How To Hire & Develop Quality Coaches

No-one really wants to build a team of fitness coaches (at first). But for many successful fitness professionals, circumstances force the issue.

They hit a “time ceiling” where their hours are maxed out and they have no capacity to do more.

And if you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. So you end up burning the candle at both ends, trying to work IN the business and ON the business, keep clients happy while bringing in new ones …

And something’s gotta give. (Usually, your time off, health, sanity, and relationships.)

You want help, but the idea of hiring and building a team to grow the business beyond yourself … well, it’s exciting, but also scary and full of risk:

  1. What if you your clients don’t want to train with anyone else but you?
  2. What if you can’t really afford to pay someone else (just when you’ve finally gotten to a place where you can consistently pay yourself a descent income)?
  3. Where do you find good people (and how do you recruit, interview, hire, onboard and manage them once you’ve found them?
  4. Is it really possible to find team members who care about serving your clients as much as you do?

All these questions express legitimate fears and risks.

You take a chance when you hire people. But you take a bigger chance if you don’t. You can’t continue growing (and build a business that allows you to grow beyond trading time for money) WITHOUT hiring a team to work with you. If you don’t grow, you’ll just grind away sacrificing bits of yourself and your time … until you can’t any longer.

That’s why the answer to these questions above becomes: How do you ‘make the leap’ and build the team who will “deliver the goods” at the same level as you?

In a couple of words: SLOWLY and CAREFULLY … with as much planning and preparation ahead of time as possible. Here are five steps:

NPE - 5 Step Hiring Process

1: Attract great candidates.

Many fitness business owners use a scattershot approach and hope for the best. They let their own need for help push the process (e.g., they hire the person in front of them because they need someone right away).

You’re better off using a system.

Inside your network: Use a career opportunities page on your website your social media and email list, your newsletter, and ask your clients for referrals. Outside of your network: Contact local colleges and universities, certification body job boards, and advertise and list with career sites, such Indeed, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Kijiji.

2: Capture.

Too many fitness business owners look for immediate results, and pay a lot of attention to the first round of ads. But you want to commit to regularly reviewing your “captured” candidate information.

The best people don’t always respond on Day 1. Are you checking every day for results – or just looking to get the process over with and “get back to work”?

3: Interviewing & hiring.

There’s a temptation to rush the process, go with your gut, and hire someone who “just feels right.”

Don’t. The risks are too great.

Hire slowly. Four (4) interviews are optimal to evaluate candidates: a quick screening, a group interview, a private interview, and a take-home project.

This gives you many perspectives on someone’s talents and fit.

4: On boarding.

Set up your new team members for success. Get clear on the knowledge, systems, and skills that must be trained for performance in the role. And invest early in professional development and map out a path to success within 30 days.

  • Week 1: New hires learn about the company, the story of your business, and how it got started.
  • Week 2: This week is for role specific training, such as how to greet clients, how to handle difficult clients, and any legal and policy-related rules.
  • Week 3: Have them shadow your best coaches, and start to support teaching or running a class or sessions when you feel they are ready.
  • Week 4: New coaches should be set up to run with clients on their own by the end of the week.

5: Ongoing training & development.

Developing skills is a lifelong process. The best fitness businesses are learning organisations, where staff members are constantly honing their skills. Set aside time for training on a regular basis and develop individual and team plans for success.

What success looks like…

If you succeed, here’s what your fitness business will look like:

• You’ve hired a team of A-players who are as committed to your business and serving your clients as you are.

• Your team members allow you to reclaim capacity and time to work more ON the business instead of just working IN it.

• Identify a path forward to continue growing your business while having more free time to enjoy your success and do the things you love to do.

…and what it doesn’t

If you don’t:

• You make a bad hire and have to fire (or have a coach quit) after just a few months.

• You upset clients and many quit to go train somewhere else.

• You get pulled back into training during hours you need for other responsibilities.

• You’re working all the time and feel like a prisoner to your business.

• Continued stress and pressure from running around and putting out fires all the time.


INVEST in building a team!

Thinking of staff as a business asset (rather than necessary evil) will set you off on the right foot.

The right mindset around recruiting, hiring, leading, and developing a team will ultimately determine your success long term.

Your goal is to hire people that will eventually do a job better than you – the right staff will create an amazing experience for your clients and help your business grow.

  • Get step-by-step systems to increase your client base, revenue, and profits.
  • Build a team to ensure your continued growth.
  • Create a better balance between your business and personal life.

To learn how, register for our FREE webinar Increase Your Client Base, Revenue, and Profits! and discover the BEST of the BEST step-by-step strategies, systems, and secrets that have produced successful results for over 45,000+ fitness professionals and business owners across the globe since 2006. Learn more about Increase Your Client Base, Revenue, and Profits!

Article written by Sean Greeley for the What’s New in Fitness Magazine – Autumn 2019 Edition.

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