Struggling to connect with your clients and athletes?

by Brian Cain, MPM

As a coach, do you sometimes struggle to uncover your clients’, or athletes’, motivations, commitments, and goals?

Or maybe you’ve thought to yourself:

How do I get my clients and athletes to buy-in?

How do I connect with the younger generation of athletes?

How do I get them to take mental performance coaching seriously?… I understand it’s important but no matter what I say or do, they just don’t seem to care or see how it can positively impact their career.

If any of this sounds familiar, keep reading.

By the end of this lesson, you’ll have a wickedly effective tool for building connection and gaining the trust of your clients and athletes (no matter how difficult it may seem).

Why is this important?

When most people think about what makes a great coach, they often focus on the Xs and Os—the technical skills and strategies.

If you go a little deeper, you’ll find what really separates great coaches is their ability to build rapport and gain the trust of their clients and athletes.

Trust is the foundation of any effective coaching relationship—without it, your clients and athletes are less likely to buy into your coaching process, resist advice, and remain disengaged.

The activity I’ll share with you today will allow you to do just that. Plus, you’ll clearly understand what your client’s motivations are and what they desire to achieve.

You can then go to work on designing a clear game plan, hold them accountable to it, and provide the support system they will need to smash those goals!


  1. Introduce and prepare your client for the activity
  2. Create the vision board in Google Slides (View Examples)
  3. Identify their goals, motivations, and what they want to achieve
  4. Find images, words, affirmations, quotes, etc that represent everything (from Step 3)
  5. Help them save the slide as an image and walk them through the process of setting it as the background on their phone
  6. Remind them this is not static and encourage them to update their vision board (when relevant)

How to implement:

I recommend doing this activity for yourself first. It’s not only a great exercise to do personally, but it will give you the confidence to facilitate the activity for a client or athlete. Plus, you’ll also have an example to share with your client when introducing, preparing them for the activity (like in Step 1 above).

This activity is perfect for your first session when starting with a brand new client. It will help you eliminate the guesswork and give you a clear target to hit. Anytime you can do this as a coach it’s a win-win scenario (for both you and the client).

This exercise has been a staple in my coaching toolbox for nearly two decades—and one that I will continue to use. That’s why I’m excited for you to implement this into your coaching practice so you can level up your ability to connect with and gain the trust of your clients and athletes.

Want more practical coaching strategies like this?

Then fill out the form below to enroll in my FREE 3-Day mini course for coaches.