Different situations require different leadership techniques.
A Naval Officer told me that the reason he wanted me to stay Navy was due to my grasp on situational leadership. I took this as a huge compliment. It is something I always tried to work on. Frankly, it is something that a lot of coaches seem to lack, so if you are looking for a coach/trainer, this is something you definitely need to be aware of.
If you ARE a coach or trainer, it should be an area of focus.
When examining the education of a typical trainer, its plain to see that there is a lack of regulation. Truthfully, I’m not complaining about this. As someone who is currently working to get a Massage Therapy License in New York, I can say that regulations can be a nightmare. However, there is an overall lack of consistency between trainer certifications. This means the education trainers get ranges from comprehensive to complete nonsense.
Interestingly, there isn’t a requirement for actual, practical coaching and situational leadership with most certifications.
Dealing with people is a bit more complicated than writing an exercise program. It gets even more complicated if you are adding nutritional interventions. Optimizing performance makes this EVEN MORE complicated. People aren’t motivated by screaming or by shaming.
I am often asked about my thoughts on “Bootcamp” styles of training and coaching. Jason Leenarts asked me this when interviewing me on his podcast, my response was straightforward:
Certain types of training have a specific goal in mind. Bootcamp is FANTASTIC…for taking young men and women and preparing them for the structure and regulations of military life. Unfortunately, this type of leadership isn’t needed often, and that INCLUDES after bootcamp, when you are in the military.
Bootcamp type training has a place. Look, I have served almost 13 years in Active Duty Military, and I’ll be the first to tell you that there were more than a few moments when I found myself thankful (and alive) because my basic training kicked in and moved me into action.
However, in normal life, having a trainer running around like Gunny Hartman after finding a jelly doughnut in isn’t going to be the greatest idea, especially if you are looking to have the intrinsic motivation to come back consistently and reach your goals.
All situations require customization based on your individual needs.
Situations may even change by the day. Heck, I have even modified my coaching strategies in the middle of a client’s session. Either I went easier on them, or turned up the intensity a notch. I realize many people call it a cop out to label things “in the grey area”, but leadership and coaching often falls into this zone, so make sure you have a trainer that is experienced enough to adapt to changing circumstances.
As for trainers: Marketing and Sales are important…critical even, but make sure you are putting time in on the floor and studying the COACHING side of fitness. Situational leadership is also important. Not only will this bring clients better results, it will keep them coming back and keep YOU in business.