What To Look For In An Online Coach

What To Look For In An Online Coach

If you want to learn the piano, you don’t sit there and figure out which key is which. You hire someone.

The same principle applies to improving your physique. If you want to take it to the next level, rather than racking your brains into ‘paralysis by analysis’ trying to figure what to do, when to do and how to change things, you should hire someone.

But who?

In a world where it seems everyone is an online coach, trainer or mentor, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Which is why it’s become more important than ever to learn the filters you need to apply when in the process of hiring someone.

While I’ll be directing this for those looking for online personal trainers, it can apply to any coaching position, whether it’s life, business or financial. For the past 8 years, I’ve always had a coach. Some good, some bad. At the start of 2016 I started working with Derek Natcher, and haven’t looked back since. It’s like having a good barber. Once you find someone who ticks all the boxes, you want to keep them for life.

The value an online coach can bring is tremendous. Even at my level, where you’d think I know enough to train myself, there’s always more. I still need to improve my skill set, I still need a high level of accountability, and I also want someone I can bounce ideas off.

Throughout the years of being a client, but also running an online personal training business and mentoring other trainers, I’ve developed a strong idea in what you should be looking for when hiring an online personal trainer.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the three qualities you need to look out for before hiring a coach online.

Results Focused

Now this needs to be broken down into two parts… The prospective coach needs to have demonstrated results in both him/herself and in their clients. Both are essential.

1. Results with themselves 

This is the easy one. It’s why we’ve had a sudden burst in the number of coaches in the last few years. Instagram has given everyone a platform to display their physiques, and it’s now a growing trend that once you get yourself in shape, you’re immediately qualified to help others.

There’s also the other side to the coin, in that there are many trainers who have never got into serious shape themselves.

The key question you need to ask is:

Have they achieved what you’re after in themselves, i.e. do they practice what they preach?

This differs for everyone. Does a female trainer helping women over 50 with weight loss need to have been super lean at least once to qualify? Not necessarily. She just needs to be in relatively decent shape and be able to empathise with the client.

Does the male trainer helping 20-40 year olds go from 25% body fat to 15% body fat need to have been in competitive bodybuilding shape? Again, not necessarily.

But will it help? Of course! While it may not be something you want personally want to aim for, there are two qualities which come out of it:

  • Full spectrum of empathy

The best thing I ever did for my career was compete in bodybuilding back in 2014. Previously, I’d dieted before and got ‘lean’, but I’d never pushed myself all the way and got absolutely shredded.

That’s a whole new ball game. Once you take yourself to the extreme, it opens up new doors for where you can take your clients to, and how you can empathise with them along the way.

It allows you to take them to the extreme as well, should they wish to do so. It allows you to know how to answer your clients’ questions when they talk about crazy cravings and hunger pangs. Every step of the way, you’ve been there. 

  • Inspiration

If your trainer has been all the way to shredded, it’ll inspire you to aim higher, push harder and get better results. Even if you have no ambitions to get ‘inside out’ lean, if you’re working with someone who’s done it, it’ll give you more confidence.

There’s nothing worse than working with a trainer who’s never done anything impressive themselves!

2. Results with clients

This is the hard one. If your hiring criteria was based on the first part, the number of choices would be completely overwhelming.

But as soon as you apply this part, more than 90% will disappear off the list.

Results in themselves is not enough by any means. That could be down to genetics or luck.  It’s merely entry level criteria.

The real question is, have they got a proven track record in clients with similar goals to you?

This is what starts to separate the real trainers with the pretenders. A quick way to spot a pretender is to go on their Instagram feed. If it’s all about themselves, and the only pictures are selfies, then don’t waste your money.

It’s absolutely essential that they’re able to produce results in clients. A consistent track record as well. Not a one hit transformation wonder. Multiple images of transformations in people just like you.

It’s why I’m obsessed with making our transformations page so long it takes minutes to scroll to the end!

Bottom line? If there’s no results with other clients, don’t bother!

Value Education

Once you’ve established the trainers who can get themselves in shape, and help others do the same consistently, you now need to look at their education value.

For many, the first section is all they need to see. On a personal note, it’s how I hired my coach. All I asked was, has he been where I wanted to go (higher levels of natural bodybuilding), and has he helped clients do the same. He also came as a referral from a trusted source, which heightened his case immediately.

If it wasn’t for the referral, I would have then looked into what educational value was being provided.

Are they producing free content that contains valuable information you can directly apply to yourself?

Are they genuine in their efforts to educate?

Are they consistent in their content strategy and substance? What do they truly stand for?

Or is it all about their own workouts, selfies and motivational quotes?

What you’ll find with this step is the ability to separate those who are true passionate professionals in what they do, and those looking for a quick buck.

Customer Service

Customer service is king, but it’s something you can never know until you actually hire someone. Which is why one strategy I like to use before hiring someone is ask to speak to existing clients with similar goals.

This is when you can find out how they deliver their service. Are they responsive? Do they care? What has their coaching experience been like?

All important questions, but ones you can’t always find the answer to until you’re going through the process, which is why reaching out to existing clients has value.

Find Your Barber

With the entry levels to coaching almost non-existent, it’s more critical than ever to do your due diligence before hiring a coach in any field.

I’ve seen and heard of more people getting burnt with coaching than I can remember, and this was one of the initial driving forces behind building RNT. To focus on outstanding client results and creating a ‘one-stop’ place for high value educational content, all the while delivering everything with excellent customer service.

Good coaches are like good barbers. Rare to find, but once you find them, you never let them go.

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