The Characteristics of a Walking Trainer
What Skills Walking Leaders Should Have?
1. Exhibit strong leadership
Being a strong leader is critical to being a successful walking trainer. Leadership involves the following principles:
- Lead by example: Be a role model by modeling healthy lifestyle habits and training routines
- Provide positive reinforcement: Celebrate the big (and small!) wins of trainees to keep them engaged and motivated
- Act with confidence and passion: Create an atmosphere that is fun for learning, led by a trainer who is eager to teach
- Demonstrate success: Clients are more likely to return when they see measurable results on their training goals
2. Possess knowledge on health and fitness
Demonstrating a strong foundation in health and fitness topics will gain the trust and respect of your clients. Clients may have questions ranging from a variety of fitness topics, from gear and clothing to dieting tips and workout routines. While you are not expected to be an expert in the full range of health and fitness subjects, remain open to client questions. Perform the research necessary to help answer your client’s questions to demonstrate responsibility and accountability.
3. Provide effective and engaging instruction
Being an effective walking trainer ensures client success. Effective instruction involves adjusting lessons to support different learning styles and tailoring sessions to make them interesting and engaging. Another way to motivate clients is to involve them in the learning process. When clients are in charge of a portion of the lesson, they become invested in the success of the walking group and are more likely to come back.
1. Act professionally
Professionalism is important in succeeding as a walking trainer. While personal fitness may seem like an industry that is casual, it is critical to maintain a level of professionalism. Clients respect trainers who take their job seriously and are reliable and accountable. While personal disputes or personality clashes may come up during the training sessions, staying professional goes a long way in maintaining the client-trainer relationship. This level of professionalism will also open up future opportunities for future referrals and new clients.
2. Be accountable
Accountability is key to success as a walking trainer. Providing a high-quality experience is essential to retaining loyal customers. To gain client trust, trainers should follow the following guidelines:
- Arrive at sessions on time
- Communicate clearly about scheduling and cancellation changes
- Come prepared with necessary equipment and lesson plans
By being accountable, walking trainers can inspire clients to do the same. When you arrive on time, prepared, and excited to lead a walking session, clients are also likely to arrive on time, prepared, and committed to participating.
3. Showcase agility
Another component of walking trainer success is agility or flexibility. In demonstrating flexibility and quick decision-making, trainers can improve the quality and success of the walking sessions. Given the nature of fitness training, unexpected issues may arise such as late arrivals, differences in skill level, last-minute cancellations, and bad weather. Trainers should be comfortable with quick decision-making to manage any upcoming issues. Being agile and flexible helps trainers to respond to issues on-the-spot and ensure training sessions run smoothly.
The Client Relationship
1. Practice active listening
Being a good listener is essential to establishing a strong connection with clients. Creating a welcoming environment allows clients to open up about themselves, share their goals and discuss their vulnerabilities. When trainers know more about their clients, they can better adjust the training to meet the client’s needs and motivate them. By establishing a relationship based on trust and listening, clients will feel more comfortable coming back to future sessions.
2. Notice the small things
The best walking trainers are good at being observant. Clients constantly send signals to trainers about their needs, fears, and motivations. These may be different from what they say. Noticing physical signs such as facial expressions, tone or body language can help you have an insight into the client’s state of mind. Being aware of client behavior is critical to designing training lessons that are effective and ensuring clients feel comfortable to come back.
3. Showcase empathy and humility
Being understanding is important when trying to create a connection with your clients. Empathy and humility give you the insight you need to notice any underlying issues. At times, clients may not follow your recommendations or they may disregard your advice. Instead of being frustrated, try approaching them with understanding. Put yourself in their shoes: what are they feeling that’s making them be dismissive? Are they nervous? Frustrated? Confused? Seeing things from your client’s point of view helps you create a strong and positive relationship.
4. Bring passion and a positive attitude
Having passion in walking training is important in order to ensure your clients are engaged. Passion can come in many forms, including using motivational language, having positive energy, and dedicating your time and attention to the client. Successful trainers go above and beyond the call of duty by communicating with clients outside of class, answering their questions, and keeping up the excitement in between sessions.
Enthusiasm is contagious, so exhibiting a positive attitude with your clients will reflect back on them. Clients will be more motivated when they feed off your energy. Physical training and personal fitness can be hard, so creating a fun and positive environment can help reduce the stress and keep clients coming back.
Watch the video below to learn about how different people perceive exercise and how you can help your client.