‘Well meaning’ – is it acceptable?

Is ‘well meaning” good enough?

‘It’s ok, they meant well…..’

This is a topic that has raged in my head for a while.

The first time I heard someone really address the question of ‘is “well meaning” good enough?’ directly was in the beginning fo 2018 whilst completing my MNU nutritional certification – Martin was address the topic in a video on social media.

Its gnawed away in my head on & off for a while, and whilst I was watching a bit of Sunday brunch yesterday the topic was brought to the front of my mind once again.

The guy who played Ken Barlow was being interviewed…

They were discussing the release of his new book, and although I can’t quite remember the reason why, he started going on about how bad sugar and carbs are.  How they were the reason that we are getting fatter.

Now whilst his intentions are 100% well meaning, that type of talk is dangerous.

The facts are that it’s not sugar or carbohydrates that are the cause of the nation becoming fatter, increases in obesity and related conditions/diseases. It’s the excess calories that’s the problem, not a set food type/group.  You could also add in how, as a nation, we are becoming less active, as well as the social elements like losing connection with food and where it comes from and how to cook etc. 

On the MNU course, Martin has a phrase for these type of people….the ones who mean well, but don’t really have a clue. I’m not going to repeat the comment that was used word for word – I can’t remember it specifically, but this ‘well meaning’ scenario  seems to be popping up more and more.

People with no education making bold statements about a topic and being incorrect.  This is the same principle as people saying/advertising that they are X specialist coach, run a program…and they aren’t.  Using technical and fancy words to make themselves sound amazing.  Recently I’ve worked with a number of people who have been to such set ups – buying into a product – with the same end result – injury.  Our sessions have all started with addressing all the issues/injuries (with the support of Hannah@Restore) that have picked up, with the end results NOT being what was written on the tin.

It frustrates me massively …..

Massively massively….

Before putting pen to paper I even discussed this topic with some of my colleges as I was questioning my motives…was I simply being a dick about it all? It was only when I hear someone else discuss it, and present that standpoint that I realised that I wasn’t being a dick.

I can accept that I’ve been in this industry a long time, have gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience, and that I have high standards…plus I defiantly know I went through that stage as a PT when ‘I was right’ and ‘everyone else was wrong’. My position now far clearer – using the principles of training, nutrition and lifestyle management to help people become a better version of themselves. If the end result wasn’t scaremongering, adding to people’s already poor relationship with food, people being injured and being ripped off then it wouldn’t annoy me as much, but unfortunately these things happen and that is something I detest immensley.

I’m pretty good at NOT making statements about topics I know nothing about….I refer to specialists, or go find them. I will go as far as ‘it’s fucked!’ when something isn’t working/broke, but then I leave it to someone in the know to expand on the specifics.

When giving out advice, I am always clear on the words I choose, and more often than not seek peoples clarity before our conversation is over.  Likewise, when coaching, I use my knowledge and experience to react to what’s actually happening in front of me at that specific time.  I also  (as much as possible) look to get the individual involved in some of the thought processes, helping them make their own conclusions based on the facts presented.

So whilst people may accept that ‘it’s ok, they meant well!’, when it comes to people’s health and wellbeing I don’t accept that as a reason.  We have to hold ourselves AND others accountable and take ownership of the services we deliver.  As coaches we have to develop a strong underpinning subject knowledge base and apply principles to our coaching.  This process NEVER stops. Whilst I cant hold everyone else accountable, I can hold myself accountable to standards, and the immediate coaches around me.  We ask each other for help, refer to each other, and discuss clients to get the best possible outcome.

At Custom Fitness,all the coaches/therapist talk to each other.  Like I outlined above.  Its one of the many things that I feel makes us completely unique – and its something that I’m personally proud of.  If you know me – then you’ll realise what a big statement that is!

If you have any questions comments please stick them in the comments section below, OR ping me .

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Good post! It starts at a young age, junior sports coaches are invariably parents with “some playing experience” but not a professional qualification, they do the NGB qual “Oooh I’m a Level 2” and suddenly they’re the font of all knowledge. There are lots of opportunities for anyone to “do” a course and the Fitness industry isn’t regulated so that there is a common standard as a result people are always confused about which PT qual is best. As a result any Derrick or Doris can achieve their dream of being a gym instructor/ PT/ nutrition guru which is based on a perception twisted thru media, both social and main stream, which encourages a view which is just plain wrong. I think that the UK has been really slow to accept the need for professional sports coaches and now that we’ve had some international sporting success (starting before 2012 Olympics) more and more people are keen to get involved but don’t have the knowledge, the qualifications or the aptitude to coach. Sometimes we’re distrustful of the professions because we feel that we’re getting ripped off by solictiors (How much for a letter?), dentists ( Do I really need that work doing?) and as a result while we’re keen to train, we’re not so keen to pay the price that reflects the time it’s taken for a sports coach to get (and maintain) a degree.

  2. Thanks you Jim for taking time to respond. You highlight strong points regarding trust and cost. I believe that solicitors costs are set by the justice department, not necessarily themselves. Price is often a stumbling block, as the perceived effort it takes to become a ‘PT’ is low. Skilled coaches are few and far between and yes, with such an easy entrance to the industry its not difficult to see why. Maybe a more rigorous set up is required. Take the UKSCA, their first time pass rate is 25%. Only people with the passion, enthuasium, aptitude and drive to really want to become certified will pass. The high standards that they hold act as a natural filter.

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