Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Coaching Ethos.

How do you create a high level coaching team?

This is a question I think about a fair amount.

These are my thoughts after talking to people who have been in high level coaching teams, observing how organizations like the NFL work and reading some of the literature.

Much of the literature and most of the books are about teams within business organizations. Some of this applies to the 'actual' coaching fitness professionals do. Some of it applies to professional sports teams, but is not so applicable to paying clients. I think it was Mike Boyle who said it is way harder to coach the general public than professional athletes.

I am also assuming you are not a lone personal trainer, in which case you are the coaching team, and should build a referral network for things that may be beyond the scope of your skill set at this moment such as nutrition and sports injury. Unfortunately, many lone personal trainers do not do this, to be blunt they need the money and therefore try to be an expert in everything. Sometimes this works out for them, sometimes it doesn't.

So without further ado in random bullet point format (easily tweetable).

  • Everyone in the team knows their exact role.
  • Everyone knows the exact goal of their team and their part in it.
  • Everyone needs to know the product. Yes that includes the cleaner and the receptionist working one hour a week.
  • Clear metrics on what we are measuring. What is important to us.
  • Consequences for not meeting the metric.
  • Reward for meeting the chosen metric.
  • Regular coaching get togethers. Make the agenda clear, not moaning and gossip. But plans and solutions.
  • Every day, week, month think what did we do well, what could we do better/different. And then act on this.
  • The coaching team should complement each other. They don't have to be clones.
  • Make it clear to customers and clients -'this is what we do'.
  • Make it clear to customers - 'this is not what we do' but we may know someone else who does.
  • Don't try and bend the product to the customer.
  • But be flexible with your product, if the market and the science and the zeitgeist changes you may need to change. But make that change whole hearted, not piecemeal.
  • If the client is willing to work hard, or the customer is a promoter, go all out and give everything.
  • Sack the customer who doesn't want it. Sack the customer who annoys other customers.
  • The basics that every customer expects - clean, equipment works, greeting, acknowledgment from staff.
  • Clear pricing, clear proposition.
  • Don't be afraid of your price if the product is worth it.
  • USP, it could be weightlifting, or rehab, or beginners, or weightloss, or being cheap or group training or being luxury. Choose what it is and embrace it.
  • Let the USP inform every level of your product from marketing, social media presence, staff recruitment to layout of the building or the equipment you choose.
  • Amateurs come across as amateurs. If you are a professional this is how you make your living. It should be all consuming. For amateurs it is a hobby, professionals get paid.
  • None of your team should come across as amateurs. Again this applies to the cleaner, the receptionist and the back room staff.
  • If half your salary depended on retaining members and customers what would you do differently? (Self employed people already get this). Who and what would make the cut?
  • If you are new to the market you may need to discount to get your name out there.
  • If you are established and still discounting there is either something wrong with your business model or your pricing is wrong.
  • Don't phone it in.
  • If you've got nothing on the line what have you got to lose or gain? Managers of big organizations find it hard to grasp this.
  • Your coaches should be constantly learning and training. What does the team actually want to improve at? Organize that training for them
  • What does the team need to improve at, organize that training for them.
  • Everyone should be improving and engaging in deliberate practice. In-house training and external training should be built into the schedule and built into the budget, not an after thought.
  • Use scientific rigour to inform your coaching, but also realize that coaching is an art that requires creativity.
  • Be honest.
  • Be open. Other people can have really good ideas.
  • You don't need to be the expert in everything, but know someone who is.
  • It should be fun. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't also be serious, challenging  and sometimes stressful. Being good at something is hard. being the best is really hard.
  • Listen. If no one is saying anything, you are in trouble.
  • Passion only gets you so far, eventually you need a plan, skills, grit and dedication (cue Record Breakers theme tune from the 1980's with Roy Castle on his trumpet, outside of the UK this reference doesn't mean anything)
1980's flashback.

Of course, all this is easier said than done.

Well, that's all I've got right now. Let me know if you have anything else to add to the list.

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