Using Client’s Feedback to Focus Direction
Before their initial session, or free trial begins, LWP clients fill out the the basic forms to provide information on their fitness level, goals, expectations and experience. Combined with their personal interview, and observation of functional movements, an accurate assessment for a Subjective Objective Assessment Plan (SOAP) is reached.
Client communication needs to continue during each session. I find this happens naturally at the beginning and endings of sessions. Asking clients to give input before starting, and asking for feedback at the finish is an easy habit. It yields good information for the direction of the day’s session and the effectiveness of the time spent, spoken in the client’s own words. Clients learning how to communicate succinctly about their physicality is a skill that requires opportunity to practice. It can be uncomfortable and a struggle for some at the beginning, but a skill worth building.
There also needs to be an overall review and a reset of SOAP after a longer cycle of time. I find this happens naturally at the completion, or at the start, of a purchased five pack or ten package of privates. Looking back with clients over a set period of completed workouts establishes an opportune time to refocus and redefine. First, we discuss accomplishments. Most clients are amazing at the progress they made when we look back at what they achieved. You may need to assist them in recognizing their progress. People can be self conscious about acknowledging physical achievement, or not realize what to look for, i.e., disciplining oneself to a physical commitment (showing up) is a big achievement for clients who have not incorporated workout sessions in their life’s schedule before. After assessing achievements, we move onto redefining and renewing direction and goals.
To start the conversation, after completing a package of Pilates sessions, I will ask a client to describe their Pilates experience. Two very common client comments are:
- “I have never felt better.”
- “Pilates is the hardest exercise I have ever done.”
It is interesting that clients of all fitness levels state these similar observations about their Pilates’ experiences.
With further discussion, the answers become more nuanced. Follow up questions drill down to understanding the progress of their specific personal fitness and increase in physical literacy.
- “How do you feel better?”
- “Would you please explain what you mean by Pilates is hard?”
With active client communication, listening to their answers will explain the benefits and progress they have personally made during their sessions. These answers also hold the key to the new specific direction for their future sessions, and how best to instruct their personal future workouts. On these specifics, you can overlay new updated goals, to really provide empowerment to your clients.