Coaching & Academy Q&A – #378
Matt & CJ Gotcher answer your questions about the Academy and coaching, including when you should fire a client, how Matt’s coaching practice has changed, the PBC process, and how to know if coaching is NOT right for you.
CJ Gotcher is a staff coach for Barbell Logic and the Academy Director.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your answered answered BOTH via email and on a future Q&A episode.
1:57 Firing a Client
As a coach–or really anyone in the service industry–you will eventually come across a client who you no longer wish to serve. Often, this comes from repeatedly crossing boundaries. Often the coach is not a good fit for that person–it doesn’t mean that the client is a bad person.
How could I do this better? Often, that client needs a different coach who can better serve them. This is a great aspect of Barbell Logic, that we can usually find a different coach to better serve that client.
Occasionally, a client may habitually cross boundaries–the term “malevolent” pops up–and you should not feel like you need to protect yourself from the client. That is a sign you might need to fire a client.
7:02 How Has Matt’s Coaching Practice Changed?
We’ve moved from strength at all costs to strength as a tool to improve quality of life. There are other things important beyond strength training. We still value barbells and think barbells are a fantastic tool to improve quality of life.
What is the client life-cycle? Matt has hit big squat and deadlift PRs, but he’s okay with the idea that he never will again. He recognizes the sacrifices it would take to hit another PR, and he doesn’t want to make them.
11:32 Credibility in Coaching – Clients’ Wants vs Needs
Have to realize that a new client has not necessarily bought in fully to your training paradigm, that you have to build credibility. For whatever reason, they’ve come to you, but you were likely one of multiple options.
What really matters–to you and the client? For example, if the client wants to compete in powerlifting and won’t squat, that’s a problem. If, however, the client wants to sumo deadlift and you think the conventional deadlift is better, how important is that to you? Can the client still accomplish his or her goals?
For example, Matt now has Gillian Ward coaching him for strength (already a nutrition client). Matt is beat up from years of Strong Man & Powerlifting. Gillian has been asking how exercises feel, if they hurt, if they do hurt, where and how much? She is building trust and problem-solving and not pushing Matt into a cookie-cutter program.
16:26 Is Coaching NOT For Me?
Just because you love to lift, doesn’t mean you’ll love coaching or be a great coach. If you don’t really care about people, that’s a red flag. Really ask yourself if you enjoy it? If you feel some resistance, which aspects of coaching might you not enjoy (because you will always not enjoy SOMETHING about a certain job or profession).
There are lots of different demographics and types of coaching, so experiment and see if a different demographic or type is better.
23:33 Training Older Men
Can I find guard rails where they can push themselves (maybe a super heavy low bar squat can’t be pushed, but what about some accessories or box squats or stressing the deadlift).
Educate them on why you’re doing what you’re doing.
A huge trust-builder here is to be more right about their experience than they are (eg they hammer themselves on Wednesday with extra volume after you’ve pushed less volume, have a discussion with them after they bonk on Friday–not an “I told you so” but a moment for education).
27:43 How Frequent is the Academy?
It’s at your own pace in an online learning environment. There are optional events, but you complete it when and where you want.
Also, there is the Advanced where you can deep dive into a subject you need to focus on.
30:26 Long-Legged Athletes-Squatting & Pulling
They’re going to look more bent over, but can also be too bent over. CJ finds himself using overcorrection cues “overcues.”
Most people aren’t made to squat AND pull well. So, there are tradeoffs (Kirk Karwoski versus Ed Coan).
33:42 Beginning to Charge Clients Money
It really should be as early as possible, because the money–even if it’s not much–gives the client skin in the game. The flipside is you need to know that you can provide value to them.
How Not to Totally Suck as a Coach is a good article to Read. Make the exchange explicit–it might not be monetary.
38:56 In-Person & Online Coaching Hybrid Model?
It depends on your situation, but it can definitely work. The general model might look like an introductory session or sessions and then go to a cheaper, online model that stresses accountability, programming, and just technique tweaks & reminders.
40:55 Coaching as a Side Gig?
Is coaching worthwhile as a side gig? It depends. You have to enjoy and be good at coaching. You can certainly MED your way into coaching. It’s DEFINITELY better than quitting your accounting job and going “all in” on coaching and “swing for the fences.”
46:27 Best Way to Work at BLOC?
We’re not doing interviews & looking at resumes anymore. If you want to work at BLOC, go through the Academy, earn your PBC, and this is your BEST way to work at BLOC. It’s not a guarantee, but it gives us a good way to evaluate you and your fit for BLOC.
49:50 Coaching My Parents…AAGH!
Make it fun, limit the whole “I’m the expert,” and ensure you’re providing value–maybe you find another option.
51:40 What is the PBC Process?
First, yes, you can apply for the PBC without having gone through the Academy (you are forewarned, the failure rate is much higher for those who have not gone through the Academy).
The written exam is done first and you will do it on Zoom so we can see and observe you taking the exam. The exam is designed that you do not have enough time to look up the answers–if you came in and planned to look up all the answers on your phone, you will fail.
If you failed, you will know which sections caused you to fail (eg you did well on 3 sections but were weak on programming & biomechanics).
The next step–if you pass the written exam–is to schedule and go through an interview. Right now Andrew & Niki are doing them, but that may change.
Lastly, you go through the virtual platform evaluation. You will be coaching a real person, whom YOU must find. You submit videos of yourself taking them through the teaching progressions and working sets and submit that to a current PBC. We want to see how you coach in your own space.
The virtual exams allows the evaluator to provide better feedback on why you failed (if you fail). For example, the 3rd set of the squats, what error did you miss? What might you have cued? You can see what the evaluator saw and get feedback on what you need to work on.
If you pass, you join the PBC registry and receive your physical PBC certificate in the mail.