Returning to our gym scenario in this series of short blogs, we look at how Alex (PT) provides Sam (client) with verbal communication.
To further raise Sam’s confidence, Alex can ask some simple questions phrased in a positive manner.
Alex could ask, ‘how does that make you feel?’ or ‘how many more of these do you imagine you could do?’ Please note Alex hasn’t used any words that could have a negative inference attached. We also haven’t used any words that Sam will likely focus on and we haven’t driven Sam to a feeling.
For example, a question such as ‘is that hard?’ will likely elicit a response of ‘yes, this is hard’; or ‘no, this is not hard.’ What does this actually tell us? Okay so it’s hard but compared to what?
By using open questions, we are encouraging Sam to offer a response that is based on what their feelings and experiences and should make them think about the answer. If we want a specific response we can monitor Sam through skin colour, breathing rate, ability to speak or we can use a scale such as one of the Borg scales.
By asking questions and providing Sam with the opportunity to respond with their own answers, Sam is more likely to feel valued as a member and as though Alex is genuinely interested in them.
Another way for Alex to show genuine interest and care in Sam is to move around them and check on their technique, even on a piece of equipment such as bike. If Alex has set Sam up correctly, they will want to check how their knees are moving and if there is any lateral movement. Alex will also want to check the foot positioning on the pedal and where Sam is applying the most pressure. This cannot be effectively achieved from one spot so Alex is going to have to move around and look at different angles.
By moving around, it provides Alex with information which can either be noted and remembered or lead to asking a question about what Sam is experiencing. This may stimulate a conversation around previous injuries plus likes and dislikes when it comes to movement and activity.
Hopefully, this will raise Sam’s belief that Alex does care; is there to help and ensure exercises are being performed correctly. Let’s not forget, Sam’s confidence will be low and will likely feel as though they don’t know what they are doing.
By having Sam complete an activity, Alex has had Sam demonstrate to themselves that they are able to use a gym effectively.