical therapy running May 06, 2015

“80% of success is just showing up, the remaining 20% is based on knowledge, skill and execution.” Woody Allen

Part I

If you’re a coach/trainer you have entered a vitally important career. You get to help people be healthier, stronger, happier and live longer more fulfilled lives. It’s an amazing time to be in this career field as well. More than ever, wellness and health are being prioritized.

If you’ve chosen to be a coach, you’ve also chosen to be a slave to learning the rest of your life. That’s right, you will continually have to read, listen to podcasts, watch webinars and attend courses. You don’t just get your certification and that’s it. For some coaches, this is what they love most about their job (me included). They have an insatiable drive to learn more and become better and better. Others struggle to find time to continue learning. If you have kids, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

I’m a huge fan of reading. Not just physical therapy, medical or strength and conditioning material. I love reading personal development, business, psychology, marketing, sales and even fiction.

One of my favorite books is The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. This is particularly important to read if you’re in a field like a strength coach or the medical field. Anyone can become a CrossFit coach, personal trainer or physical therapist. Within these sub-specialities there are different levels of knowledge level, skill and experience. If you want to be the best in your career field, use the principles of the slight edge.

1. Show Up
Think of people you know that aren’t naturally the smartest or most talented. I graduated no where near the top of my class in PT school. I know tons of PTs that are smarter than I am. The difference in my mind is that I show up everyday. I grind away at being the best I can be every day. I’m obsessed with being the best PT/coach in the country. Show up and do the work, everyday.

2. Be Consistent
This could honestly apply to any problem you are having in life. Having marriage difficulty? Make a decision to work on it consistently with your spouse everyday. Overweight? Clean up your diet, take a picture of every meal you eat and post it on Facebook everyday. Have a shitty job? Start studying a new career field. Read a chapter of a book everyday. Once you’ve finished that book, get another.

3. Have a Good Attitude
I love the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Napoleon Hill (not Napoleon Dynamite or Napoleon Bonaparte!). This is actually the second best selling book of all time behind the Bible. If you haven’t read this you should.  A positive attitude will get you very far in life. Try this, next time you go to the store. Smile at whoever is working the checkout lane you’re going to. Genuinely ask them how their day is going. Watch their face light up. You might just have made their day.

This is the same for our clients/members/athletes. It can be hard enough to drag your ass to the gym. It sure helps if you know your coach is going to be nothing be positive when you get their.

Part II

“Success isn’t owned, it’s leased and rent is due everyday.” JJ Watt

In part one, I went over the first 3 principles to one of my favorite books, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. In this post we will finish with the last 4 principles. These principles are time tested and the truth. Following them will do nothing but improve your coaching skill and life.

4. Be Committed For a Long Period of Time
Most people commit to things for a week at most. I love what I call the “Good Idea Fairies”. These are people that come up with great ideas all the time. They freak out over their awesome idea for about a week and then realize that it won’t happen overnight. Progress is slow, becoming great is a long process. You have to commit or you’ll end up being complacent and stalling. Give yourself a year. Commit to that year and set shorter term goals during the course of that 12 months. Starting is easy, finishing is hard.

5. Have Faith and a Burning Desire
If you’re reading this you probably already have number 5 taken care of. If not, hopefully I’ve inspired you by this point to be the best coach you can be. I look at progression and learning as a competition. I hate losing more than I like to win. In college, I kicked a kid off my flag football team during the middle of a game (sorry Mr. Anderson, but you were killing us). Make being the best coach your competition. Get mad when another coach is better than you. Put that competitive drive to work to improve your skill set, get better results, and make more money!

6. Be Willing to Pay the Price
Being the best is not easy. As I write this my entire family is asleep. I had a 6 am patient this morning and I’ve already put in about 10 hours of work today. Progressing is not easy. You have to decide what things you can sacrifice to achieve your goals.

It can also be expensive. I recently went to a weekend course that cost me about $2000. That’s a lot of money to me. It’s important to invest in yourself and your progress as a coach/medical provider. Pay for continuing education, buy books, go to courses. Meet other coaches, build your network. Don’t just look at the price, think of education as an investment in yourself.

7. Practice Slight Edge Integrity
This is defined as what you do when no one is watching. Don’t be the kind of person that only wants to help or do something difficult when your boss/someone you’re trying to impress is around. We had a name for these people when I was in the Army, we called them Spotlight Rangers. I absolutely hate people like this and after a short period of time they become very transparent.

Work each day as if your mentor was standing right behind you. If you don’t have a mentor, get one. Do you think your mentor would approve of you surfing through Facebook for an hour looking at a bunch of worthless crap?

The coach/trainers are the tip of the spear. You’re so much more important than you may even think. You’re an integral part of our current medical model and fill a much needed role in our society. Don’t undervalue yourself and don’t assume that you’re just a coach. You have a profound effect on people’s lives. Follow the 7 principles from this book, you’ll be the best you can be for your athletes and they’ll love you for it!

-Dr. Danny, PT, DPT

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