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From Fitness Training to Becoming a Coach: A Journey I Didn't See Coming

I was on the path to becoming a coach 12 years before I knew I was on the path.
From Fitness Training to Becoming a Coach: A Journey I Didn't See Coming
Speaking with my coach, Dax Moy.
The journey of a thousand miles begins where you stand.
— Tao Te Ching

In 2005, I self-published my first book, a small spiral-bound edition titled, 'Flex Your Mind: Integrate Mind & Body to Achieve Fitness Excellence.'

Here’s what I wrote in the introduction:

“I have been asked many questions from clients and friends over the years. Many questions are the same, time and time again, stemming from similar concerns.

The more I began to listen, the better I heard what people were really asking behind their words. They were asking for more than what they were saying, but they did not have the words. They wanted help and needed a mentor; they needed a guide to help them get the health and fitness they deserved and desired. They didn’t know how to get from point A to B and needed direction.”

In 2003, I had been working part-time as a personal trainer while slowly transitioning out of my full-time job.

My transition to coaching

Looking back, it’s interesting that I studied personal development as much as physical fitness and nutrition.

Somewhere along the way, I learned the importance of understanding and managing my thoughts and emotions, which were just as important as sets and reps at the gym and paying conscious attention to the food I was eating. If you didn't know your intrinsic motivation for taking care of your health, you would find a way to avoid or give up on your commitments, habits, and behaviours.

Has anything like this ever happened to you — thinking that you wanted something so badly, but constantly facing obstacles or never being able to get started?

A year before I wrote my first book, I hired my first life coach.

Barbara and I met through a business networking group. We were encouraged to meet weekly with members to learn more about each other’s work. She provided such value when I met with her for a complimentary coaching session that I knew I had to engage and work with her.

I still have my journal entries from the work we did together. Here’s what I wrote in my very first follow-up email to her:

“I know I am only at the foot of the mountain in terms of my potential. I mean that in the most positive way. It's all about the upward trek and the enjoyment along the way — and to stretch the metaphor, to enjoy each step, take in the view, stop along the way and view the majesty all around me.”

The client who turned me into a personal coach

In 2010, a new client at the fitness club where I worked had as much of an impact on my life as I did on his.

Over one year of working together, he lost 60 pounds. I didn’t realize it at the time, but his willingness to be honest and vulnerable, to allow me to ask in-depth and personal questions that dug into his emotions and habits, put me on the path to becoming a coach of the mind. In a testimonial, he wrote,

“We’d been training for a couple of weeks and I commented on how much I didn’t enjoy working out. You encouraged me to remember why I was doing this in the first place and to focus on that. The realization that my attitude was as important to achieving and sustaining my goals as the training itself was revolutionary. I now enjoy working out for its own sake.”

What moments in life signalled that you were already on your way?

What I love most about coaching is helping people transform their lives in impactful ways based on who they are, how they want to feel, and what drives them.

It's never about me!

While I get tremendous satisfaction from seeing my clients evolve, at the same time, I grow as a person. I develop greater humility, understanding, and acceptance – as much for myself as for the person I'm working with. I believe the sign of a great coach is that they have evolved and continue to evolve in a tandem relationship with every new person they work with.

Among the coaches I've worked with, those who share their stories vulnerably are the ones I’m most drawn to. The coach I’ve worked with the most and am currently working with is Dax Moy. (You can listen to an engaging interview I did with Dax in 2022.)

The journey is what fascinates me.

I’m not a psychologist, but understanding someone’s past and future goals certainly helps.

The gap exists in-between the past and the future. Coaching has the biggest impact in the present moment. It's not simply about taking action, doing sets and reps, or completing tasks.

What's more important is knowing who you are — and knowing what you believe to be true and right — so you can show up in the world authentically and powerfully, to act on what you want to pursue with clarity, direction, commitment, and purpose.

What's the most significant transformation you've made in your life?

And... did you realize after the fact that you were already on that path?