Developmental Pillars for Movement Coaches | Part 1

Over the years, I’ve referred to myself as a personal trainer, sports performance coach, strength and conditioning coach, performance coach, and most recently simply as a ‘movement’ coach. I’d like to think that getting better at what we do as coaches boils down to something as simple as coaching someone to ‘move,’ though I know that to be an incomplete description at best.

Being an effective personal trainer or movement coach has less to do with telling someone what to do and more to do with how you help them change their lifestyle. People can move, breathe, and sweat all on their own, without any direct or indirect input from you as a trainer or coach. So the nagging question is: “Why do they keep coming back to see you week after week?”

Trust me when I say I could go go down quite a few different rabbit holes when thinking of answers to this question. I think we’re all looking for something when we sign up to start something new or buy something that claims a special benefit. In the fitness industry it seems that the unspoken, but consistent ‘something’ that we’re looking for is to develop a movement skill in our body that we didn’t previously have, for the purpose of doing something new with our bodies and therefore building new levels of confidence to face the rising challenges in everyday life. That ‘something’ is not easily come by. And it’s certainly not attained by exercising to “lose weight.”

The ingenuity that arises when our bodies are faced with a true movement obstacle is similar to the creative ideas that we come up with when up against a seemingly insurmountable challenge in our lives. Whatever kind of coach you call yourself, I believe there are three main pillars you need to focus on developing if you want to continue to hone your craft to create better experiences, outcomes, and growth for the people you decide to work with; Technical, Coaching, and Entrepreneurship.

Technical skills are what most movement coaches focus on developing already. How many weekend certifications have you attended? How many letters can you tag on after your name?

Coaching skills are developed with less frequency, to the detriment of our industry. It doesn’t matter how technically sound your exercises or programs are if you’re unable to get the athlete to do what they need to do to evolve.

For the most part, Entrepreneurship skills are pretty much neglected by most trainers and coaches. I believe these skills are what separates the experience of working with you from that of working with other coaches. Developing these skills will also help you to make informed choices regarding your career trajectory.

Over the coming months, I’ll be adding more to this post to delve deeper into each of these pillars and how you can begin to maximize your growth in each.

P.S. – Since this is a living document, please share your thoughts and questions so it can be updated to always provide the most up-to-date and relevant information for fellow colleagues.

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Chris Gaines

I help people discover the impact of athleticism in their everyday life. With that clarity, they navigate misconceptions around fitness. With that focus, they pursue movement skills with intention and a larger purpose. All so they can face life's everyday challenges and grow with confidence.

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