One of the most common reasons that people say they do not want to join a gym is because they aren’t in good enough shape. Many people laugh at the paradox in that thought, but as coaches we take it upon ourselves to understand where a client is coming from. Many people fear the judgement, real or perceived, of struggling to learn something in public, and it is on us as coaches to make the environment in which we work a safe space for our clients to learn, a “judgement-free zone.” In my classes, I have Four Rules:

  1. Don’t get hurt.

  2. Don’t get hurt.

  3. If it feels sketchy, it is sketchy.

  4. Do not make anyone feel stupid.

The first 3 rules encourage physical safety, whereas Rule 4 facilitates emotional safety. There no place in my classes for judgment, ridicule, or machismo. Because of that emphasis on emotional safety, my clients have continued to come back, bring their friends, and take more ownership over the classes themselves. My clients excitedly tell new prospects about how much fun they have, the improvements they’ve seen, and the goals they’ve met. This focus on the process and the community is all possible because I have insured that my interactions with clients, as well as the interactions of my clients with each other are judgement-free.

Coaches and fitness professionals can take this concept and immediately start applying it to their practice and classes by creating their own list of rules. However, rather than just writing them down and announcing them, engage your clients in the conversation. What would they like the rules to be? By getting them to write the rules themselves, they’ll have more ownership over the process and be more excited about the results. The judgement-free zone with be their zone instead of just yours.