Part Two of The Most Important Skill in Powerlifting You Didn’t Know You Needed to Have and The 7 Things to Get You There.


Part 2 of 2

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here:

Yesterday we learned that time is only one factor in the equation of skill mastery.

Also, we suggested that learning a skill is not ‘enough’. Learning how to learn is also a critical piece of the puzzle!

Likewise, we explore the concept that being coachable is not innate. It’s not something that you are born with. It’s learned.

And, if your answer to these questions: “Do you want to be more coachable? Do you ultimately want to master your skill set to become the best powerlifter that you can be?” is yes, then read on.


Here are the seven things that I’ve learned are critical to becoming coachable:

  1. Implement! Be prepared to do everything that is asked of you.

The very definition of being coachable means that you are ready to do what it takes to change, transform, improve or excel, whatever that means for you and your situation. The act of hiring a coach is only one step, but acting on the coaches plan is what really matters.
Before I hired my current coach, I made sure that I was ready, willing and able to do whatever my coach asked of me. I knew that there would be specific tasks that would be challenging, but I was committed to the process even BEFORE I approached my potential coach so that once we laid the groundwork, and the rules of engagement according to the coach and her philosophy, I was ready. Again, I come back to one of the keys of being coachable: being responsible for implementing the coach’s plan.

Remember, even champions need coaches. Canadian Super Heavyweight Champ and top three IPF World’s finisher, Kelly Branton, recently hired RTS Founder and Coach Mike Tuchscherer to help him get even better. Yep, any athlete at any level can benefit from a coach.

I understand that there can be barriers to hiring a one-on-one coach. There are a plethora of online programs and systems available to you that can help you get better. But I’d challenge you to still embrace the concepts I am sharing regardless of your current coaching situation. And if you don’t have the resources to hire your own coach just yet, then I’ve got a simple solution for you: Train with someone better then you.

By surrounding yourself with one or more people who have been doing what you are doing longer than you have, and who are performing at a higher level than you, you exponentially increase your chances for ongoing progress and skill mastery.

It is both motivational AND educational when we have the opportunity to train with others, and in particular with others that are better than ourselves.

So start saving your money to hire a coach ASAP!!


  1. Be patient and manage your expectations.

Expectations are useful. They can help us set the framework for where we ultimately want to go. But, it’s in most of our human nature to lack the patience it might take. Track your progress; be aware of your development and improvements. Set both short term and long term goals – including in-gym and in-competition goals.

Remember, it’s not just about the numbers. Progress can show up on the barbell and in your mindset. And, realize that there will be bumps in the ride. Remember the concept of linear progression? Most progress, in any aspect of life, comes in waves. Yes, we can predict progress to a certain extent – like peaking for a competition. But, life – stress, family, injury, school, work, kids – happens. As such, progress might be hampered, or halted.

If you find yourself at this point (and believe me, we all will), then perhaps it’s your expectations that might need to be managed rather than your progress.

Stay the course!


  1. Focus on You.

Stop looking at what everyone else is doing, (ok, ok, this is my social media bias talking now), and just squat!! Your training, your progress, your videos (shared with your coach), your achievements are what matters most. Remember, you have nothing to prove. Your goals are for you, and you alone. A bench press PR has lots to be celebrated, but save that joy for you and your training partner and your coach.

I said it before, and it is worth repeating: Stay away from the IG feed! Try it. You might like it.


  1. Have Fun.

Yes, it’s not all kittens and rainbows and unicorns. Some training days will bring angst or anxiety leading up to training time. This is what should happen when the challenge of getting better meets the your current abilities and you are conscientiously vested in the process of skill mastery. Also known as “Flow” – an important concept of Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for another blog post. But, for you keeners, you can find his TED Talk here:

If you are not having fun – most of the time – then I’d highly suggest finding another pastime.


  1. Put yourself out there. Compete!

Deadlines provide the impetus or urgency to prioritize our training and push to an end goal. It’s fine to dream, but remember, goals are dreams with a deadline. Determining a deadline, and in the case of powerlifting committing to a competition, can have exponential affects on your progress.

There are many factors to consider when preparing and when executing a competition. Trusting the process of training and preparation is severely underrated. One of my mottos is “trust the training”. In bodybuilding this mantra is helpful when the body seems to stall in fat loss; in powerlifting it’s when a certain lift seems to stall or even regress. Coaches are the ones who can and should be taking the lead in these circumstances. Yes, your feedback –both physiological and psychological – is a critical piece of the equation. But ultimately your role is to trust. Come competition time, learning how to trust the coach in to execute the game plan also needs to be emphasized.

At a recent Iron Sisters USA Training Camp, USAPL World Bench Press Coach, Donovan Thompson shared a story about athlete Tim Anderson’s IPF World Bench Championships experience. Donovan set Tim’s opener at 600 lbs – more than 20 pounds over Tim’s current World Record. When Tim saw this, he initially questioned the logic. Donovan calmly stated, “You are ready”. Tim went out and crushed it –earning a new World Record and securing the World Championship on his opening attempt!

When an athlete is prepared, the coaches job is to design the game plan and the athlete’s job is to execute the game plan. Commit to a competition, trust the game plan and be prepared for some incredible results.


  1. Have an insatiable appetite to learn.

I’ve got twenty three years of skin in the iron game and I am STILL LEARNING. When you stop learning, you stop growing. I recently asked our Iron Sisters USA coaching team what was one thing they’ve learned in each lift that has helped them get better. And guess what? They each ha at least one NEW thing that they had learned, implemented and subsequently credit to their newfound success.

If World Champions are still learning, then there is nothing stopping you or I from doing the same.

So, keep learning!


  1. Mental toughness is YOUR responsibility.

Learning this vital piece of the mastery equation is really up to you! But, just like the physical skills, mental mastery and toughness takes practice. You can start with some practical and targeted ideas from these sources: Ten Minute Toughness, by Jeffrey Selk, Peak Performance by Charles A. Garfield or the online Mental Toughness program by Lisa Lane Brown called .

Whatever direction you take, whether you focus on visualization or hypnosis or positive self-talk, you will have to spend time as much time on your mental game as you do on your physical game. The good news is that studies have shown visualization to be almost as good as the real thing! In other words, if you visualize your performance, you are more likely to achieve success. When done effectively, the brain can’t actually determine the visualized activity from the actual physical one.

You can read more insights about that here:

How badly do you want that squat PR?

Well, if you think it, it may come!


Closing thoughts

There is value in hiring a professional for all aspects of our lives – I go to a dentist to clean and examine and keep my teeth healthy, I hire a lawyer to help me with my real estate properties and I hire a Wealth Advisor to create my plan for wealth success.

Why wouldn’t I hire a powerlifting coach to help me accomplish mastery in powerlifting?

Remember, it’s not just about mastering the squat or becoming a better powerlifter. What you gain from having experts in your corner will translate into other areas of your life! The act of opening yourself up to coaching, and becoming coachable will also translate into other areas of your life, if you allow this to happen.

There is an undefined value in being coached, as well as in learning to be coachable. I can’t stress the importance of these two linked concepts to you enough. Anyone can hire a coach, yet not everyone is willing to be coachable.

Consider the impact that hiring a coach and developing into the most coachable athlete you can be, can make.

I’m a true believer in coaching and I’ve made it my life goal (not just my powerlifting goals) to become more coachable as I seek to attain mastery in powerlifting, and in life.

My hope is that you’ve come to understand the importance of becoming coachable in your powerlifting journey.

So as you move forward in 2017 to become the very best powerlifter that you can be, don’t forget this important skill, and seek out how you too can become coachable.

If you want to explore this, then Iron Sisters™ Strength Camp, or Iron Sisters USA Training Camp might be the very thing to help you begin your journey of becoming coachable. Join Bonica Lough, Jennifer Thompson and Kimberly Walford, along with a stellar cast of associate coaches, for some of the best hands-on coaching that you will ever experience. Visit to register today.

If you can’t make it to one of our camps because of time or other resources constraints, then you might want to check out the next best thing: Strength Camp, The Video. For a limited time (and because you’ve read this blog) you can get all 11 hours of some of the best powerlifting teaching and training tools for 30% off the regular price of $97 – yep, save almost 30 bucks, today! Use this link and your promo code Coachable. These videos share the best of Strength Camps 2.0 and 3.0 with coaches including Kimberly Walford, Jennifer Thompson, Rhaea Stinn, Sioux-Z Hartwig-Gary and more.

Your journey to powerlifting mastery and being coachable starts now!


Frances Manias, Physique Coach and Iron Sisters founder, has been coaching physique, fitness, powerlifting and performance for nearly 23 years. No one in Canada has won five National Bodybuilding Championships AND two National Powerlifting titles, nor represented Canada in both the IFBB World Bodybuilding Championships (7 times) and IPF Powerlifting Championships (twice). Frances is most proud however, of the efforts and successes of her clients. Although the bodybuilding stage or the powerlifting platform might not be your cup of tea, Frances believes that success in fitness is for all.