All clients are different and they might have very different goals and reasons for wanting a personal trainer. You need to be able to figure out what those goals and reasons are so that you will be able to deliver what they want.
Many trainers have been where their client currently is and has gone through the process of getting in shape. The problem is that a client might not have the same level of motivation and usually hire a personal trainer because they are busy and want to remove some of the responsibility.
A lot of people join a gym with the overall goal of being healthier or to get in shape. They do expect to be taken out of their comfort zones from time to time but they might not be prepared to be pushed to the limit every session.
You should always keep your client in mind and their health should be the priority. You wouldn’t want to push them so hard that they get injured. Many clients will hire a personal trainer to show them the ropes and to introduce them to exercises in a safe and controlled way so that they don’t get injured.
Sometimes even if you know you can get them into the best shape of their lives with a six-pack it might be better to give them a more realistic goal. If you set a goal that can be achieved in 3 to 4 weeks the client may then decide to push himself that little bit further. At the end of the day it is always a better feeling to have achieved a small milestone than to fail at something bigger.
The greatest amount of value you can provide your clients is an education, similar to the expression it is better to teach a man how to fish rather than to just give him a fish. By making your client more knowledgeable it will also place more responsibility on the client so that they understand why they should be doing things a certain way and why it works.
It is certainly possible for the client to achieve their goals without them having to follow a bodybuilder’s lifestyle. Of course if your client wants to be a bodybuilder then by all means go ahead and treat them accordingly.
Make sure to set goals that they can be successful at. Training a person to do their first chin up is often more than enough to make them happy. Set short term weekly goals so that they can get into the habit of being successful and motivated.