“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

A photo posted by @strong_by_science on

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

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

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.