Cooks vs. Bakers – Know yourself, know your clients

The day to day setting for cooks and bakers may be akin to one another, but that’s really where the similarities end. A little of this and a little of that, leave it in the pan for a few more minutes vs. 1/4 tsp cream of tartar, and bake at 375 on the middle rack for 27 minutes are about as different as it gets. As much as I would love to be a food blogger, we are not here to talk soups or soufflés, but these distinctly similar yet opposite professions provide an excellent metaphor for navigating what information your members really want. The cooks in your class will see the words on the whiteboard as an overall suggestion for their mind and bodies to run with, while the bakers will want the nitty gritty of why they’re doing what and how to accomplish it in the best way with exact prescriptions for both. Your job? Be ready to give both of them a recipe that makes the same thing.

Your first step in adding this distillation of your athletes is an assessment of yourself through this lens. I am undoubtedly a baker in this scenario, and a younger version of myself was very eager to reach my fellow bakers without ever taking into consideration that many of them were cooks. A little self awareness as a coach can go a long ways, as long as it’s paired with the fundamental truth that we are all different. Accepting these ideas gives you an opportunity to reach more people through the practice of mirroring. If you take the time to understand your clients, you can begin to speak their language and really break through a lot of the social barriers that stop the connection they deserve right in its tracks. It should go without saying that a well rounded staff and community is chock full of both designations, so if you find yourself in a leadership roll surrounded only by like minded people, it’s time to mix it up.

The second step in making this part of your repertoire is honing in on what your clients want vs. what you wish they wanted. At the end of the day they your bills, so cramming information down their throat that they could care less about really just becomes a character flaw on your part. This means that you need to enter every single class you coach with an overabundance of information on the bigger picture of the program, the specifics of the workout, the breakdown of movements, the mental vs. physical benefits, strategies and scales for everyone; all knowing that you might not get to use it at all. Your bakers need you to be prepared to scratch that itch while your cooks will be processing the bare bones information on their own.

Figure out where you stand, figure out where your clients stand, and communicate what they want and need to know accordingly.


Written by Drew Crandall


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