These days it seems like everything is “elite this” and “elite that.” Even with personal training, we can’t escape the need for things to be super-high-level all the time. Yet, with that in mind, we still seek to be “Elite Coaches” at Empowered Strength because we believe it gives our members the best experience with the best results.

What makes someone an “Elite Coach?”

Believe it or not, it does not necessarily mean training elite athletes.

In fact, many Elite Coaches prefer to train “regular” individuals, because that is where their true skills come to light. Many times, elite athletes are such that they would excel no matter who they were coached by. The Average Joe/Jane, on the other hand, has many different motivations and needs.

Believe it or not, it does not necessarily mean training elite athletes. Follow these 13 simple, yet outstanding ways to surely become an Elite Coach. -Fitness Professional Online

So, without any further rambling, here are thirteen simple, yet outstanding ways we believe someone can be an “Elite Coach:”

1) Having Knowledge & Personal Experience

Elite Coaches, as it should make sense, know what they’re doing.

But, not only do they know what they’re doing, but they’ve also done it successfully and repeatedly. They’ve done it, do it, and will do it again. An Elite Strength Coach has successfully helped others achieve high levels of strength. Likewise, an Elite Fat Loss Coach has successfully helped others lose the fat they’ve always wanted.

2) Being a Skilled Teacher

Have you ever had a teacher you didn’t like? I’m sure you did!

More often than not, the reason these teachers tend to be unlikeable is because they simply don’t teach very well. Sometimes it’s their personality, yes, but teaching is a subtle art. Not every student learns the same way and it’s up to the teacher to have the patience, wisdom, and consistency to breakthrough to each individual’s unique learning style.

Elite Coaches all have different methods for demonstrating, describing, and supervising their instruction to their students.

3) Guiding Learning

Just like with the above, have you ever had a teacher that was overwhelming?

Sometimes, it’s simply too easy to give out too much information too quickly. An Elite Coach, even though he or she may be very excited to work with you, can expertly “keep a hold on the reigns” when it comes to guiding the learning process. Many times, newer coaches seek to impress a client by divulging as much information as possible as soon as possible. However, Elite Coaches seek to express the appropriate amount and kind of information to aid their students’ success.

4) Motivating

If different individuals learn in different ways, then it would make perfect sense that these individuals are motivated by different things as well.

A middle-aged mom who wants to look hot in her favorite pair of jeans isn’t going to respond to the same motivational tactics as a retired man who’s looking to overcome his family’s curse of diabetes. An Elite Coach knows this and doesn’t simply yell, “You can do it!” through a megaphone at all of his students. The Elite Coach understands each of his students’ unique motivations and taps into them when he or she is feeling weak or uninspired.

5) Listening to Understand

One of the most difficult things in relationships is communication. However, it’s not always a lack of communication, but a lack of truly listening. Too many people listen to respond, rather than listen to understand.

Not Elite Coaches.

It is an Elite Coach’s duty to empathize with his student. And, in order to truly connect, the Elite Coach must seek to understand his student’s difficulties, rather than responding for the sake of responding.

6) Probing Deeper

No one wants to “lose weight” or “get shredded.” Rather, people want what they think they will get as result of losing weight or getting shredded.

The individual might want to lose some fat because he feels self-conscious doing his workplace presentations since he believes his audiences his constantly distracted by his large belly. The other individual wants to “get shredded” because he’s getting married in a few months and wants to look his best for his wife-to-be.

Growth and change can be uncomfortable, but it’s up to an Elite Coach to ask the uncomfortable questions in order to get to the deeper reasons why his student actually wants what he say’s he wants.

7) Walking the Walk

Would you take advice from a broke banker, an overweight dietitian, a realtor without a house, or a “parent” that’s never actually raised a child?

No. Because, “do as I say, not as I do,” does not work. The Elite Coach, instead, leads by example.

8) Exhibiting Teamwork

When you’ve got a goal in mind, an extremely vexing thing is when people seem to be against you in this matter.

An Elite Coach is always on your side, fighting with you to overcome your most insurmountable obstacles. Even when the going gets tough and it feels like everyone is getting frustrated with results, or lack thereof, the Elite Coach shows you that he is committed to you through thick and thin.

9) Innovating

When situations fail to work out as they should, it’s quick and easy to blame the system. This is what very inexperienced coaches do.

Good coaches look for reasons why things don’t work or aren’t working while staying within their current system.

Elite Coaches, however, challenge that system by innovating; coming up with new ways to solve issues and client problems.

10) Inspiring a “Shared Vision”

All individuals who seek to coach have deeper reasons as to why they seek help. Coaches, in the same breadth, also have deeper reasons for why they do what they do.

Elite Coaches share this vision with their students. The best coaches believe wholeheartedly that they can and will make a difference. Elite Coaches believe that when everyone is invested in achieving a collective dream, everyone involved will exceed their own perceived limits.

11) Taking Responsibility

When disappointment happens and endeavors are unsuccessful, the run-of-the-mill coach will blame his client.

But, Elite Coaches know that there is no use in doing so. Blaming failure on the client gets him or her no closer to their goal.

The Elite Coach always assumes that he can do a better job as a teacher, mentor, and coach and accepts responsibility for his student’s failings. This means that the Elite Coach is constantly searching for and finding new ways to improve. Consequently, this also means that Elite Coaches are in a state of perpetual growth which feeds back to their students’ success rate.

12) Crediting Success

When something is worked for and achieved, credit is due. Yet, not everyone in their lives has people that recognize their accomplishments and give them a proverbial “pat on the back.”

The Elite Coach, just as he accepts responsibility for a client’s failings, knows when to pass on the credit to his student and have a celebration of sorts. Everyone wants to feel like they’re accomplished big goals, regardless of the size of said accomplishment. If it’s important to the student, it’s important to the Elite Coach.

13) Denying Luck

Why is this #13? Because Elite Coaches don’t believe in luck. Luck might very well exist. But, in the realm of coaching and what people seek coaching for, luck has no bearing.

The Elite Coach knows that the accomplishments of his students aren’t due to random happenstance, but because the individual at hand followed a plan and made the consistent effort to make changes in his or her life.

These individuals aren’t “lucky.” They forged their own destiny.

So, if you work with a coach, or are one yourself, take a second to think about these Thirteen Things and ask whether or not you or your coach live by them.

Believe it or not, it does not necessarily mean training elite athletes. Follow these 13 simple, yet outstanding ways to surely become an Elite Coach.


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John Odden

John Odden

Bachelor of Science, Central Washington University

Certifications and Courses
StrongFirst Level 2 Kettlebell Instuctor
NSCA- Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer
ACSM- Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP)
FMS- Level 2 Practitioner
Max Shank Ultimate Athleticsm
Original Strength User Course
Kettlebell Strong- Double Kettlebell Course with Geoff Neupert
Personal Accomplishment
#1 Ranked in World for Scottish Highland Games Lightweight Class
3 World Records as Lightweight Competitor
Former Heavyweight Professional Athlete
Multiple Amateur Heavyweight records and championships
StrongFirst Tactical Strength Challenge Elite Class Competitor
StrongFirst “Beast Tamer” (Strict Press, Pistol, and Pull up with 106lb “Beast” Kettlebell)
Competitive Olympic Lifter in 94KG Masters Class

As a young athlete, I was always fascinated with health and fitness. After getting my first weight set of plastic covered cement weights from Target when I was 12, I became instantly hooked on becoming stronger and learning how to challenge my body to learn new skills. Unfortunately, I was misguided and ended up with chronic low back and shoulder injuries that sidelined my athletic career until recently. Both of these injuries initially started in the gym. I knew there had to be a better way to use resistance training and other forms of training as a way to strengthen my body without reinjuring myself. Unknowingly, these injuries started me down the road on my quest to learn as much as possible about how to help others perform at their best while living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Slowly my pain improved to the point where I could do some reasonable heavy lifting while competing as a Scottish Highland Games athlete. Through the use of carefully designed resistance training programs, metabolic conditioning, mobility/corrective exercises, and proper nutrition, I was able to progress to the professional level in the sport I had grown to love. I have continued to compete for over 10 years while setting three world records in the process. I am now pain-free and feel better than ever at age 37! I also love exploring the great outdoors and enjoying a good brew in true Bend style after a long day of snowboarding, hiking, or paddle boarding.

My background includes15 years of personal training, strength coaching, wellness coaching, and professional experience in the gym, wellness, and clinical settings 12+ years working full time in high school strength coaching, employee wellness, physical therapy and cardiac rehabilitation settings for St. John Hospital in Longview, WA.During my career with St. John, I successfully created a system wide weight management, employee group fitness, post rehabilitation and high school strength and conditioning programs. I am currently pursuing my certification in Olympic Weightlifting through USA Weightlifting and my SFB- Bodyweight Certification though StrongFirst.

I provide individual personal training (one on one), customized semi-private coaching (small group 2-4 clients), group classes (6-10 clients per class), online coaching and personalized nutritional planning services to a wide variety of clientele, ranging from young athletes to frail seniors with significant limitations.I want to help you achieve your goals and empower you to become more fit than you ever thought possible while moving well and training with a clear purpose.

Please contact me for more information. I would be glad to discuss options to get you started towards your goals today.
John Odden


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