Effectively Helping Clients Starts with Uncovering One’s Self

Effectively Helping Clients Starts with Uncovering One’s Self

OPEX Big Dawgs and CCP Coach Coach Sam Smith is clear about his goals: To “have a podium finisher at the CrossFit Games,” “to maintain 100-plus clients,” and to develop an educational course for athletes and coaches that has “its roots in the psychological aspect of coaching, competing and being an athlete.”

Firass El Fateh, the owner of OPEX Abbotsford in British Columbia, has completely different career goals. He defines success based on his ability to build a strong community that can develop and support professional coaches.

Once again, Mischa Jemionek, the owner of OPEX North Scottsdale has an entirely different definition of success.

“Without being completely corny, I think success is the sum of small efforts, repeated consistently. No matter what the goal, self-discipline and consistency win every time,” she said.

Meanwhile, one of Jemionek’s coaches, Josie Harding, said that for her, success “is the ability to get clients to understand that each action they do daily should be done with intent. I also believe in teaching clients fitness isn’t their life, but supports their lives. (I) strive to make every client feel like someone is listening to them, cares about them, and wants to become part of their journey,” she said. 

Why does this matter?

It serves to highlight a coach tip James FitzGerald recently shared on social media: 

“When you understand that everyone sees this lived experience differently than you, as well as why they see it that way, then and only then are you really coaching.”

And before you’re able to do that for your clients—before you’re able to meet your clients where they’re at and really help them—you need to figure out your own intention as a coach, explained Smith, adding that most coaches don’t spend enough time digging into their purpose.

“It’s important to spend a lot of time figuring out what success means to you and what objective or subjective measures in your work will help foster a sense of success,” Smith said. “By doing so it can become a lot easier to create a roadmap towards those measures.”

Most importantly, while the overarching goal of the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) is to develop coaches who are better able to serve their clients, those who have gone through the course say it’s especially helpful for providing clarity in their own lives. 

Michael Pilhofer is one of these coaches. He said CCP helped him figure out exactly what type of gym he wanted to operate, and what kind of clients he wanted to work with. 

“I think that’s the biggest gift (FitzGerald) gave me: To really dig into what I wanted, the type of people I wanted to help and the type of facility I wanted to walk into. And the legacy I wanted to leave. (FitzGerald) helped change my vision and my values,” Pilhofer said.

Jonathan Stuart is another who credits OPEX’s emphasis on finding your intention with much of his success as a coach. It helped him realize he wanted to stop working with a gym full of clients who wanted to dabble and hit random, hard workouts. He wanted to work with educated clients who saw the value in a personalized, long-term approach to improve health and fitness.  

Once armed with that knowledge, Stuart was able to—not just improve the quality of his own career and life—but also help his clients much more effectively. 

“When the client’s intention is aligned with (their actions), the process is night and day. Before, the intention was misaligned. People would just come in for a good hard dose of fitness without a purpose,” he said.

Similarly, when Nicole Zapoli went through the CCP, she was also an OPEX client, which allowed her to get twice as much out of the course, she explained, as it helped her figure out her own intentions as a client and coach, which ultimately helped her become more effective at helping her clients do the same. 

“I was getting remote coaching in my own life while I was taking the coaching course, so I was implementing all these new habits into my own life, and creating awareness about what I was doing on a daily basis. Going through this really made it easier for me to coach others,” she said.

Bottom line: Coaches who become crystal clear about their own intention and goals are better able to meet their clients where they’re at and deliver an individualized service capable of making a bigger and longer term difference in their clients lives. And it starts with the CCP, they say.

CCP Coach Dylan Staniec explained: “Other education out there just focuses on how to train people, not about why that person is walking through the door...I’ve learned a big part of it comes down to figuring out why your clients are really there, not just physically, but mentally and psychologically. You really need to understand them and their aspirations and their values.”

Bobby Scott, the owner of OPEX South Shore in Pembroke, Massachusetts agrees: Because of OPEX education, “my clients are better served for sure,” he said, adding that he’s now able to “dig a little deeper about their needs and wants, and that helps your relationship with them become stronger. They get so much more value from this.”

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