How to Make your Coaches Take Ownership, Thrive and Stay Forever

Over the past 4 weeks I’ve interviewed several gym owners and long term coaches about what is important when it comes to maintaining a long term and fruitful coach/owner relationship. The experience was extremely interesting, informative, and full of surprises.

I asked several questions but the one constant I asked everyone was “what is the single most important factor in maintaining long coaching tenure?” (long being defined as roughly 4 years or longer) While I did get some answers I expected, I also got many I did not and very few were the same. I’m excited to share the findings as I think there is some extremely valuable information uncovered for anyone running a gym or business in general.

First, why is coach tenure important? 

  • Member experience is mostly driven by the coaches they interact with. Great coaching = great member experience
  • It’s easier, less risky, and less time consuming to maintain a great coach than find or train one
  • The emotional connection a member has with a coach that has positively impacted their life can be an incredibly strong bond keeping them in the gym. If this bond is broken (due to coach leaving) or can’t develop (due to constant turnover) it makes it much easier for a member to leave for any little reason
  • Every minute the owner of the gym is coaching, is a minute they are working IN their business and not ON it. (to be cliche)

None of that is groundbreaking, but it can’t hurt to re-cap the importance to establish the value a helpful snippet in this series might have in impacting your gym.

One aspect that I found interesting was just how different the strategies were based on circumstances of the gym. Here are a few variables I uncovered that I try to reference throughout the series and may be helpful for determining your best strategy.

  • Size, location and demographics of the community the gym is a part of
  • Owner’s business goals/situation (multiple gym ownership, single gym, side hustle)
  • Available local sources of ideal coaches (a college being a big one)

Of all of the advice and thoughts I recieved, it seemed they all boiled down into 3 primary categories:

  • Who you hire
  • Culture
  • Financial & growth opportunity

I will be posting an individual article on each of these topics and how different people approach them from both sides of the coin… from the owner perspective AND the coach perspective.

The last article will highlight the number 1 takeaway I gathered from the interviews. The more people I talked to, the more I noticed a common underlying theme that sets the tone for how I would approach a long term coach relationship. I hope you enjoy and find it useful!

Mather Wiswall

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