For Instructors

The right instructor/trainer

I was chatting with a colleague the other day, and she started to ask about trainers at the gym I now teach at.  She inquired about who I knew and what their personalities were like--which led me to ask, "Are you thinking about finding a trainer?".  She shared with me that she had a trainer in the past, but that the trainer's personality didn't seem to work with hers--it seemed that the motivation the trainer used didn't mesh well and instead of being motivating, it would up making my colleague feel guilty.  Let me share in more detail. So my colleague sought this trainer out as a means of upping her running skills. The trainer, however, would use comments such as, "Come on, don't you want to be able to keep up with your children?" to motivate her. Unfortunately, this type of talk during sessions wound up making my colleague feel guilty, rather than inspired to work harder. In fact, every time she then did not achieve a goal set by her trainer, it led to feelings of guilt. 

My colleague and I discussed how important the trainer/instructor relationship can be with clients/students.  Some people WOULD certainly like motivation that might be tapping into their guilty conscience, whereas others might be more motivated by positive psychology type encouragement.  I told her that what she needs to do is find that trainer who will be tough and hold her accountable, but encourages her to strive for herself without reasons to feel guilty when a mark isn't always hit.  I tried to tell her that my approach to working with others is to encourage them to do their best because with a challenge set forth, most people can meet it, or work to meet it with encouragement and training. 

Folks out there, how do you feel your training style encourages/motivates others? What negative encounters have you had with trainers/instructors that have taught you about what to do differently as you move forward in your fitness career?

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