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We are in the health and wellness business. Our common denominator is serving a consumer desiring guidance on their journey. Regardless of how you structure your interaction and professional guidance, the first step is always about setting appropriate and realistic goals. In my 25 years of running clubs/studios, I have come to believe that this must happen in the initial contact during the sales process.

A solid sales process will help reveal the emotional trigger that brought this customer/member/client to you. This trigger is usually used to help close the sale, and then must become the focus point for designing their program.

This initial conversation is the pivotal phase of setting the pathway to long-term success. They discuss their goals and the trainer designs the program to get them there. What is often missing is the accountability component.

Accountability is where the relationship between the trainer and client becomes crucial. In the model below, there is actually a shared responsibility for results between the trainer and the client. Think of it as a triangle, with the program at the base of the triangle. It’s foundational to success and must include proper elements of progression in programming.

Triangle of Client Success: The two sides of the triangle are the trainer and client…they share different but equal responsibility.

Using the diagram as an example, if my client tells me they want to lose 20 pounds within 2 months, I (as the trainer) have to talk to them about commitment.

  • How many days per week will they be willing to workout?
  • How willing are they to stay consistent when they are on their own?
  • How dramatically are they willing to change their eating plan?

This helps me design a program that they can and will adhere to. Again, the foundational piece of client success is a well-designed fluent program that the client feels good about and is willing to commit to.

If we go further with the example above, and they say they can only workout once or twice per week, I have a responsibility to tell them we should re-evaluate the goal. The timeline, limited amount of workout sessions and eating adjustments, probably make this an unrealistic expectation.

As a trainer, I tell people that my responsibility is to help set realistic goals and then keep my clients accountable. I reset based on how they are doing – which can often happen weekly!

This accountability falls squarely on you, the trainer. It means goals and programs might need to be adjusted as you go – based on real time results.

However, the client has equal responsibility as well. They need to show up. They need to be responsible and accountable to workout on their own and eat accordingly to make the program work. They need to be honest and communicate when challenges arise.

This allows you to be fluid and fully engage with their client. That is where the pinnacle of the triangle come together…when the trainer and client each understand and share responsibility for success.

Trainers, coaches, studio and club owners have to support each other and have these accountability conversations with our clients. We have to build this into our sales and fitness process so that a lifestyle change can actually happen for our members.