Before I get started, I want to make it clear I am by NO MEANS a “seasoned” or extremely experienced competition coach. My knowledge and experience of coaching girls is limited to the 4 months of coaching I have had since November, but let me tell you… it’s been quite a whirl wind and learning experience.
When I first decided to take on clients and coach girls for bikini competitions I knew it would be work (Duh, I anticipated this). Extremely rewarding work, but still work. I quickly learned that in order to keep up with client e-mail inquires, review applications, develop and update documentation needed for client progression, and “manage” a website I would be working a lot more than normal. The concept of 9-5, M-F quickly flew out the window as I found myself working on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings developing packages and responding to inquiry e-mails. Keep in mind, this is not my full time job but more of a “side job” that I am extremely passionate about.
After about 2 months I found myself with a “full” roster of 10 amazing women and I quickly learned (I had anticipated this) how important communication is and how important it is to develop a personal relationship with each individual client to ensure trust, establish support, and keep communication open for honest feedback. I am in constant communication with my clients in order to ensure their progressing physically while their mental sanity is preserved to the best of our ability.
One thing that caught me off guard (turns out I am not such a know it all after all) is the emotional investment and added stress I would feel on a daily basis. One of the greatest things about hiring a coach is that as a competitor you do not have to stress and you do not have to think. You just have to “do.” That is the coach’s job; to stress, to think, to analyze, to critique, to research, to make the tough decisions, to know when to push, to know when to pull back. So, after a few weeks of coaching I sat down to work and thought, “Oh shit, this is stressful, like really stressful.” I thought something was wrong because I felt stressed, but I took a step back. Does the fact that coaching is often times stressful make me a bad coach? Of course not. If I were a bad coach I wouldn’t be stressed. I would make decisions without thought, without research, without explanation or rational. Stressing involves effort, time, weighing options, exploring alternatives. If a strategy you implement works in your favor then the stress subsides… until something doesn’t work in your favor and then it returns and you’re back to the drawing board.
From am emotional standpoint I have developed close relationships with all of my clients, therefore by default I am emotionally invested. Coaching is not simply handing someone a plan, having them implement the plan then obtain and evaluate the results and go on making changes… it’s so much more. When my client’s succeed or struggle I am right there with them. Their triumphs are my own and their struggles are my own. This has been a huge reality check and challenge to my ability to sympathize and relate to people on a more personal, emotional level.
However, at the end of the day I truly enjoy it. I truly enjoy when my client’s succeed and when they overcome struggles. I am not done learning how to be a better coach and it’s a constant process of evaluating my methods, learning new techniques and implementing new ideas (based on research). I have confidence that overtime I will only get better in order to better my current and future clients.