Many times, we talk about the perspective of the coach...because well, that’s what we are.
We talk about how to write a good nutrition plan.
We talk about what you as the consumer should be paying attention to in a “good” coach.
We talk a lot about what the nutrition and fitness industry is doing poorly.
Today, we want to flip the script.
And talk about YOU.
The consumer, the client, the avid reader.
What makes a client ‘great’?
Is it the amount of weight lost? In our experience, not really. Some of our favorite clients never had a weight loss goal and never saw a change in body weight. It can’t really be that.
Is it the most “all in” client? The most ready to make changes and do whatever it is we tell them? Also, no!
Not that we don’t love readiness in a client, but we want SOME critical thinking. A client who says “just tell me what to do” has their work cut out for them. They’re likely the most yo-yo clients of them all who struggle with any kind of adherence and consistency the second their coach is out of sight.
So what is it? Let’s dive into it.
Over the years offering nutrition services, we’ve worked with hundreds of people.
Some great and some a bit more challenging.
In that time, we’ve discovered some key characteristics amongst some of our BEST clients.
Honesty and openness
Now let’s break down each of these characteristics.
This is probably the top characteristic of a great client.
This isn’t blind trust. We’re not saying to not think critically.
But if you don’t trust your coach, why are you paying them money? How can you expect to do anything they say?
Instead of fighting your coach, recognize you HIRED them for a reason, paying them YOUR money, and trust that they have your best intentions in their plan. IF YOU DON’T TRUST THEM, LEAVE THEM.
A client who trusts their coach gets more progress than a second-guessing client ever will. Usually because adherence and consistency is simply better. It’s also just QUICKER. We see often coaches who need to first “earn” the trust of their client...but why? Instead of wasting yours and their time, talk to them before hiring them to see if they’re someone you trust.
Thinking critically is different. Blindly trusting a coach isn’t what we’re talking about. A coach SHOULD earn your trust...just hopefully doesn’t take 3 months to do so. If they are recommending things that set off your red flag signals, you should listen to that completely.
Give your coach the trust that you’re paying for. Constantly fighting them every step of the way...just because...is ultimately wasting their time and your money. IF they suggest doing something, give it a shot and report back with data. If it didn’t work, a good coach will attempt pivoting or diving deeper. But give them the effort first before second guessing them.
Woof, this one.
Let’s be honest. Communication is something many in the 21st century struggle with. If you are working with a coach, you should feel open to communicating with them.
That includes the good, the bad.
It includes communicating what is working and what isn’t.
It includes letting your coach know ahead of time what [and when] big things are coming up. Your coach CANNOT help you if you pop up on Monday telling them how much you struggled during that marathon you ran on Sunday (but didn’t let them know). They can’t help you if you had a wedding to attend or moved homes that weekend and didn’t let them know or let them know with a day in advance.
It also includes letting your coach know when you plan on terminating services. Ghosting is not only a shit tactic, but also puts your coach in a tough position on violating their contract & policies out of guilt for continuing to charge your account. Ghosting is unfortunately a top way of quitting amongst health & wellness services. We had a client whose therapist ghosted them! There’s a more mature way of doing it. You owe your coach the decency of letting them know you no longer plan on working with them. Our mission here at Clar-e-ty is that you never need a nutrition coach again. THAT means you can’t work with us forever. We’re sad to see a client go simply because we probably like them as a person. It also means we’ve done our job well.
We currently have a client who signed up for coaching back in August of 2022. They let their Clar-e-ty Coach know ahead of time of every event/challenge coming up. They worked together to decide on an effective gameplan. After each event, they reevaluated. What worked? What didn’t? What to keep for next time and what to get rid of? In 2-3 months, this client traveled, had family in town, had THREE holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, & upcoming Christmas), was sick, had a birthday, spouse’s birthday, AND wedding anniversary. Guess what? THEY CRUSHED IT. In this time, this client has lost 5+lbs, consistently consumed 2000+ calories, and is VERY close to reaching desired body weight goals set when we first started. THAT is the sign of a great client with active communication so we can be effective coaches.
We can’t say it enough, but it takes time.
It takes longer than 30 days.
We’d argue it takes longer than 3 months, even a year.
Even if you set the intention *and stuck to it* for 1000 days, you STILL wouldn’t be perfect.
Except clients who want to rush the process, not give it the time it actually takes, gives their coach less than 90 days usually to change a lifetime of habits. The truth of the matter is that it just takes longer.
The more time and reps you put in, the more habitual it comes. The thing that differs when it comes to nutrition is that you will ALWAYS eat. While you can quit a job, quit the gym, quit saving money, etc., you can’t just quit eating. That means it’s a lifelong endeavor. If you think being a bully to yourself for 90 days is the solution...ask yourself if you can maintain that for life? Probably not. TIME and PATIENCE are essential in accepting.
With patience also comes compassion. It brings kindness for when life happens. It means accepting that progress is NOT linear, no matter how much you may want it to be. There will always be setbacks. There will always be distractions. While it may be important to work with your coach in discussing how to not let every set back ruin progress and take you back 20 steps, some acceptance here is important.
The clients who understand that time is absolutely necessary and that it’s a never-ending journey, even once you’re done with coaching, see lasting results. If you plan to just quit all the habits you put into place the second your coach is gone, then why waste your time and money?
RADICAL SELF RESPONSIBILITY
Where can you hold YOURSELF accountable? Where can you look inward and take some personal radical responsibility for why your results haven’t happened?
This isn’t meant to victim blame.
NO ONE IS PERFECT.
Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?
Are you stubbornly fighting your coach/trainer/etc. every step of the way rather than keeping an open & trusting mind? Are you letting weekends, bad days, and any inconvenience affect your willingness to show up and do the work? Are you lacking intentions and awareness into things you’re trying to change? Are you refusing to let off the gas pedal and slow down when your body is telling you to?
While many programs out there are less than perfect & can sometimes be to blame, it’s not always the case. It doesn’t even mean you need to change! But it can be helpful in establishing non-negotiables and understand the limitations on progress.
If your weekends are always overboard & that’s not something you want to change, understand that there WILL be a cap to your progress. Are you doomed for failure? NO. but there is a limit!
Be willing to do the work… both the easy and hard… the physical and mental…the internal and external.
Part of that includes taking responsibility for YOUR ACTIONS that aren’t getting results. In our line of nutrition coaching, are you letting your coach know what’s going on in your life? Are you ditching their check ins, avoiding their messages, and ghosting their calls? If they can’t check in with you, it simply isn’t their fault. YOU are the one who needs to show up.
If you are checking in and communicating, are you doing what they’re asking of you? If they ask you to log your food, are you doing it and are you accurately doing it? If they ask you to make a plan for the day, or weekend, and you don’t follow it...take that responsibility. *THEN let your coach know.* Not every plan or initial prescription we give out is a good one for the client. Data helps us pivot when we need to.
If you can’t take responsibility for what goes in your mouth, there’s only so much a coach can do for you. Clar-e-ty prides itself on treating clients like the adults they are. Our adults CAN feed themselves and take on that responsibility. So can you.
HONESTY & OPENNESS
*and a dash of vulnerability*
The more honest and open you are to your coach, about the good and the bad, the successful and the failure, etc., the better they can coach you.
As we’ve said, not every plan is great at the start.
Checking in with a “all good” when it’s not doesn’t help your coach serve you.
It’s uncomfortable being honest and open sometimes. Sometimes, you might have to get a bit uncomfortable and vulnerable.
While we can’t speak for every coach or business out there (and we’ve seen some terrible ones), we will not shame you for not being successful in any given week.
We do this so you can be open. When you let the weekend get away from you, we’re not going to be rude and degrading. We’ll dive into what to learn from that experience and how to improve next time.
That just means we need to know what is going on in your life. Coaches aren’t mind-readers, and even though we have some signs to pay attention to, we can’t know everything without you letting us in.
This also comes with the caveat that this takes time. Don’t be an open book from the start. You might need some weeks to get to know your coach before opening up to them about the struggles you’re having during times of stress. THAT IS OKAY. Take your time...but practice patience here when progress moves a bit slower!
This quality in a client is a bit more open ended and ties in with all of the above-mentioned ones. It’s the willingness to do all of these. Clients who are willing to just say “let’s go” and willing to get vulnerable, willing to get uncomfortable, willing to try new things or even attempt old things, etc. ALL get better results.
Willingness also includes the character trait to be intentional. When you are willing to let your guard down, you’re willing to become active in the process.
One big mistake we see is the desire to just “not think about it”. Being very honest, that’s just NOT how nutrition changes happen. It can be easier, for example, to show up at the gym, do what is written for you and leave. We would argue that a bit more intention and awareness will help expedite the journey to gaining strength and fitness but it is slightly easier to be on autopilot a bit more.
Nutrition isn’t really the same! It takes conscious effort and thought. It takes intention. Even when you
You must be willing to let nutrition become a part of your life, not one that brings shame and misery, but willingness to learn, willingness to show up, willingness to slow down, willingness to be active, etc. all make you a better client and get better results.
We hope this helps you in becoming the best client you can be. In doing so, you'll find how much better your coaching relationship is and how much more available coach can be to you! As a result, your progress will move that much faster...and if it still takes time you'll be practicing patience for that scenario ;)
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