We believe coaching is the true product of your facility. People may walk through your door to get fit, to be part of a community, or to burn off stress, but good coaching and community (which is driven by good coaches) are why they stay.
To build a better facility, you need to build better coaches. Which means you need to have a plan or system for developing your coaches.
But before you go down that rabbit hole, there are 3 things you should already have in place.
1. Have you shared your core values with your team? And do your coaches share those values?
Your values are what you believe. They are why you get out of bed in the morning. They set the tone for a facility and the priorities of the coaches.
If you’ve never really thought too much about it before, it’s pretty easy to quickly sketch your values out on a napkin or piece of paper. Just ask yourself: Why did I open a gym? Why should anyone care about this facility? Why do I want this business to succeed? Why do I keep coming here every day? What’s the purpose of this business? Be honest with the answers to those questions.
Now ask yourself: Do my coaches know what I stand for, and do they share my motivations?
If your reason for being open is to make money, make sure that the people who work for you also just want to make money. Because if the people who work for you are there to change lives, those are two conflicting ideologies. Which means you are offering two different products on the floor: one that is focused on doing what needs to be done to make money, and one that is focused on going the extra mile to make the biggest impact. Those are different value systems, different beliefs. There will be a lot of conflict in this sort of situation because the coach wants to be valued for their contribution but they never are; they are not surrounded by people who share their beliefs.
Likewise, if your goal is to change lives and to affect as many people as possible, you’re going to be disappointed by coaches who just want to make money. They offer a different product than what you want to offer.
So give your coaches your value system. Keep the coaches who share your values. Let the rest go.
2. Do your coaches coach the full hour?
Do your coaches coach from start to finish? Is there a coach led warmup every day? Do they coach skill work, then workout and then a cool down?
Coaches need to coach. They need all the practice and exposure they can get for their own improvement and for the engagement of your members.
We’re in the business of building relationships. Our job is to create change in every person in front of us, and that’s hard to do. It means we need to accumulate as many experiences dealing with people as we can so that we’re more prepared and more educated the next time something comes up.
Make sure your coaches are actually providing 60-minutes worth of instruction and value.
3. Are you using lesson plans or just programming?
Programming is just the workout for that day. Sometimes it includes a cool down, but it’s totally barebones.
What happens is that coaches often default to their go-to warmups (“Take a 400m run and some shoulder rolls!”), substitutions and scales. Sometimes they don’t preserve the stimulus of the workout, which makes the programming ineffective. From a member’s perspective, classes can seem inconsistent from coach-to-coach.
Lesson plans solve those problems. They are much more in-depth, giving coaches full warmups, scales, substitutions, a brief, goals for each fitness level, notes on how to coach the workout (and preserve the stimulus), and tips and strategies your athletes can use to crush a workout.
You don’t have to buy our lesson plans but you should seriously consider having these sort of plans for your team. You could sign up for a free 2-week sample (on our home page) to see how we do things and then just get your programmer to start doing it.
The point is:
- Lesson plans are a fantastic way to push coaches beyond their comfort zones.
- Lesson plans force coaches to learn new things and to put some energy into their professional development.
- Lesson plans also show you which coaches truly care. Coaches who care will study and follow the plan. Coaches who don’t care will skip the lesson plan and wing it, coming up with stuff on the fly instead.
- And finally, lesson plans get everyone on the same page, which makes classes more consistent from coach-to-coach. Something your members will appreciate.
So before you worry about how to find learning material for coaches, or how to quiz coaches, or how to build a coaching development program, put these 3 things into place.
We’ve learned this the hard way. We’ve been doing this for 10+ years. We’ve spent countless hours discussing coaching development with other affiliate owners. We’ve managed development over 70 coaches at one time. There has been a lot of trial and error. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. You can skip all that experimentation and time and dive right into the good stuff.
Put these 3 things into place and your coaches will improve, your community will thrive, your facility will grow.