Knowledge / Communication / Connection / Trust

Language that will communicate knowledge begins with empathy, curiosity, and connection.

I have been teaching full time for eleven years. In that time I have taken countless certifications, trainings, seminars, and workshops.

I have been blessed to train under a who’s who of instructors in krav maga, bjj, boxing, firearms, kali, active shooter, crossfit, powerlifting, olympic lifting, rehab, movement, and the list goes on.

I was educated, athletic, charismatic, fun. People enjoyed my classes and learned a lot. However, I constantly battled with my internal stories around being taken seriously and knowing how to truly help people.

I was too young. Too fresh in the industry. There was always something more I could learn. I never felt good enough to give back.

With every seminar I attended, every workshop or certification I taught, every project I finished, I was obsessed with adding it to a teaching resume I created. I was convinced that the longer that resume was, the better instructor it made me; the more seriously I would be taken.

I was seeking validation externally and hiding that insecurity behind a pile of certificates.

Eventually I recognized that while I possessed knowledge, greatness was in the ability to communicate and connect. Communication with myself first and foremost to address the root of the issue and be in a place to genuinely impact others. Then communication with my students, what their needs were, how they receive information, what they receive from me, and where we can improve together.

What is a coach that has knowledge without efficient means to pass it on? Like a book that will change the world and is written in a language no one can read. The language that will communicate that knowledge begins with empathy, curiosity, and connection.

Those are the skills that built confidence in my life and have allowed me to bring strength and confidence into the lives of others. To impact them to the fullest.


With trust, we can begin to change people’s lives.

Trust is a huge part of a relationship between coach and student.

When we take time to genuinely connect with our students, we build trust.

With that trust, we can begin to change people’s lives.

Here’s three simple steps to start to create connection.

1.) Be genuine. People can identify fake interest quickly. To give true value, we must genuinely want to know who they are, what pain they have, and what we can do to solve it. Come from a place of sincere interest. No bullshit.

2.) Ask questions and listen. Avoid interjecting unless there’s an opportunity to support them. This time is about getting to know them. How are you feeling today? How is work going? How have classes been? What is your biggest focus or concern in training lately? What can I specifically support you with in class today? What are you eating for dinner tonight? Seen any good movies? How is the family? What are your goals for training? Etc…

3.) Follow through. Take the information they share and use it to guide your interaction with them. If they express a certain concern, discuss how the lesson plan for the day relates (if it does). If they express stress at work or concern in life, follow up with them at the next class or through email. Show them you were actually listening and actually care. If they gave you feedback (something they like or dislike about training) make any changes you feel are necessary or clarify any expectations that might need laid out. Use the information to optimize your ability as a coach.

Go forth and be awesome!
– Aaron

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