As a coach, I genuinely enjoy teaching people and helping people. If I am in a position to, I will help anyone who needs it, no matter what level. Sure, I work with some incredible world class athletes, but not exclusively. I work with far more beginner and intermediate level athletes. What all these people have in common is a commitment to themselves.
My mum and dad used to tell me that they could only help me if I helped myself. So I did. I helped myself to whatever was in the chocolate cupboard – guess that’s not quite what they meant. Actually, I got what they meant, but what I didn’t understand was how frustrating it must have been from their point of view when they put everything into helping me, and generally received half-assed commitment back in return. (Think typical teenager.)
Here’s how I roll – if you ask for my help, if I can, I will help you. And if I help you, I will put everything I have into helping you. Whatever your ask for my help on, be it with your training, coaching, programming, schedule, technique, or anything else, my only request is that you put everything you can into helping yourself.
Don’t be that lifter who asks for my help then does something else. Help me to help you.
Don’t Ask Me, Then Ask Everyone Else
I believe putting yourself in a variety of different coached situations is wise and beneficial. I would be honored to be included in that mix. However, if you come to me for help with a specific issue, and I put time, resources, and energy into helping you, then don’t shrug off my solution only to ask one of my peers the same thing straight away.
Help me to help you: If you’re planning to solicit different opinions (and there’s nothing wrong with that), that’s fine. Just let me know so I give you my best opinion rather than my best solution.
Asking questions is one thing. Moaning and whining is another. If you’ve asked for my help, be prepared for an answer for which you may be unprepared. You’ve asked for my help because you’re not sure how to progress yourself, or you feel you could do it better with my help.
Help me to help you: Before you decide that it’s too hard/not enough/not what you expected/not worth it, give it a go with an open mind, a closed mouth, and a full heart.
Don’t Leave Out the Stuff You Don’t Like
You came to me for help. I’ve given you my best solution in terms of how you can improve. So realize that my response will probably include things you wouldn’t come up with yourself. There’s a high chance that a high proportion of your plan will include aspects you don’t like or can’t do. That probably means you need to do this stuff.
Help me to help you: If you are truly restricted from doing anything I give you, physically or otherwise, then please let me know. If not, then please do what I have given you in its entirety. Not only do you likely need to improve the stuff you don’t like, but the total benefit of what I give you is greater than the sum of its parts.
Don’t Leave It a While
If you ask me a question about your training, you’ll often get a barrage of questions back before you get an answer. I’ll tend ask you about your past, present, and future, and base my reply to you on those answers. In other words, my assistance to you will be based specifically on your current situation.
Help me to help you: If you’re not planning to go ahead for a while, then let me know so I can tailor my response accordingly. If you genuinely get held up from starting on my recommended course of action, let me know and I’ll rework things. If you’re just putting it off – get the hell on with it.
Don’t Mess With the Plan, Then Tell Everyone It Didn’t Work
If I’ve given you something to be getting on with, which you don’t get on with, you have not done what I told you. If you modify what I tell you to “suit your own needs” (bearing in mind I have already done this), you have not done what I told you. If you do parts of it, but leave out other parts, you’ve not done what I told you.
Help me to help you: I’ll take full responsibility if a solution I give you doesn’t work. But if you do anything other than exactly what I have given you, then don’t come back to me and tell me what I gave you didn’t work. And absolutely don’t go and tell everyone what I gave you didn’t work for you unless you worked for it.
Don’t Give It to Your Friends
If I find out that someone has passed on a tip or technique he or she learned through me, it makes me smile. If I find out that someone has passed on a course handbook, video, program, or other whole product or service he or she acquired through me, it makes me upset. I love to help people, but I need to feed my family, too.
Help me to help you: Tell your friends, yes. Give it to your friends, no. Even if you got a resource from me for free (for example, as a thank you for signing up to a course). I know you know the line, so please don’t cross it. I have worked hard to create these products and services, so let me decide what I want in exchange for them.
Don’t Compare Yourself to My Other Clients
If you ask me for assistance, I’m not going to give you some cookie-cutter answer. I will ask questions of you, assess your specific situation, and provide a solution accordingly. Therefore, what I give you is unique to you. It has no relevance to anyone else, and it’s no-one else’s concern. In the same way, the solution I have given someone else is none of your concern. You might be “exactly the same” as your training partner in your eyes, but not in mine.
Help me to help you: Realize that I’ve taken the time to come up with a way forward that is unique to you. Understand the fact that your approach is less work, more work, half as fun, or taking twice as long as someone else’s approach is irrelevant to all parties.
I understand that following a plan to the letter is, for most of us, highly unlikely. Life gets in the way of best laid plans at the best of times. But take a look at what I’ve asked of you above. Few, if any, of these points have to do with how busy you are. They are about having integrity, passion and, commitment as an athlete, client, and most of all as a person. They are about respecting me, respecting the process, and most important, respecting yourself.
Photos courtesy of Strength Education.