Should you run if a business coach tells you they are trying to work out if you are "coachable"?
Updated: Feb 28
As a personal trainer, it is important to be aware of the term ‘coachable’ and its implications. This term is often used by unscrupulous business coaches as a way to make their clients feel inadequate and insecure. The implication is that, unless a client is ‘coachable’, they are not able to meet the standards set by the coach.
However, this is a very toxic attitude and completely ignores the individual’s unique strengths, abilities, and potential. It also assumes that the coach is always right and that the client must blindly accept whatever advice is given without question. This is not how successful coaching relationships work.
Assessing whether someone is coachable is the coach's own call. But by saying to a potential personal training client "I'm trying to assess whether you are coachable", that very phrase is toxic and a red flag, synonymous with saying to a person, "I am trying to work out whether you are good enough for me" and also leads me to believe that the particular coach actually would prefer a client who doesn't ask questions. Coachable is one thing (which I believe is a private assessment you make), but dissuading someone to ask questions under the guise of labeling them "uncoachable" is another. If your methods are rigorous and you know how something works intimately, you should be able to explain your work to someone else, especially a client.
Rather than relying solely on being ‘coachable’, personal trainers should focus on developing their own knowledge and skills. There are many facets of running a successful fitness business, and trainers should strive to be knowledgeable in all areas, from exercise science and nutrition advice to marketing and business management.
It is only by having a thorough understanding of the different aspects of running a fitness business that trainers can provide effective advice and support to their clients. Therefore, rather than focusing on being ‘coachable’, trainers should focus on building their knowledge and understanding in order to better grow: personally, professionally, and spiritually. And all of that begs you to ask questions and not blindly follow for the sake of staying coachable.