CoachNow Coach Blog

Sessions, Not "Lessons": Know the Difference

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What kind of coach do you want to be? What kind of business do you want to run? How will you stand out from the crowd?

Over the past 10+ years, working with thousands of coaches, I can confidently say that if you remove 1 word from your vocabulary, your business will change permanently for the better. 

It’s a word that nearly every coach has used for their whole career. 

It's a word that, once replaced, has the power to change your athlete’s entire mindset. 

It’s a word that, from day 1, I completely omitted from the branding language of CoachNow. And I hope after reading this, you’ll remove it from your offer as well. 

So what’s this forbidden word?


I’ve been shouting this from the rooftops for years and, believe it or not, whenever I explain myself to our coaches, they leave the conversation with a complete mindset shift. 

Once this clicks they make it a goal to never give a “lesson” again. 

They remove mention of “lesson” from their websites, social media, and other touch points in their business. 

Why? It’s simple.

The word "lesson" implies a quick fix. 

It also represents a unit of time, usually an hour. 

Even if it may be subconscious, when you sell lessons, the athlete hears: 

“I’ll sell you an hour of my time to fix you and then you’ll be on your way.”

The result? 

You’re creating unrealistic expectations and timelines for your athlete’s improvement. 

You’re oversimplifying the complex relationship between the athlete and coach; between the push and pull that leads to long-term improvements and sustainable lifestyle change. 

You’re setting yourself up for failure, jeopardizing client retention, and causing frustration from both parties. 

Here’s the deal: you can’t make a lasting change in one hour. 

So why are you using language that makes this seem possible? Why are you structuring your business this way? 

It may seem inconsequential, but I have found much much more success using a different word: 


In this word is the subtext that the athlete’s training is a piece of a larger puzzle. 

It subconsciously conveys that you’re committed to their long term development, not just a quick fix. 

“As part of your fitness plan, we’ll conduct 1 live session per week to focus on feedback and recalibrate our goals” 

Doesn’t that sound so much more empowering than:

“As your coach, we’ll have 1 in-person lesson per week”  ?

This subtle yet profound terminology shift empowers you to build out quality training programs that round out your athletes both on and off the field. 

It also positions yourself to achieve more time- and location-freedom. By making “sessions” a feature of your coaching and not the coaching itself, you detach their improvement from your physical presence. 

Both you and the athlete can reach your goals more efficiently, eventually achieving the goal of switching from directive to calibrative feedback and giving the athlete the keys to their fitness journey. 

I could go on but I’m gonna keep this as short and simple as I can.

While it may seem silly to be this passionate about a WORD, I have seen the magic this shift can do. 

Words reinforce mindset. And the outdated nomenclature of “lesson” reinforces a passive, unrealistic structure to your coaching offer. 

Replace LESSON with SESSION so you can offer a true win-win-win for your athletes, yourself and your business.

Why not give it a try?

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