The 5 soft skills
This is the magic! This is the biggest differentiator for us.
This is the difference between a good coach and a great coach. You should be 100% invested and carrying the energy of the room. We coach from a place of empathy. (Not sympathy.)
Empathy can be driven by tone - expressing authority and control, but also conversational and approachable. Empathy can only be obtained in this setting when the lead coach has the following key components:
The confidence to manage all of the smaller components of class - lights, music, prepping movements, etc.
Has done the workout and knows exactly how it feels and communicates that, along with a strategy to help people be successful.
Actively working on making personal connections with people in the room.
Not one piece of the training session should sound the same, empathetically. Just like no one piece of the workout feels the same physically/mentally. The coach has to be able to understand/relate to this and deliver this experience. That means, they have to have done the workout and understand the pain points/when it feels the hardest and be able to speak to that. They have to keep flyers inspired to keep pushing through. A big part of this is making it goal oriented.
Body language is critical in establishing credibility with the flyers. If you look like you know what’s going on, they will believe that you do. If you look unsure, they won’t trust you and the experience will fall apart. You are taking them through something very challenging in a vulnerable state. If they don’t think you know what’s going on, they won’t listen to you. Here are some keys to success:
Act like you’re the head coach! Own the room.
Use gestures to make a point. For example, while your assist is demoing push up, interact with the position of the assist to make a point - lumbar curve in spine, slightly tucking hips under, etc.
Demonstrate confidence and ownership of the class by staying closely connected with them, physically. If they’re running on the treads, spend a little time working the room. Don’t stay in one spot - make everyone feel your energy and presence.
Here are some key “don’ts”:
Don’t cross arms, no hands in pockets
Don’t just cheer people on
Don’t correct someone until you’ve established a connection
Command the room
Give flyers direct and actionable cues so they know that you know what you want. Keep everything simple and concise. The more words you use the more complicated it can get. Everything that is said should have a purpose and impact the flier. For example: “Put kb up by mirror and stand on your tread.” vs. “get equipment out of the way when you’re done.”
Cheering people on is fine, to a point but that is not your job. Your job is to coach them. That is very different than cheering them on. You can only cheer them on if you’ve coached them and they know exactly what you’re looking for.
Connect 1 on 1
Connection has to happen in order to be approachable and for people to receive your feedback. The first words to a flier can’t be a correction. Find a way to connect with them, even if it’s just a welcome in the beginning of class. You have to build rapport in order to give them meaningful feedback. We connect before we correct. It is only then that your words will truly be heard.
Sensitivity and vulnerability are also critical. Be sensitive of people’s limitations, their idiosyncrasies, and old habits. They are in class because they want to get better, but change is hard, so be sensitive of what you’re asking them to do.
You are running a team training session that feels very personalized. You have to figure out how to include everyone. You have to find ways to get everyone involved.