hiring coaches

Three Tips For Hiring CrossFit Coaches (And Where To Find Them)

When it comes to hiring CrossFit coaches, finding the right ones and retaining them are the goals. Here are three tips for adding long-term, happy coaches!

Emily Beers
February 3, 2023
Three Tips For Hiring CrossFit Coaches (And Where To Find Them)
When it comes to hiring CrossFit coaches, finding the right ones and retaining them are the goals. Here are three tips for adding long-term, happy coaches!

When the time comes to expand your team, take a moment to acknowledge this win. Your gym is growing and you’re moving in the right direction! The need for hiring CrossFit coaches is a milestone for a small business owner.

Promoting someone into your role as the head coach, and freeing up your time to work on the business, is game-changing for revenue and growth.

However, it’s not as simple as sending someone to get their L1 certification and hoping for the best. The last thing you want is to spend hours mentoring a new coach, only to have them leave your gym.

Finding the right coaches - and retaining them - is the goal. Experienced gym owners with long-tenured coaches say it starts with the hiring process.

Tips for hiring CrossFit coaches that stick around long-term

Hiring CrossFit Coaches For The Long Run

1. Ask For Transparency And Give It In Return.

When you’re desperate to hire a coach, it’s tempting to make it a quick decision. You have a ton of work on your plate and a member who’s expressed interest. They seem eager to learn and have a good attitude so why not?

Yes, there’s certainly a chance they might be a good fit for your gym long-term. But there’s a lot of information to gather before officially hiring a coach.

And it starts with transparency. Like, real transparency. To which, you also need to reciprocate.

First, find out why this person wants to coach. Are they looking to earn a free membership in exchange for coaching? Or are they passionate about helping people and possibly making coaching a full-time career? Perhaps they fall somewhere in the middle: They enjoy coaching and want to see if it’s something they want to do long-term.

Next, ask yourself if you can offer what they’re looking for. This can be measured monetarily or by achievements.

For example, if someone is looking to make $75,000 yearly within the first couple years, crunch the numbers to see if this is feasible. If your income forecast doesn’t support this goal, be honest. You don’t want to set them up for disappointment in the long run.

Or maybe you’re looking to roll out a nutrition coaching program. In that case, find coaches that truly have a passion for advancing in this area. Hiring CrossFit coaches and asking them to coach nutrition could lead to some major job dissatisfaction.

The point is, the transparency comes from both sides. Find out what the prospective coach needs and outline what’s best for your gym. Have the hard conversations up front instead of allowing issues to arise after the hire.

Questions and topics to cover:

  • Why do you want this position and why this gym specifically?
  • Tell me about one of your favorite coaching moments.
  • What are your short- and long-term goals?
  • Are you looking for full-time or part-time work?
  • What are your salary expectations in the short-term and long-term?
  • Do you consider yourself entrepreneurial?
  • What are your biggest motivators?
  • Are there any specific niche areas of fitness you’re passionate about?
  • Would you be interested in nutrition coaching?
  • What are the three characteristics that you most want to bring to your role as a coach?
Discuss coaching goals and motivation

2. Determine If A Potential Coach Fits The Culture.

One of the things that sets the CrossFit world apart is the fact that each gym has its own culture. Sometimes it’s tough to explain but there’s a vibe that’s unique to your gym.

Therefore, it’s important for your coaches to fit the culture of your gym. If the coach you’re interviewing has been a member for years, they probably fit the culture. You’ve most likely seen their character in action as they interact with members and other coaches.

Hiring CrossFit coaches from outside of your gym might be another story. Even if the interview process went smoothly, remember that actions speak louder than words. In this situation, some gym owners will require a trial period. This is a chance for them to meet the community and see how well they’re received. Other gym owners even go so far as to require a minimum membership term in order to coach.

With each CrossFit community being so tight-knit, this is an important step to growing your gym team properly.

3. Set Clear Expectations In Writing.

If your potential coach aces the interview and fits in with the community, it’s time to make an offer.

The most important part of this next step is a crystal clear list of their roles and responsibilities. Take the time to clearly outline each task you expect them to complete, and any associated timelines. This should not be a casual conversation. Put everything in writing for both parties to agree to.

Leave no stone unturned. Include everything in your coaches handbook, from big picture responsibilities to tiny details like how loudly to play music. It might seem trivial, but oftentimes, they won’t know unless you tell them.

With that said, be careful not to overwhelm a new hire with rules. Let them know you don’t expect them to be a first-day rockstar, and they’re allowed to make mistakes. Always leave the door open for feedback and questions as well.

So Where Do You Find Coaches?

Ideally, you’ll be able to look within your gym walls to find your next coach. Gym owners with long-term, happy coaches generally attribute that success to hiring from within.

Hire coaches that connect with members

But if you don’t have any in-house options for hiring CrossFit coaches, here are a few other suggestions:

1. Colleges And Universities.

Reach out to health-related departments at your local colleges and universities. Students studying kinesiology, human kinetics, sports performance, etc. would be great candidates for coaching.

Start by offering to speak for some classes, providing value and fitness industry career info. You can mention that you’re hiring but focus on what you can offer them, not the other way around.

In the best case scenario, you’ll get some qualified candidates. And at the very least, you’ll create relationships. Gaining trust with staff might lead to future coaches or interns needing volunteer hours in the future.

2. GymJobs.com.

GymJobs.com by PushPress is a free job board for fitness professionals. Coaches seeking employment or gym owners looking to hire can both find what they’re looking for.

The job board allows you to post the details of the positions you have available, and search for possible coaches in your area.

This is also where networking comes into play. A coach moving to your area may not yet be on GymJobs.com, but their current gym owner is. Listings can be forwarded so the owner could send the info to their coach, connecting the two of you for the job.

3. Use Your Resources.

Just like with client referrals, sometimes the easiest - and most often forgotten - thing to do is ask.

First, CrossFit provides a list of coaches that hold a current certification. Reach out to the ones in your area to see if they’re looking for opportunities. Note: Be considerate of other gym owners in your area. You’re looking to hire, not poach, so be sure to note that in your communication.

Second, use your network. If you’re a veteran gym owner, your physical network is probably bigger than you realize. And your social network is likely even bigger. Spread the word that you’re looking to hire, and ask for shares and referrals. Your goal is to spread the word as far as possible to widen your pool of qualified applicants.

Pro Tip: Find out how automation can take even more work off your plate, from nurturing leads to tracking milestones for members! Book a demo with the PushPress team today to learn more!

In Summary: Success Is In The Details.

When hiring CrossFit coaches, laying the foundation is the most important step. The key to longevity starts on day one of your search. Start inside the walls of your gym. If you have to look elsewhere, check out resources like GymJobs.com.

Once you’ve found qualified candidates, strive for full transparency in the interview process. Make sure your potential coach fits the culture of the gym and outline everything in writing. Experienced gym owners with long-term, happy coaches say it’s possible to grow your team successfully with the right process.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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