A coach is only as successful as their clients

In recent times in the health and fitness space there has been a strong evolution and focus towards evidence based practice when it comes to nutrition and training.

This is a good thing. For a long time people have promoted some shady practices that are nowhere near logical, or scientifically sound. And this is something the industry is slowly but shortly stamping out, especially in our space right now in fitness.

But this will never die, as elaborate claims sell products and methods.

But what about when it comes to nutrition? Should everything we do as practitioners be based on a research paper? Should we recommend something, or base something solely on research?

Facts and myths

Facts and myths

See, nutritional coaching is an art form. We need to base the core of our practices and protocols on sound science, but we also need to understand the areas of coaching that are not as yet proven by science, or perhaps never will be. There are definitely areas of nutritional coaching that are more set in stone than others, and it is the craft of a nutrition coach as to where and how to implement this knowledge.

Let me follow on here with an example. I know many coaches that teach people how to eat via counting calories, macronutrients and fibre (note I leave out micronutrients here as many will say they do this, but actually don't as this is harder and takes more time to accurately assess an individuals micronutrient intakes) and this is their primary coaching method. It's what they do, and it works (especially for body composition), so that's what their clients do.

But what if a client is not mentally ready to do this? Or doesn't want to do this? Or has a past phobia of counting calories as a result of their dieting history. Should we get them to count calories and macronutrients?

The theory I have always stood by at Body Type Nutrition is to change habits. Change habits, then, when the client is ready, or their goals become more specific, we can then get geeky with the numbers. What I am elaborating on here is the artful side of coaching. Knowing when and how to do something with an individual, something that takes years of practice, self-reflection, evaluation, and awareness of human psychology.

"Every client's level of success is a reflection of the coach".

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I would personally say that 50% of this can be learnt, but the other 50% can only be implemented and understood over time when you actually work with these types of people time and time again and learn the dynamics of the theory, and whether the theory actually works for that person.

We as humans all do things in certain ways, for certain reasons, as a result who we are and how we grew up. Our past shapes us, and as a coach we need to see that and make a plan based on that.

Another example. If you as a coach didn't take a long diet history from a client, let's say 15 years long, and you didn't pick up on the fact that a client has previously been on a diet every new years, every summer, and sometimes in the build up to Christmas, with failure and rebound on most occasions, would you accurately assess where they are mentally, physically, and emotionally with their connection to food?

Without an accurate assessment of who the person is and why they do things, your prescription could be way off the mark. It wont have longevity, and the chances are the coach that gave the client the diet will eventually blame the client or lose interest in the client as they are not dedicated enough to follow what the coach has given them.

Every client's level of success is a reflection of the coach.

If a client fails, 95% of the time, it is the coach's fault. The coach is there to create tools and processes for success, and this is where approaches that are too generalised will fail.

Another example.

A coach can give the same diet plan to 100 people.

  • 30 people will stick to it and be self-motivated and just do it, these 30 people will have great success and be the success stories we all see on social media.
  • 30 will follow it to the money for 3-5 weeks, then tail off because it is unsustainable in some way.
  • 20 will struggle from the get-go in how it was delivered and the skills they have to implement it.
  • 10 will not get initial results for some reason and bail.
  • 10 will never start as they have complete resistance and were never ready to change in the first place.

Now if you are an OK coach, you diet plan can help those 30 people, you will have a 30% success rate as a coach.

If you are a decent coach, you can help 60% of the people that come to you, adapting the plan and how it is implemented with their lifestyle factors and circumstances.

If you are an awesome coach you can help 80% of people by understanding more about human emotion, traits, habits, and the why's connected to our actions.

There is then the elite coach that really is a master of psychology and human emotion and can work with that tough to get to 10-20% that have resistance to various elements based on their history, emotions and beliefs.

(I would put new BTN coach Stephen Aish in this category of coach).

Now I know these are rough numbers, I'm hypothesising based on my experience as a coach.

I'm a coach who only got success with 30% of people, back in the day. When I first started Body Type Nutrition my approach was quite black and white, eat real food, exercise in a certain way, get your lifestyle in check, start to learn how to feel awesome, job done carry on.

And, guess what? It wasn't good enough. Helping 30% of the people that came to me wasn't good enough.

And this is where you develop as a coach; to be that coach that can help the people they set out to on their journey to be a nutrition coach.

I got into this industry to help people as a result of my own journey, a journey from obese and sick to fit, healthy and happy. Now if I can't help people, or only 30% of people, how successful am I going to be entering an industry I am meant to be so passionate about?

Don't get me wrong, nothing I did was ever malicious, I was just naive. I thought that this template would work with everyone, it worked for me, so why can't it work for others?

Well, everyone isn't me.

I need to have the ability to work with individuals, emotions, mindsets, finances, goals, issues, lifestyle hindrances, movement issues, pain, symptoms, and much more.

This is where you learn your craft, to help 60-80% of people as a personal trainer or coach. By all means take your knowledge to be able to help that 80-100% of people, but that is a path that will take you some time and years of experience.

I want the personal training and fitness industry to be able to help 60-80% of people, if we can affect change at this level, as a group of people, what could we really do to help the world get fit and healthy?

Personally I think it's next level stuff.


I've been on an incredible journey as a coach, I've learnt a lot from failures and learning's, and you must be prepared to do both. If not, be happy only helping 30% of the clients you meet.

I don't want that, I want more, from myself.

And so should you.

So here is how I can help, join me on 31st January on a free webinar so I can help you work around my top 10 lessons on how to be an awesome nutrition coach.

It's going to be a knowledge packed webinar, so if you want to take yourself from a 30% coach, to a 60-80% coach, join me, and I can help.

Register your interest here

AND, if you want loads of free stuff to help you become a better nutrition coach right NOW, click the box below that says "Are you an ambitious PT or Coach that wants more knowledge and better results with clients" and I will send you a free coaching manual to help you understand your clients more, a 1.5 hour nutrition seminar with me, a diet, exercise and sleep diary, and much more.

I want you to become better, don't settle for being a 30% nutrition coach, join me in becoming a 60-80% nutrition coach.