In this blog I have talked a lot about finding the trainers that are passionate about their chosen career. Part-time trainers that cannot commit to improving themselves in the field, spending time at your club or committing to your company values are hardly worth the effort it takes to interview, hire and train.
However, there is one main criterion that you must hold all trainers accountable to — do they put the client’s needs first! This is a multiple-tiered prospect.
Does the trainer put clients’ goals above all else or does the trainer interject their own wants first. I have seen many trainers learn certain techniques or training methods and use them with all their clients the very next week, even when it did not fit, just to get experience in teaching the techniques. Trainers need to also remember that their clients’ goals come first and dictate all the actions and programs a client should be doing.
Does the trainer respect the clients’ commitment to a schedule? Do trainers show up late for training sessions? Do they end sessions abruptly or constantly reschedule regular sessions? If they do, the trainer obviously does not respect the time commitment that their client has invested in training.
Does the trainer try to oversell and under deliver to clients? I have seen several trainers promise programs, meal plans, or additional workouts with clients and never deliver on those promises. As the old adage goes, ‘You are as only good as your word.’
Do trainers try to accommodate a client to their desired time? Many clients that have regularly scheduled sessions sometimes need to move or adjust due to outside circumstances. Good customer service would see a trainer try and change their schedule to accommodate their regular client.
Are the trainers mentally present during sessions? I have gone to several gyms and seen trainers have conversations with other employees or members while their client is on the opposite side of the gym doing an exercise. Trainers need to be present and mentally engaged during the entire session. This is not their time to speak — it is the clients’ time. It is the clients’ session to discuss things and have appropriate conversation.
So how can a fitness manager ensure that clients are getting serviced in the correct manner? Be on the floor while your employees are training. You will see many things (good and bad) that you wouldn’t have by sitting in the office. If you train your own clients, this is also another great opportunity to lead by example and to see and hear how your clients are being serviced, or not, by your staff. Another way to evaluate trainers is sending an email to training clients that has specific questions about their training programs at your club. Giving this opportunity to a member may reveal some very interesting feedback for your staff.
In closing, the reason the industry of personal training even exists is not because of trainers, it is because of the people that hire us to change their lives in a positive manner.
Vic Spatola is the Director of Personal Training for Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.