How do you approach non-expert coaching? How do you address coaching outside your expertise or comfort zone? Niki & CJ discuss how to handle this hurdle!
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Non-Expert Coaching: Identifying the Client’s Why
How do you approach a client who has a goal or endeavor that lies outside your expertise?
Similar to any change in goals for a client, even if it remains well within your wheelhouse, you should learn, and maybe even help your client identify, why she wants this new goal.
What may have happened, and what CJ discusses, is how a deep, important goal can initially be subsumed into a shorter, more concrete goal of “get stronger.”
You talk to your client, and the client agrees to get stronger for a bit. She enjoys it, she likes some of the changes that come with it. Still, the underlying goals haven’t changed and haven’t been reached.
As CJ & Niki discuss, this might involve referring the client to another coach or professional (e.g. maybe they have underlying mental health issues that require a mental health professional).
Similarly, though within the physical health realm, a client may want to compete in competitive bodybuilding. This comes with many skills that don’t involve simply lifting, so it is likely – unless you yourself come from a bodybuilding background – that you might need to refer your client to someone who can better help her achieve her goals.
Non-Expert Coaching: Different Paths Ahead
Once the deeper why(s) have been identified, the path ahead needs to be identified and agreed to.
Another consideration, besides the purpose, is the level of desired skill. Completing a 5k run is different than qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Dabbling in Olympic weightlifting is different than setting the state record.
You might continue to train the client, but have the client take care of that particular physical endeavor herself.
You might recommend a professional coach who can help with her new endeavor, while you continue providing strength training. Or, that coach may take over primary coaching responsibilities.
Lastly, you may decide to help the client with her endeavor.
Regardless of which route you agree upon, ultimately you need to be honest and transparent about your experience and knowledge level. In losing a client, you may still gain future clients, as the entire experience was so positive that she’ll recommend you to her friend, family, and colleagues.