In-Person Coaching - How to Get Your Clients to Listen
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In-Person Coaching – How to Get Your Clients to Listen

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One common roadblock for trainers and coaches is getting clients to listen.

New coaches generally struggle more, but even experienced trainers can fail to connect with some clients.

To that end, here are three ways to make coaching more engaging and get every client to listen and apply everything you say.

Let’s discuss.

1. Don’t Be Overwhelming

You know a lot about fitness: how to do exercises, structure workouts, eat according to goals, stick with a regiment, and a lot more.

So, given that you’re a coach, you want to share that information with your client. Doing so would display your expertise while helping the person get started and see some initial results. At least, that’s how it should be.

In reality, trying to teach too much right from the start is more likely to overwhelm your client and make them feel like the whole fitness thing is too complex.

So, rather than sharing information all the time, start with basic information, such as how to do individual exercises. Gradually build up on that from session to session, giving clients enough time to digest and absorb every bit of info you throw their way.

2. Explain Things Plainly

Just as you might be tempted to share a lot of information, you might choose to share knowledge as you understand it. 

For example, you might have read studies indicating that an incline bench press leads to better muscle fiber recruitment in the clavicular portion of the chest. So, you might choose to share the info as it is.

The problem is that you’ve gained knowledge over a period of years, which means you know much more about a subject than your client. Because of that, it is crucial to learn to explain things as plainly as possible, preferably by sharing only the most essential information at the start.

If a client asks why you recommend something, you can share more information but keep things simple. Metaphors and comparisons can be valuable tools.

3. Be a Listening Coach

Listening in coaching is something most professionals don’t consider, but it plays a crucial role in developing relationships. Here’s a question to consider:

How would you know how to help a client if you don’t listen to them?

Before you can ever hope to be a good coach to someone, you must first get to know them. Learn about their worries, frustrations, roadblocks, limitations, and biases. Walk in their shoes and see their situation as they see it.

Only after doing these things, can you start developing a plan they will follow and enjoy. More importantly, listening to your clients builds trust, makes you appear more caring, and gets your client to listen.

Final Words

As you can see, there isn’t a clear answer to the question, “How to get your clients to listen?” Still, there are some effective tactics you can use to encourage trainees, build relationships, and make your teaching methods more engaging.

If we had to pick one, we would go with the final one: be a listening coach. The more you listen and understand your clients, the more valued they will feel, and the better you will be able to help them.


Håman, L., Yring, H., Prell, H. and Lindgren, E.-C. (2020). Personal trainers’ health advice in the fitness gym space from a gender perspective. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 15(sup1), p.1794364. doi:10.1080/17482631.2020.1794364.

Rodríguez-Ridao, D., Antequera-Vique, J.A., Martín-Fuentes, I. and Muyor, J.M. (2020). Effect of Five Bench Inclinations on the Electromyographic Activity of the Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, and Triceps Brachii during the Bench Press Exercise. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(19), p.7339. doi:10.3390/ijerph17197339.

‌Tennant, K. and Toney-Butler, T.J. (2019). Active Listening. [online] Available at:

‌Kohpeima Jahromi, V., Tabatabaee, S.S., Esmaeili Abdar, Z. and Rajabi, M. (2016). Active listening: the Key of Successful Communication in Hospital Managers. Electronic Physician, [online] 8(3), pp.2123–2128. doi:10.19082/2123.

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