When studying to become a personal trainer, it may seem unnecessary to spend time learning about the rapport building stage, but it is vital for client retention to develop positive rapport. After the rapport building stage occurs, it is imperative to maintain a professional relationship.
When trust is earned, clients may discuss non-workout related issues. A study of women’s experiences with personal trainers concluded that clients wanted to feel like their trainer was a friend. The negative result of having a friend-like trust between the client and trainer is that it can lead to some uncomfortable situations. The following are summarized guidelines from ACE for maintaining positive rapport:
• Know the difference between “client-trainer empathy” and “personal involvement”.
• Keep client’s information confidential.
• Make an effort to develop “cultural competence”.
• If a client discusses “intimate” issues, do not feel obligated to demonstrate “interest” or attempt to counsel the client.
Personal trainers should use these strategies to handle and avoid uncomfortable situations.
American Council on Exercise. (2010). Basics of behavioral change and health psychology. (4 ed.), ACE personal trainer manual (pp. 56-58). San Diego: American Council on Exercise.
American Council on Exercise. (2010). Introduction to the ACE Integrated Fitness Training model. (4 ed.), ACE personal trainer manual (p. 84). San Diego:American Council on Exercise.