Evidence-Based Practice (How Coaches Should Coach)

What makes a great coach? This is something we find ourselves asking at AOD often. Indeed there are certain qualities that spring to mind, like presence and attitude, timekeeping, the ability to spot a cue, knowledge of a topic etc..

But what I want to talk about today is the system of Evidence-Based Practice that we use here at AOD. So, if you get PT with us or are on an online program this may be an interesting insight into WHY we program/coach how we do! believe it or not... we don't just make stuff up!

There are three main categories that make up Evidence-Based Practice (EBP):

  1. Client Data

  2. Scientific Evidence

  3. Coach's Expertise

Client Data

We gather data all the time. We track our client fitness levels over broad times and modal domains to see if their overall work capacity has increased (basically your overall fitness). We track strength metrics and for some, resting HR values, mood, sleep and more!

Soon, when we offer nutritional coaching, we'll be able to track a whole host of other factors to see which work for individuals and which don't. That's the thing with client data, you might try something that "should work" but a client hates it and feels terrible. Well, it's obviously not for them, no matter how well it's worked for others. On the contrary, sometimes even a small change that hasn't yielded big benefits before can make a huge difference to someone.

It's all about remembering that we coach individuals and not numbers. Each person will respond differently to even the most thoroughly tested diet plan or workout regime.

Scientific Evidence

This includes basing parts of our coaching practice on case studies, experimental research, reviews, and meta-analyses, etc.

If you've ever hung out at AOD HQ before then you probably know we like this one!

In general scientific evidence is a fantastic and reliable tool to know about the reality of what we prescribe. However, evidence can widely vary in quality, who is studied and how applicable the results are to our clients (remembering each is an individual).

Coach's Expertise

The more you coach, the more you learn, the more you learn the more of a database you start to obtain in your field. Just like anything you have to dedicate time and effort to become good at your craft and coaching is no different.

When you bring together experience, research and expertise we bein to have a pretty good working hypothesis about what is likely to be effective (and ineffective!).

Coaching Individuals

So, let's quickly look at an example of what I mean by coaching individuals.

A study fed people an extra 1000 calories above their maintenance for 8 weeks. As we'd expect, everyone gained weight - but there was a wide variation in how much! The least amount of fo weight gained was 0.36kg while the maximum amount of weight gained was 4.2kg. This is an example of metabolic adaptation, which we'll cover at some point, but for now, just recognize that again, everyone's bodies are different.

So in summary, here at AOD we try to use EBP to prescribe to all our clients. EBP uses a mixture of Client Data, Scientific Knowledge and Coaching Expertise to provide a systematic structure for coaching.

We recognise the value in treating clients as individuals and have a framework to fall back on analyse, adapt and learn from.

But this isn't to say we don't make mistakes.

That's all part of learning our craft.

But hopefully, you rest assured knowing that we don't simply make this stuff up ;)

Have a great week everyone, stay safe


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