Are you keeping personal training clients accountable?

Personal Training for Life

Are you keeping personal training clients accountable?

09th May 2011

Sometimes in the personal training business, I hear the comment (and have used the comment) “it was the clients fault not mine” when it comes to results. This is a very interesting concept I believe as managing client accountability is becoming more and more important.

In my previous post I talked about the concept of “firing clients” if they aren’t committed to getting results and I believe setting clear and realistic expectations is as important as ever. So how you maintain accountability with clients? Here are some examples I have used :

  • Checklists As human beings, we are creatures of habit. We tend to get caught up in things that we should be doing and not using basic tactics to almost force us to do things. Checklists are a great way to keep track of habits and desired behaviours.
  • Exercise time I got this from the excellent coaching book, “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath. People tend to like routines, if you block out a certain time for exercise, say 10am on a Monday, this is far more effective than ”I need to do 30 minutes worth of x today” It means that time cannot be replaced with something else (easier said than done but it helps!)
  • Food diaries Not a new concept but worth discussing, I have had my issues with this because I believe it can take a lot of work and scare clients off. The truth is though that food journaling is powerful and if used correctly creates great accountability, I just think it needs to managed correctly with clients and not just “chucked” at people
  • Check in calls This one needs the clients permission but regular check in calls or texts to clients can provide great reminders. This can go a little far if over used but positive re-enforcement of goals and encouragement can help clients stay on track

It is very easy to get complacent when it comes to the client experience. There is sometimes an arrogance that clients will be around forever and the fun weekly workout is enough to keep clients happy. I do believe in the new economy, added value and exceptional service are more important than ever before. It could be quite easy to take the eye off the ball when it comes to accountability and also measuring progress with clients.

Another thing to mention is not going too far the other way. It can also be quite easy to be doing checklists, food dairies, body fat tests and numerous other things when the client just wants an hour long release from the stresses of modern life! It comes down to communication with clients and an understanding of what the client wants from the experience. This makes you a better listener and a better trainer.

I would love to hear some ideas about how you manage accountability with clients so please feel free to comment on Twitter, Facebook or Linked In.

- John Hill Inspiring Fitness Personal Trainer