20 years I’ve been at it. 20 years and I still don’t really get “it” yet. I get it in my brain, meaning I’ve got an intellectual understanding, but not in my BEING. I haven’t made “it” an act of habit yet, or what we refer to as subconscious competence in coaching. The “it” I don’t get YET is the responsibility, opportunity and incredible influence I received when I made the decision to become a coach; the commitment to become a “fitness professional”. It is the call of the craft. And the question really becomes WHY am I doing this?

We talk a lot about revenue and how to grow our businesses. We should. Our profession deserves to be legitimate and lucrative. In this, my first article for CoachMePlus, I was going to share ways to try and make more money; the tools, tactics, and metrics (the what’s and how’s) I wish I would have known years ago that would have accelerated my business and my career. And it almost got me. I almost wrote it that way. Why didn’t I? Because I still don’t fully get it. “What’s” and “How’s” ARE important, but not nearly the most important. Because just “what’s” and “how’s” very rarely ever build something incredible for long.

What does then? It’s the craftsmen who are willing to pay the price to create real value, who become truly successful. And the greatest value you can infuse into your business is to ask WHY about everything. Why am I coaching, why am I doing this the way I’m doing it, why fitness?? What you believe, leads to WHY you do what you do.

As Simon Sinek states:

When most organizations or people think, act or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason — they go from clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do… When communicating from the inside out, however, the WHY is offered as the reason to buy and the WHATs serve as the tangible proof of that belief.

Have you ever trained an athlete because their parents made them do it?  There’s no metrics, tools or tactics that are going to make that much easier for you as a coach. Why?  They don’t VALUE it. They don’t have a WHY that truly motivates and inspires them. Have you ever had a client tell you they want to lose 20 lbs fast because they want to look good for a wedding? Is that hard for you to pour your heart and soul into and have fun with? Why? Because maybe you don’t value it. 

“It’s the craftsmen who are willing to pay the price to create real value, who become truly successful.“

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Why not? Maybe they don’t understand their why yet so you’re coaching to something that has very low RPE (this one stands for Rating of Purpose Equation). This is it – the most value you’ll ever create stems from why you do what you do, and how you view and value the people you serve.  Two helpful pieces to understanding this might be discovering what fitness really means to you AND what it means to the people you’re serving.

As with any athlete or client you coach, I’m going to take YOU through some inventory/assessment questions.  For today, I’ll just start with 2.
Speed testing vs positional average

Why Questions/Assessments?

Good questions drive awareness. They discover and identify the “hidden things”: challenges and opportunities we can start to think differently about and act upon. For reference, I believe action IS the currency that changes the world. It changes your clients, your business, your lives. Thoughts are the fuel for actions. If we’re not aware of something important to us (WHY), OR others yet, we can’t think differently, so we can’t act differently. So then awareness becomes a potent catalyst.  And if we’re going to serve people with fitness, it only stands to reason that we be aware, and then grow to understand, what it (fitness) means to both. (side note: assessments/questions aren’t just for collecting information, they’re for unlocking dormant and powerful potential as a coach and human being. It’s truly coaching 101 and I overlook the power of it far too often).

Question #1

What does fitness mean to you?

Until you begin working towards an understanding of what this truly means to you, it’s hard to build a business with any REAL long term value. Your business can only be built on what you really believe. It’s like an athlete building squat strength on sets and reps alone, without owning the foundational movement and knowledge of the pattern itself. It will grow for a while, looking great on paper and to the coaches’ eye, but, that kind of training, that kind of business is often doomed to failure in one of two ways: 1) it simply won’t last OR 2) it lasts, you make money, but it’s unfulfilling and barren of legacy and its potential. The real problem with this failure is that you THINK you’re successful for quite a while and don’t realize you’re not until years later.

The good news, you can train it. The first step is stepping back to those first things first and becoming aware of what fitness really means to you. Study and meditate on it, pray on it, wrestle with it. Talk to friends and peers. I know it’s not the magic bullet. I know it’s not the cool new exercise or “done for you” plan to transform your business. But if you keep looking for, and leaning on those, you might become the client who’s always looking to lose 20 lbs to get ready for the next event that just comes and goes without any real, lasting transformation.

“Until you begin working towards an understanding of what this means to you, it’s hard to truly build a business with any REAL long term value.”

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-What does fitness mean to you?

-What’s good about it and why?

– What information do YOU truly believe matters to help people live better lives? What do they need to hear?

You can’t (and shouldn’t) control their choices, that’s not your job. Your job is to give them better choices to choose from because you believe they’re good and you know why you believe they’re good.


Make a list of your fitness ideals, values, principles, concepts and methods. Maybe it’s your story that provides a huge part of who you are, what you do and why you do it. Dig down. Everything else can be built or grown on the foundation of these things. Your culture. How you train your staff and your clients. What you put on your walls, the equipment you use, the music you play, the exercises that populate your inventory and your programs. ALL of it will evolve. And each little thing will help the rest of it improve as well. Think of it as convergence training, where working on one skill improves many others without working on them directly.

Soon, why you do what you do will be more clearly expressed in what  you and your staff do and how they do it. It’ll be like dialing in a program for an athlete that really starts to work. It’s fun and rewarding.

Question #2

What does fitness mean to your people?  Read it again. What does fitness mean to others and why is that important to them?If there’s one thing I want to value more as a coach, it’s understanding the people I serve. Man. Think about this video:

When we begin to understand and help our athletes and staff become aware of the things they value and why, (keeping it in line with what we fundamentally believe in), a completely new and unexplored universe of movement, fitness, relationship, and experience opens up for both of us.


This process can’t happen in one 45 minute assessment where you’re also trying to capture health information, personal information details and basic physical, movement and lifestyle IQ. CoachMePlus Dashboards can help you monitor the progress of your training after that initial assessment session.



Revisit your assessment, the questions you ask (and why) and your intake protocols along with the conversations you have with your clients (your coaches too). Do they help discover the things that are really important to them? To you? What do you want and need to know? Do your questions unlock opportunities for your clients to create real and lasting value for them and your business?  

Adapt your assessment process. Just like a good program, this can evolve.  Think beyond paperwork. We assess with our eyes and ears over time better than any other medium. Discover more. Make changes. Try something new.  Open the door for questions and conversations between you and your clients, client to client, your staff with you and with each other, and your peers. Tell stories. It’ll change what you see and how you coach.  That’s a promise.



Like I said in the beginning, I really don’t get it. YET. What I’m asking you to consider is the same thing I’m asking myself. Do I understand the call of my craft (my why), and how am I going to answer it? I know craft is a lifelong journey. I know there’s a price. But if we’re willing to pay it, it will yield dividends forever, in the form of successful businesses, better training, improved lives and a legacy that will only help fitness become a legitimate and lucrative profession for others to inherit.