Developing Coaches: Forget Cues and Focus on Careers

A gym owner meets with a trainer to review an income spreadsheet on a laptop in a Career Roadmap session.

Your fitness business is an incredible platform.

It can provide a great income for you and become a key part of your retirement strategy. It can also become a key part of your staff members’ retirement strategies.

That wasn’t always the case. Back in the day, a gym was a place where you worked while waiting for your acting career to take off. Or it was the place you worked before you got a “real job” selling houses or fighting fires.

Now, a well-run gym can shield staff members from risk as they create fulfilling careers that generate more income for everyone.

But that doesn’t just happen.

You have to give staff members opportunities to get started. You have to show them how to help other people and be rewarded for it.

You must do more than encourage them: You must actually show them the process and break down the math.

Step 1 

Start doing quarterly Career Roadmap meetings. Ask your coaches where they want to be in six months. How do they want to live? What will fulfill them long term? Learn what “successful career” means to each staff person.

Step 2

Determine how much each staff person needs to earn to reach those goals. Calculate a goal number. A number makes it real.

Step 3

Work backward from that number. Use a spreadsheet (we have one for clients). Keep a running potential income total as you lay out opportunities to coach classes, complete programming or admin work, do personal training, run specialty programs, run semi-private or small-group sessions, create high-value platinum-level service packages, and so on.

Step 4

Determine the starting position. What will the coach need to learn to capitalize on this plan? Will they need a certification before starting a kids program, for example? Or would sales training be a better investment? Make a list and start crossing things off.

Step 5

Measure progress. Perform regular reviews as part of Career Roadmap meetings and help coaches learn how to keep building value. Example: “Ten of our clients mentioned they’re doing the 5-km fun run in June. Why don’t you create and sell a high-touch, high-value, three-month prep program, including running, strength training and nutrition?”

Communicate and Lead

The best way to help your coaches build careers is to mentor them to success.

Teach them how to serve clients and earn more while your business shields them from all the risks of entrepreneurialism. We call this “intrapreneurialism”: Staff members are mentored to “grow the pie” on your strong, stable platform.

I told you numbers are important, so here’s an example: Peter Brasovan helped someone develop a yoga program under his and his partner’s brand four years ago. The program grew so large that it contributed $190,000 to an annual gross of $1 million.

Almost 20 percent of gross revenue was generated by an intrapreneurial coach who saw free space, a market and an opportunity. And Peter is now on team of mentors, and he’ll be speaking on Career Roadmaps at our summit for gym owners in June.

I’ll go one step further: We recommend owners pay coaches 4/9ths, or 44 percent, of program revenue. If Peter paid the yoga program creator 44 percent of $190,000 gross, that’s an income of $83,600. The gym keeps about $105,000, which is divided between fixed costs and profit.

In this scenario, the clients win because they’re getting access to a service they want. The coach wins by earning more than $80,000 without having to lease a building, set up a business and build an audience.

The gym owner wins, too: In exchange for providing essential infrastructure and mentoring a coach to succeed on a stable platform, the business takes in more than $100,000.

This scenario isn’t made up—you can hear the whole story here.

But stuff like this doesn’t just happen.

You have to care enough to actually help your staff members. Instead of abdicating responsibility, giving them free space and hoping they figure everything out on their own, you must lead and coach.

You have to care enough to say, “I’m going to mentor you through this process of growth so that you can make this your career.”


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.