Thursday, June 3, 2010

Emotional intelligence trumps technical know how in personal trainers...

I've had many people in the past tell me that I need to create a 'system' for my training approach at Urbanfitt so that it can be duplicated by minions. It has been argued to me many times that without a structured training system that is documented, tracked and measured that I will never be able to grow Urbanfitt.

That has never sat well with me. I believe that each fitness professional has unique talents, skills and backgrounds that to need to be nurtured and brought out, that each person on this planet has their uniqueness that needs to blossom.

So there has never been one training system at Urbanfitt. But what I've always focused on is a set of core values:
-no pressure sales
-compassion, empathy and respect for clients' individuality
-no hypervigiliance about exercise or nutrition, instead coaching towards balance
-healing the body and people's relationship with food
-excellent attention to form and technique
-always putting what is best for the client (even if it means not training at Urbanfitt) ahead of a buck

How a trainer or instructor achieves this is up to them. And what I've found is more predictive of success in the industry isn't knowing every little thing about training and health, but instead emotional intelligence. Obviously, having a strong technical foundation is great. But without EQ no one will really succeed in this competitive industry.

So when my client sent me a link to this Globe and Mail article "Emotional Intelligence trumps technical know how" I thought it was important to share this with all of you.

If someone can accept they don't know all there is to know about fitness, that's a good starting place. Curiosity in any profession is number one. And knowing how to relate to people in an authentic way is vital for success. I don't know about you but I don't want to spend my precious time with fitness zombies!

Here's an excerpt from the article:

“We are finding much more emphasis on that, and the whole idea of problem-solving and creativity, really trying to drive unique solutions through creative, innovative approaches rather than simply relying on the tried and true.”

In today’s multi-generational and multi-cultural workplaces, it is essential to recruit and promote people “who have the sensitivity and the ability to build rapport,” Mr. Beveridge said.

So when you go to hire a trainer or choose a class, make sure you look for the EQ as well. You're more likely to stick to it.
I've accepted that my refusal to shove a uniform training system down people's throats might halt the fitness empire growth. But hey, life is too short to sacrifice core values. Besides, I don't want to have to pretend like I know it all.

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