How to Lessen the Pain of Breaking Up with a Member or Firing a Coach

As a gym owner with a focused plan and defined company culture, it’s almost guaranteed there will be members and staff that conflict with your culture.

Whether you are experienced with firing people or not, it’s never fun and always has the potential to create headache, drama and extra emotion we’d all like to avoid.

We’re not going to address the obvious solutions like “don’t do it over text”, but instead, address the mindset for that difficult conversation. 

First – when there are signs of unrest but you aren’t sure what you want to do yet, here are two suggestions that came from the Level Method Legion by Chris Gerhardt and Johnny Di Gregorio:

  1. Try clearly communicating concerns ahead of a final decision and see if something like “taking a break” might help right the ship. 
  2. Don’t wait too long. This is a great reminder.  I know I am guilty trying too hard to smooth things over when they aren’t working.

Once you’ve decided a breakup is necessary, there is ONE THING that can really help with how to mentally approach it:

Think about the worst case scenario (WSC). 

While we may be inclined to avoid doing this as it’s not fun, it can yield two very helpful mental outcomes. 

  1. You will often realize that the WCS is not that bad. Depending on the person, most of the time the pain will be forgotten in a very short period of time relative to the life of your business. 
  2. You will be more aware of ways to AVOID that situation. Especially in the internet age, being aware of what could happen is always helpful when planning the use of words and methods of communication.

Here are a few more helpful questions to ask yourself to further position your mindset:

  • How can you create a sense of a positive outcome for both parties?
  • How can I be honest without coming off as an attack?
  • What would make this person respond the best way?
  • What setting will yield the best outcome?
  • What would make me most proud of my actions after the fact?

Like many things, the right answers are not always the easiest. Sometimes you’ve got to do the hard thing to get the best outcome.

Once it’s done, it’s time to move on and focus on mitigating any fallout and providing value for those people you DO want in your gym and are a positive part of your culture. 

If your decision making and actions come from a place defined by morals and values that you feel solid about you can rest easy you are doing the right thing.

Mather Wiswall

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