After writing this post on why men lie, it occurred to me that lying to coaches and trainers is probably a significant issue, so here we go!
I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of such lies:) So, there’s no condemnation here, only thoughts - some surprising - on why we lie to coaches and trainers - and what effect it has.
FYI, I’ll just use the word coach in this post to avoid having to continually type coach or trainer:)
What we lie about…
#1: Compliance. Yes, you’ve been great on your diet.
#2: Knowledge. Oh yeah, you know all about nutrition and stuff.
#3: Satisfaction: Of course, you’re happy with how your trainer works with you.
The obvious rationale for being 100% honest with your coach is that you’re paying for his or her help. You had a good reason to hire a coach, and when you don’t give honest feedback, your coach won’t know which adjustments to make in your program. You’re shooting yourself in the foot by rendering your hire less effective.
Why would anyone lie to the person hired to help?
The reasons go beyond wanting to appear compliant, but this is one reason. You want your coach to think you’re a good client - on the ball and still very motivated.
You also don’t want your coach to feel bad - to take your non-compliance personally - as if he or she isn’t doing a good job.
Ok, so you’re protecting your image and that of your coach, but is there more to it? You bet. If you take a look deeper, you might be surprised at the hidden motivation involved.
The Deeper Reason for Lies
Typically, we lie to avoid things. We lie to avoid conflict, for example, falsely agreeing with people in order to avoid an argument. We lie to avoid being punished. No, I didn't eat the dessert out of your lunch!
What are we really avoiding when we lie to a coach about compliance with our program?
My answer: You’re avoiding the self-sabotaging part of you that wants to be miserable.
Bear with me now:) For me, and ALL of my clients, there is one important reality to deal with when we lack self-discipline. Deep down, we don’t want what we think we want. And what we do want is often pretty ugly.
This is often the case when follow through is relatively simple, but ends up being impossible to pull off. Sticking to a certain diet and avoiding junk food. Simple! And totally doable on a behavioral level. Just follow your diet, period.
The problem occurs on a different level. It’s not that it's physically impossible to keep the Twinkie out of your mouth. The issue is, a part of your psyche doesn’t care - at all - about being healthy. This part of you is probably more comfortable being fat. A part of you wants to be fat and is willing to embrace the misery! And this inner demon comes out around 9 PM, right?
This is a psychological issue - not a behavioral one. Deep down, we crave familiarity more than anything. I often suggest to clients and remind myself that we would choose a familiar misery over a foreign happiness nine times out of ten.
So, part of you wants to maintain the status quo and resist change, even when change will make you happier and healthier. This is known as self-sabotage. It’s more common than most of us realize. Now, self-sabotage doesn't have to be a deep, dark, scary issue. It's normal. When we see it and are honest, ithe tendency nearly evaporates and we can get on with our positive goals.
Back to the lying issue.
We lie to our coaches to protect our self-sabotage - to avoid having to deal with it. We spend our conscious hours wishing the issue would disappear, but never really confront it. Ironic, isn't it?
Then, the lying catches up to us because, well, our gut is not shrinking like it should and, well - hey that coaching thing just isn’t working out, so….time to stop showing up for appointments and just let it go. Another coaching failure.
In my coaching practice, I put the issue of hidden self-sabotage on the table right in the beginning and completely normalize it. Clients begin right away to be honest about how they’re covering their self-sabotage and learn to confront it. It’s amazing!
Have you ever lied to your coach? Why?