The 7 Interpersonal Skills That Keep Members Around (part 1 of 2)

by Shawn McQueen

Important revelation:

We are not in the business of getting people to be able to “RX” a workout or to be able to do a particular movement or skill, say like a ring muscle up. 

We are in the business of dramatically improving, upgrading, and transforming the way people think, feel and move. 

Our contribution to people’s lives lead them to living happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives. 

And fitness is merely one vehicle in how we can get people there. 

It doesn’t matter how much we know (knowledge wise or experience level) if we are unable to genuinely connect with other human beings. 

ALL different types of human beings. 

Not only ones that we like or who are like us. 

Struggles Coaches experience:

As Coaches we can struggle to get people to follow our lead and do the things we ask. 

We can struggle to break through to certain people.

We can struggle to get people to rally behind our leadership or what we are saying. 

Ultimately struggling to build quality relationships with a person or people who are so different from ourselves. 

Why so?

It starts with us.

We lack confidence in ourselves and our own identity. We have conditioning, patterns and limiting beliefs we haven’t yet identified or addressed or worked on. These internal things transmit outwardly through our body language, facial expressions and our words. All of this affects our ability to be an effective speaker who gets through to people. And ultimately affects our ability to connect with anyone, at any time. Costing us relationships, time, effort, money and missed opportunities of impact. 

The path through: 

If we really want to excel, build a long standing impactful and fulfilling career and be able to breakthrough to anyone, becoming an influential leader as well as a communicator in our communities:

We must coach them beyond movement. 

We must coach to connect. 

What do strong Connections do?

Human beings crave connection. It is wired within us.  

Strong connections will help us meet other human beings’ needs. 

Not wants, not desires, we are talking about the NEEDS we all possess as humans. 

The need to feel important, to be seen

the need for comfort, 

the need for connection, 

the need to avoid pain, 

the need for variety, 

for growth and contribution.

Strong connections create the space for them to not only progress and achieve things they never imagined but a safe space to be open and vulnerable, allowing room for depth in the relationship building process. Strong connections are what connect us as human beings. They reinforce that this isn’t merely transactional. Through strong connections, members desire to come consistently, regularly and become staples of our business for years. Which gives us the opportunity to serve, impact and make a living. 

Today we’re going to cover 7 ways to do this that will help you build and improve your relationships with anyone.

#1 – Obvious Care 

This one might sound obvious but here we are really talking about INTENTIONS. 

The purpose and mentality that I’m not Coaching for me. The benefits, good endorphins and needs I get met by coaching. But I truly coach for the benefit of others. That when we are at our place of work – being invested whole heartedly in our people. This also means being extremely congruent with your care. Our face matches our words or vice versa. Our body language, tone, word selection all of these things add and equate to a person who is devoted and dedicated to their people. 

The level of care should be glaringly obvious. 

Whether words are spoken, we are listening, or the general excitement in seeing someone walk through the day, shouting their name.

I can’t help but think of how incredible I feel every day I come home and I see how happy my two pups are to see me, tails wagging. First they peep through the window, I see their faces, their bodies shaking in excitement. Then when I walk in the door, greeted with their excitement, tails wagging like crazy. Then my 3 year old, Myla runs into my bedroom and jumps on my bed, and as I put my bag down and go in the room, like clockwork, everyday, she jumps up paws on my chest and gives me a minimum of a 60 second hug. Her tail whipping at speeds like a helicopter. I can’t explain how that is one of the best parts of my day and how amazing that feels, each and every time. 

Let’s take this lesson from our loving furry friends, make our level of care obvious and it speak for itself. 

2- Extreme Empathy – 

As coaches we lead a life surrounded by all things health and fitness. We eat, sleep and embody improvement in all these areas.  Our discipline and habits have been developed and forged over time. As a professional we should, this is our line of work. Most of our members are not us. They experience the daily struggle with these areas more than we do. What things could they be juggling day to day? Being a parent, work, school, relationships, stresses we know nothing about, personal/emotional battles and this is their slice of self-betterment. Having them develop the skill of consistency within coming to the gym is a huge win. 

If we are honest with ourselves, most members aren’t the best at compartmentalizing a hard day’s work, bad night’s sleep or one bad food choice that led to a weekend of unraveling when walking into the gym. We need to become masterful at putting ourselves in their shoes.  Feeling what they could feel.  Thinking what they could be experiencing. Thinking beyond ourselves. Approaching them with empathy and understanding. Letting them be heard when they need to be heard. The scariest thing in the world for a lot of people is revealing who they really are. To most people, being vulnerable is in alignment with the high possibility of getting hurt and most people will avoid pain at all costs. Imagine creating a SAFE place for them and within you to be vulnerable and open when they need to. Overcoming this fear. Doing this is a level of mastery with human beings. 

Empathy is especially important within coaching them through fitness. 

Where are they within their fitness journey? 

How can I ensure they feel safe? 

How can I make this winnable for them?
How can I make this enjoyable for them? 

What could their experience be? 

These are some good questions,

Speaking of questions – that’s #3 

3- Ask Questions To seek to understand

What an amazing job we have. Dramatically improving people’s lives each day that they see us which ultimately improves the quality of their overall life. This is what we do and who we are as coaches.  Now create openings with literally anyone, we must ask questions. Asking questions to seek to understand more information about them.About what they think, how they view, their models of the world. And doing this without judgement. 

We are merely seeking to learn and appreciate. To understand them better. Because every person is unique in their own way. Human beings are fascinating and we are all made up of different experiences, backgrounds, conditioning and our own perceptions of reality. Learning more about these people who we will spend our days and times with is extremely important. 

Ask open ended questions. 

Ask questions often.

Listen intently to their responses and remember them. Desire to learn and know more about them. Deflect spotlight and your own ego and self fulfilling prophecy. Make them feel seen, heard, felt and appreciated by questions about them and caring about what they say. Questions are such an important vehicle in connections. 

They also help us build the next skill, which is establishing and maintaining rapport. 

In part 2 we will cover steps 4-7.

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