5 Life-Skills for Effective Strength Coaching

“Success” is a very subjective term. One person’s definition of success may be from a financial standpoint, while another may seek merit based upon accolades, accreditations, or simply the amount of lives they impact. Regardless of a strength coach’s “definition” of success, there are a key life-skills that are seen among coaches and established health and fitness professionals.

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Recently, I was a guest speaker on an Alumni Panel for Columbia University Health and Biobehavioral Sciences, where I had the great opportunity to be joined with fellow coaches, fitness professionals, and researchers. As we discussed what traits and skills were underlying all of the “successes” along our individual journeys, we uncovered five life-skills that effective strength coaches should posses.

Below are five life-skills that effective strength coaches should possess to better educate, facilitate, and develop optimal performance outcomes with athletes and clients.

You Can’t Fake Passion

Sometimes you can “Fake it until you make it.” When it comes to coaching, it can be extremely difficult and energy-sapping interacting with people, endlessly programming, and educating yourself day in and day out. Without passion, your energy will dry up, potentially leaving you to resent the exact things that you once loved. While being passionate about what you do is key for most things in life, strength coaches need to have a strong passion for coaching, fitness, and improving the lives of others through physical and mental training.

Learn to Follow Through

The ability to turn your ideas into action is one that many individuals fail to achieve. I often see this when it comes to exercise programming for athletes and clients, with amazing programs established yet poorly executed. Without the ability to carry out our plans, whether in the gym, business, or life, we are left in a state of limbo. To fully maximize the lives of clients and athletes, strength coaches need to develop a strategy for their growth and development and implement it to the best of their ability.

Communication Is Key

The ability to communicate with athletes, clients, and other coaches is invaluable as a strength coach. Learn to speak clearer, read body language, and listen to others. Communicating with your athletes will allow them to understand your methods clearer, help you monitor their training status and concerns, and develop you into a stronger leader among you following.

Understand the Practical Applications of Everything

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As strength coaches, we are always self-educating ourselves by reading fresh articles, coaching videos, and research journals. While those are a large part of what makes a strength coach a high level influencer, educator, and professional, coaches must learn to sift through all of that and deliver an actionable outcome. Coaches need to have the ability to take content about post activation potentiation, the different phases of the snatch, or force production and then translate it to everyday athletes, non-fitness minded clients, and various levels of coaches. By being able to find the practical, everyday applications of scientific findings and theories will allow strength coaches to follow through, implement, and make significant changes to the lives and performances of their athletes/clients.

Be Compassionate

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Being compassionate doesn’t necessarily mean being a soft coach. Train your athletes hard, treat them with respect, and understand that their will be days where they will be beat up from life stress or training. Coaches need to recognize the signs of overtraining, emotional stress, and learn to display compassion and understanding when it is due. Never let your ego or what’s programmed dictate the outcome of an athlete’s progress. Both coaches and athletes/clients need to have a mutual level of understanding, trust, and respect for one another and the process to fully find results.

Final Thoughts

While these five life-skills are by no means the end all to becoming successful, coaches can use these as fundemental skills to build upon as they grow and further develop their personal strategy for success. Stay humble, stay hungry, and never stop growing (mentally, physically, and socially).

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured Image: j2fit.com

About the author

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Masters in Exercise Physiology from Columbia University in NYC, USA. Mike is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Club Coach (USAW2), and Performance Nutrition Coach. Mike is a sponsored ReebokONE Ambassador specializing in weightlifting, barbell and powerlifting training, and sport-specific strength and conditioning. Additionally, Mike is an Assistant Coach of Strength and Conditioning at NYU and the Co-Founder at J2FIT Human Performance in NYC, USA. Mike is the Founder of The Barbell CEO, a lifestyle brand devoted to the strongest coaches, entrepreneurs, and minds. Additionally, Mike is a co-host on The Fittest League Podcast.