Hiring coaches is one of the most important aspects of running a gym. Your team is a reflection of you and your business. Their actions and abilities should align with your core values and vision.
Therefore, it’s important to take the time to hire the right people. Do your homework to find out more than just their educational background and qualifications. Design a coach onboarding process so that you can see how they treat your members and other staff.
In this process of hiring coaches, score each prospect on the following nine characteristics. Rarely will you find a coach that meets every single one, so don’t set a perfect score as the hiring standard. Instead, find those rock stars who are close to checking off a majority of the list.
1. Continuously Improving.
Being a “constant student” is the sign of a good coach. Nobody ever hits a point where they’re untouchable or perfect, even if they’re the best at what they do. Coaches who understand this will keep up to date on trends, techniques and the psychology behind working out.
Additionally, they’ll continually try to better themselves. They’ll set their own fitness goals and be actively involved in consistent improvement. Fitness is about getting better and stronger, pushing the envelope of what you thought your body was capable of. If a coach can’t strive for that growth, they won’t be able to lend the same effort to your clients.
Consider hiring coaches who are open about past failures. Everyone fails. Failures teach us what didn’t work and help us to get better. Coaches who acknowledge their own failures and adapt will be more relatable to your members.
2. Client Focused.
People generally choose career paths because (hopefully) it’s something they want to do. Building a team of people that genuinely want to help your members succeed is crucial.
Remember, becoming a coach isn’t something that people just stumble into. There are plenty of careers where people trade time for money with mundane tasks. Coaching is a career with growth opportunities, both financial and personal. Look for people who align these growth opportunities with what they truly enjoy doing.
3. Full Of Personality.
Degrees and certifications are cool but connection is where it’s at. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but it means nothing if you can’t communicate it. Hiring coaches with a warm and approachable personality will reflect your gym’s values.
If a client doesn’t feel like they can approach a coach after class, they’re likely to feel like they’re on their own or not getting the value they expect. Approachable coaches are one of your best tools for member retention.
Being approachable simply means having open body language, making eye contact and speaking in a helpful, enthusiastic tone. These coaches will also have no problem approaching others.
4. Organized And Effective.
One of the most basic traits of an exceptional coach is being professional. The absolute minimum requirements are being able to follow a schedule, and run an effective, organized class. Training a full group of people requires them to bring their A-game, so are they able to coach at that level on a regular basis?
Be transparent in your questioning about this. Ask how they handle fatigue, balancing it with efficiency and enthusiasm in the gym. Hiring coaches that can be effective even under less-than-ideal circumstances will benefit you for the long run.
Pro Tip: Want to reduce your coaches’ admin tasks so they can focus on your members? Schedule a demo today to find out about the PushPress Staff App!
5. Part Of The Team.
In your gym, there may be a handful of staff working together at the same time. You may have two simultaneous classes operating at the same time, front desk staff, maintenance and more. Coaches should be able to collaborate with others to bring the best experience to your members.
Whether it’s during an interview or just through basic conversation, find out about your coach’s experience with being a team player.
This can include a variety of examples, from scheduling to problem solving. Coaches should be able to cover their classes, sub for others and attend community events whenever possible. They should also be able to fill in on the fly, like giving a tour when a prospective member comes in or completing an unexpected admin task. Hiring coaches that you can rely on to help you and your team will relieve stress and make things flow smoothly.
6. Patient With Clients And Staff.
Every aspect of your gym requires top-notch customer service. Inevitably, coaches will endure some troublesome clients. How they handle those interactions will largely determine their success. Ask a prospective coach how they handle difficult situations with clients and customers.
The best coaches can confront a problem without escalating it. They understand your policies, enforce them and don’t make exceptions. They’ll maintain a cool composure while deescalating any rising tension. It’s a difficult skill, but imperative to your gym’s customer service and another way to increase member retention.
7. Effective At Communication.
Anyone can get a certification and call themselves a coach. But good communication is a skill that you can’t fake.
Hiring coaches that are able to convey information in a positive and light way, even if it’s difficult, will benefit you and your members. Your coaches should be able to communicate effectively and provide clear, concise instruction in class. They should also be able to discuss progress individually with clients. If they can’t do all of this, you may run into issues over time.
8. Honest Without Upsetting Others.
Pandering and self-improvement are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Honesty is an important key to success. This can sometimes put coaches in a hard spot. If they notice someone isn’t progressing in their class, they have a moral obligation to talk to them about it. But it can come off like conflict instead of a confrontation, which is can cause an unintentionally awkward situation.
Great coaches know how to bring up sensitive subjects without inherently angering or upsetting clients. There may be some friction, but your trainer wants to see them succeed and conveys that information to them. A good trainer will have communication skills without being inflammatory.
9. Motivated Toward Continuing Education.
As an gym owner, one of your responsibilities is to make sure your coaches have access to continuing education. People value education and the implications that it has (you investing in them).
On the coach side, when someone seeks out education to become an expert in their career path, without being nudged by an employer, that shows next-level commitment.
Seek out the coaches who have continued education on their own. Whether it’s first-aid, higher CrossFit certifications, or specialties like anatomy or nutrition. Both their dedication and increased knowledge will benefit your members.
In Summary: Never Settle When Hiring Coaches
It’s imperative to build your team with the right people. When hiring coaches, take the time to find out as much as you can about each one before hiring them. Make sure they’re continually improving and motivated toward continuing education. They should also be organized and effective, while client focused and full of personality. They’ll be part of the team, patient, honest and effective at communication. If you’re able to find coaches with a majority of these traits, tell them, “Welcome to the team.”