I don’t know of any coach, myself included, that has not felt insecure at some point when working with a client. Perhaps the client is a lot faster than you, maybe they worked with a high-profile coach prior to working with you… or maybe they ask a lot of technical questions and you’re not sure you can answer them correctly and you’re afraid that they’ll think you’re a “bad” coach. Whatever the reason, I’m here to tell you that it’s normal to feel insecure at certain points when working with clients.
Whatever the reason, I’m here to tell you that it’s normal to feel insecure at certain points when working with clients.
If you feel insecure when working with a client, the first question to ask yourself is, “Why do I feel insecure?” As noted above, perhaps they are a lot faster than you. For this example, let’s say that your client’s PR for 10K is 32 minutes while yours is 45 minutes.
The second question to ask yourself is, “Does it matter?”
If it does not matter (i.e., a client is faster/stronger than you), then you can disregard your feeling of insecurity, knowing that it is not a variable in regard to being an effective coach. However, if the reason why you’re feeling insecure does matter (i.e., you lack the knowledge to help them), you have two options:
- Inform the client that you are not the right coach for them and/or refer them to a more qualified coach
- Acquire the knowledge/skill necessary to effectively coach the client
I cannot stress this enough – your physique, race resume’ and personal bests DO NOT make you a good coach. It’s your knowledge, experience, professionalism, and ability to relate and communicate effectively with your clients that make you a good coach. This is not to say that personal experience within the sport that you are coaching isn’t important, as there are a lot of nuances that you pick up only through being an athlete. However, you need not be a national champion to coach one. Remember, a good coach is one that adds value and brings out the best in the client.
So next time you feel a bit insecure when working with a client, remember, you’re likely the right person for the job – you just have to remind yourself of it!