ACE recently hosted a Live Panel discussion entitled “Take Your Coaching & Training Business Online,” which is required viewing for any ACE Certified Professionals who are looking to continue working with their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. With both you and your clients likely house-bound, virtual sessions may be the key to maintaining not only your income, but also your relationships with your clients and their overall well-being.
During the panel discussion, which covered launching and maintaining a virtual coaching business, three key elements kept rising to the fore: communication, connection and consistency.
As any ACE Certified Professional knows, open and honest communication is vital for any client–trainer or client–coach relationship, and this is truer than ever in these trying times. Effective communication is especially important when first reaching out to existing clients to discuss the possibility of using virtual sessions while your facility is closed - and remains vital as you both adjust to this new normal.
Remind clients that physical activity yields a broad spectrum of physical, emotional and psychological benefits and can be an important part of coping with the stress and anxiety that we’re all feeling, not to mention the added sedentary time that likely comes with being at home.
Many of your clients are likely feeling isolated, lonely, anxious or depressed, so the value of being a bright spot in their day and a connection to the outside world cannot be overstated. Ask them how they’re feeling and what they need before beginning each session but be careful not to dwell on the negativity and bad news that is ever-present these days. Keep things positive, stay within your scope of practice and focus on the goals of that session. What your clients hope to gain from their relationship with you may be constantly shifting in the coming weeks and months, so be open-minded and flexible in your approach.
One of the things that the three experts who participated in our panel discussion kept bringing up is clients’ need for consistency. Do your best to bring as much normalcy and consistency to each client’s routine. Mimic the structure, tone and focus of your in-person sessions as much as possible when conducting virtual sessions, as this will help clients feel that their world has not been turned completely upside down. This will also help them stay mentally engaged with their workout routine even though they’re exercising in a new setting and under a completely new set of circumstances.
The ACE Mover Method™
The ACE Mover Method ties directly into the 3 Cs of virtual coaching, as you can use communication and connection to influence consistency for your clients. Let me explain…
The ACE Mover Method is an evidence-based approach to client-centered training that enables you to provide clients with a truly personalized experience that empowers them to take ownership of their fitness journeys. It is built on empathy, trust, communication and collaboration.
The practical side to this philosophy is the ACE ABC Approach™, which involves three steps:
- Ask open-ended questions
- Break down barriers
Asking open-ended questions and actively listening to what each client is struggling with in these unique times is essential. Even if someone is a long-term client with whom you’ve been working for years, his or her barriers to participation are likely completely different than they would have been just weeks ago.
Establishing open and effective communication and building a sense of connectedness with your clients is absolutely vital right now, especially for those clients who are living alone and may feel particularly isolated. The sense of consistency that grows from your virtual sessions—and the communication and connectedness they provide—will help create a feeling of normalcy for your clients, which can be an important element of mental health and overall well-being.
Stated simply, the need for human connection has never been more important, and ACE Certified Professionals have a unique opportunity to serve a vital and enriching role in the lives of their clients precisely when they need it most.
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