You see it in cop shows after an officer-involved shooting when the cop is mandated to go to therapy. The cop is almost always reluctant to go, and when they do go, it’s usually a standoff with the therapist, and then they get a phone call and leave.  

IMO many people don’t like talking about their feelings or are not quite sure how to do it.

Opening up and talking about their feelings is a sign of weakness for some. Some keep it inside and express their feelings in other ways or numb the pain with their candy of choice. Or they see no other way and want out of this life.

My friend took his own life a few years ago, and no one saw it coming, not even his wife.  

He might have gotten the help he needed if he had talked about his issues. But hindsight is always 20/20. This incident put me on the road to therapy.

My friend’s suicide coincided when things were not going my way, and I was taking out of the people close to me. I felt and acted out of character, and something had to change.

I told some people what was happening, and they said therapy was a good choice. Telling my wife I needed help was one of the most difficult conversations in our married lives.

I have seen my therapist once a month for four years.

But it got me thinking about how therapy has made me a better coach. Here are my thoughts, and if you are on the fence about therapy, it might help you decide whether it is right for you.

Therapy Helps Organize My Thoughts

One of my favorite things in the world is talking; I would speak with a brick wall if it talked back. I talked so much when I was a child that my mother told me to shut up constantly. Her favorite saying was, “Shut up, Shane.” If I got 1 cent every time she said it, I’d be a wealthy man. But I digress…

Talking isn’t my problem, but discussing and putting my issues in a coherent sentence is different. When my therapist asked me to describe what happened or how something made me feel, he goes silent and waits for me to respond. This space allows me to organize my thoughts and not blurt out the first thing on my mind. It helps me coherently organize my thoughts.

How It Helps Me Coach

A personal training session is part exercise, part education. When a client wants to know why they are doing this exercise or using a rest-pause set, the wrong answer is  I said so. It’s better to explain the why behind what they are doing so they can better buy into what they are doing.

Organizing my thoughts in therapy has made me better at explaining the why behind my programming, making me a better coach. When the client knows the why behind the do, they are more likely to do the do, if you get my drift.

Therapy Helps Me Be More Compassionate

My therapist is paid to hear me talk, and he could agree with everything I say, but he doesn’t. He calls me out rightfully on the bullshit I tell him and myself. But the most important thing he does for me is to help me see things from another person’s perspective.

Because my way of seeing things might not be the other person’s way of seeing things.

Seeing, feeling, and understanding that there could be a different side of things can help you better understand your fellow humans. Everyone struggles with stuff, and being slow to judge and quick to understand helps me be more compassionate with my family, friends, and clients.    

How It Helps Me Coach

If the client could do it themselves, they probably would because personal training isn’t cheap. This means they struggle with certain things and need a coach to help them stay on track. During these client struggles, it helps as a coach to be more compassionate, listen more, and talk less so the client can feel understood. Plus, it allows me to seek solutions for their struggles, if there is one.

Therapy Helps Me Be Less Controlling

I’m a confessed control freak.

If nothing is to my liking or I cannot control my situation, horrible stuff happens inside and outside. Many of my issues in therapy are based on trying to control the uncontrollable. These issues have been discussed in therapy. I have become aware of the determinantal they can be.   

How It Helps Me Coach

Trying to control how my clients perform on any given day is totally silly. All I should do is set the right environment, the correct exercise, sets, and reps, and provide them with enough confidence. If it’s not their day of not having the required strength, energy, or mobility to do the exercise, then it is time to dial it back.

I’ve found that giving clients more control over weight, sets, reps, and exercise selection makes them work harder. Good things happen when they have more buy-in and little choice in what they do.

Wrapping Up

Therapy has made me much more aware of the internal issues that made me difficult to get along with. Knowing and identifying these issues makes it easier to walk a mile in my client’s shoes, and this helped me become a better coach.

Now, get down and give me 20. 😊   

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