Everyone is hiding something.
It could be something life-altering that they’re not ready to share (like questioning their faith/sexuality/relationship, grieving the loss of a loved one, or a huge potential change in career etc), or it might be something that happened decades before that they don’t even know is causing problems (like a traumatic event or previous injury).
But everyone has something that they’re NOT going to tell you as their coach.
Why is this important to you?
Because emotional and physical pain has the power to stop EVERYTHING you’re trying to achieve.
World renowned psychologist Bessel Van Der Kolk describes what he’s seen over decades of working with military veterans suffering with PTSD as “the body keeps the score”, meaning that the emotional stress manifests itself as physical problems.
It certainly did for me.
In late 2000/early 2001, I was physically assaulted in my own home by my roommate’s girlfriend.
I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember the bruises down my spine… they looked like horizontal stripes at each vertebra.
I was so ashamed by it, feeling like somehow this “fight” had been my fault and that fighting was completely the opposite to who I am, that I didn’t tell a soul for almost 20 years – I didn’t even tell my parents until late 2019.
I stuffed those feelings so far down that within a few months, I felt like I’d moved on with my life.
But my body never forgot.
First came the hamstring strain, then the back pain.
Nothing major, just little twinges that you’d easily associate with a career in fitness and a martial arts hobby.
But then, a spinal manipulation (you know, when they clunk, click your spine) and a deep tissue massage on my lower back the following day combined to strain the ligaments in my spine… and I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone!
While each of these physical pains (and many more) came and went, my body reacted so badly to conventional treatment that I’d come out of a massage or physio session feeling worse than when I went in!
As the years went by, my tolerance for intense physical activity got smaller and smaller until I reached the point that every time I tried to sprint or push myself hard, I’d start to shake and have to stop exercising completely – and the fear of hurting my back again meant that I was super cautious about doing too much at once – I even remember having an argument with one coach about it in the middle of a CrossFit class! He wanted me to add more weight to my bar, I refused… and the more he pushed, the more I resisted.
Thanks to a physio, Louisa, in mid 2019, I now know that my resistance to both him and the weight, my intolerance of intense exercise, my sensitivity to conventional physical therapy and my absolute aversion to confronting situations is tied directly to the assault I’d suffered so many years before – which I’d completely forgotten about.
Louisa recognised that my body’s reactions to her intervention were similar to those of someone suffering from PTSD.
Now I’m working on recognising my triggers and can talk about it more freely but it’s not easy.
It’s not something that I lead a conversation with, or generally something I share with those who don’t need to know.
And the chances of me telling a coach I don’t know very well, especially in group setting are very slim… unless I start having problems.
And two years ago, I wouldn’t have even been ABLE to tell you about it.
So, why am I telling you?
My situation highlights exactly the type of people you have in every single one of your sessions.
Everyone has been through something in their life that was traumatic to them on some level – something that they aren’t able or willing to share with you.
Why does that matter?
The thing that I really want you to take from this is that sometimes we all need someone to see things in us that we don’t see in ourselves.
And as a coach, your clients are expecting you to be that person for them.
Your seemingly simple observations and subsequent actions can be the key they need to unlock results they’ve never had before (oftentimes despite having tried many times before).
While you may not be able to recognise the signs of PTSD, you can learn to look for the more subtle signs of emotional and physical distress (which are exactly the same by the way), and how your own verbal and non-verbal communication can even make some problems worse… and since emotional stress is one of the leading risk factors for injury, if you want to do as much as is humanly possible to help your participants achieve more, then this is a great starting point.
That’s why these are just some of the things you’ll learn on the SMARTT® Coach Level 1 – “The Vault of Injury Prevention Secrets” training that will help you go further than ever before to help your participants achieve their best ever results.
You can see how this self-study online training can help you supercharge your coaching here