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  • Writer's pictureFarran Mackay

Empowering Coaches: Building Authentic Relationships


Coaching, at its heart, has always been about guiding and nurturing growth. But in the realm of functional fitness, it's not merely about mastering physical movements. The role of a coach goes further than teaching the techniques for a virtuous ring muscle up or a snatch. At the center of impactful coaching is the art of cultivating genuine, meaningful relationships. As coaches and affiliate owners, our greatest impact isn’t just in how we teach the methodology but in how deeply we resonate with the unique stories and motivations of each of our member.s


The Surface "Why"

Every individual who walks through the doors of a affiliate carries with them a dream or a goal. Whether they voice it as, “I want to lose 5kg” or “I want to boost my endurance,” these are their immediate objectives. And while honoring these objectives is paramount, they're often just the tip of the iceberg. The challenge and reward lie in exploring the deeper currents beneath. For instance, understanding the 'why' behind the 5kg weight loss - whether it stems from health concerns, personal milestones, or emotional healing - unlocks a set of insights that can guide our coaching practices.


Digging Deeper

The difference between a good coach and a transformative one often rests in their willingness and skill in initiating deeper, more profound conversations. Surface-level interactions might provide an outline, but delving deeper helps fill in the details in how we can support someone to reach their goals. When we take the time to genuinely ask and understand why a member has set a particular goal, we’re signaling a deeper level of care. This concern goes further than reps and sets - it touches on their broader life, which can be immensely motivating for them.


The Shift in Mindset

Being an effective coach in today's age requires a shift in thinking. While traditional coaching might emphasise the aspect of knowledge sharing, contemporary coaching embraces a more relational ethos. Consider the contrasting impact of two coaches with identical abilities in teaching, seeing and correcting. The first coach might dispense knowledge efficiently, while the second weaves in personalised guidance by understanding each member's life context. Over time, the second coach not only produces better physical results but also supports longer term behavioural changes and nurtures a robust, interconnected community.


Creating Moments

Genuine relationship-building isn't based on grand, sweeping gestures. More often, it's rooted in the accumulation of small, impactful moments. A few extra minutes of conversation post-workout, a mid-week check-in for a member facing challenges, or celebrating non-fitness milestones can weave a rich feeling of trust and connection. These seemingly simple acts often resonate the most, reminding members that they are seen, valued, and belong to a community that cares about them beyond the training itself.


Be Confident in Your Own Skin

Embracing the role of a relationship-first coach demands a large level of self-confidence, one that takes time, reflection, and experience to develop. This confidence isn't about showcasing perfection; instead, it's about authenticity and embracing our humanity as coaches. In fact, being genuine often means recognising and acknowledging the limits of our own knowledge. It's about admitting when we don’t have all the answers and showing a willingness to learn and adapt.


There's an immense strength in this type of vulnerability. When we expose our authentic selves, we drop the mask of being the 'all-knowing' coach and instead present ourselves as real people with real emotions and experiences. Members, more often than not, appreciate this genuineness. They aren't in search of perfect gurus who seem to have every answer. Rather, they yearn for authentic guides - individuals who can continue on their fitness journey right alongside them.


This journey is filled with peaks and valleys. As coaches, our role isn't just to celebrate the peaks, the personal bests, and the breakthroughs. It's equally essential to be there during the valleys, navigating setbacks, injuries, or motivational lulls. By being true to ourselves, by being confident in our own skin, we support an environment where every success is celebrated, every setback is an opportunity for growth, and every member feels genuinely seen and supported. This holistic approach solidifies trust, fosters deep connections, and establishes a foundation for lasting, impactful relationships.


The authentic coach journey

At its core, CrossFit ® is a celebration of human potential and community. As stewards of this movement, our responsibility expands beyond mere instruction. We're called upon to be listeners, empathizers, and genuine supporters. By forging deeper connections and understanding the intricate 'whys' of our members, we can elevate our coaching impact. Our task isn’t just to facilitate physical transformations but to champion holistic growth, ensuring every member feels supported, understood, and inspired in their journey.


Supporting all aspects of coaching

At Virtuous Coach Development, we're committed to addressing all facets of coach development, and understanding people is just as crucial as any other aspect of coaching. Whether it's at the affiliate, team, or individual level with our support, expertise, and experience, you'll develop the tailor-made knowledge and skills essential to elevate your coaching game (or that of your team).


Feel free to schedule a call to have a chat over coffee (or whatever you want!) about your affiliate, team, or your own coaching.

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