How many times have you heard a coach blame a client's injuries on their ego?
Likely more than a few.
In your evolution as a fitness professional, you’ve probably done the same; we know we have.
Here’s the thing, that’s not what world-class fitness professionals do. World-class fitness professionals do the opposite; they “take responsibility and give credit.”
Saying something like that on Instagram makes sense. Living it out in the real world is more difficult.
Who bares responsibility when the ego is blamed for the injury?
Not the fitness professional.
It places it squarely on the shoulders of the client.
It says, “This client can’t self-regulate. This client isn’t coachable. This client thinks they know best.”
That’s rarely the intended message, but that’s how it’s perceived by others and likely received by the client.
The reasonable question you’re likely asking yourself is, “How do I take responsibility for my ego-driven clients?”
We’ve all had them, and they’re challenging to reign in when they feel like their identity is at stake.
Help them see what’s truly at stake.
Here’s a simple example:
If you tell a 2-year-old “not to touch that,” what happens?
They touch it.
If you tell them, “This is HOT. If you touch it, it will burn you.”
If they grasp what that means, they won’t touch it. If they’re confused, they will.
If you say, “This is HOT. If you touch it, it will burn you, and it will hurt. Do you understand?”
The odds of them touching it are extremely low. They know the stakes, and you know they comprehend the stakes because you confirmed their understanding.
There’s no difference between the 2-year-old and your clients, especially the ego-driven ones.
The ego is a self-preservation mechanism.
The frame they’re coming in with is that their identity is at stake if they cannot perform in a certain way.
When they’ve been adequately educated, they learn what’s actually at stake.
Instead of seeing reducing the weight on their deadlift as a threat to their ego, they see an opportunity to improve their form, avoid injury, and perform significantly better in the long run.
When they know what they should and shouldn’t do, why, and the fitness professional has confirmed that they have a thorough understanding, the ego becomes a tiny part of the equation.
The “ego” is focused on self-preservation. If the client has been educated and demonstrated understanding, the ego falls in line with the client's best interests because it now knows how to better “self-preserve.”