Starving Coaches With 10 Credentials (I Was One)

A dejected personal trainer sits on a tire in a functional fitness gym.

A B+ coach will starve in a D+ business. 

That’s why I focus on business coaching and leave technical coach training to NCFIT and others.

If I try to help trainers improve their skills, they’ll still leave the industry if the gyms they work at go under, can’t make payroll or aren’t set up to provide careers.

But if I can help entrepreneurs create strong, stable, profitable businesses that pay them $100,000 a year or more, those entrepreneurs will then be able to provide great careers for coaches, too.

And Two-Brain can partner with the world’s best coach-development companies to ensure you have A+ coaches in A+ businesses.

The Technician’s Curse

I love coaching, and so I was easily afflicted with the “technician’s curse.” The curse causes us to believe we will grow our businesses simply by being amazing coaches. Our training excellence will shine like a beacon, and we’ll win in the marketplace.

Except it doesn’t work that way. Being a great entrepreneur makes your business grow. But I had to learn that through experience, and I spent many years drawing complicated ex.-phys. graphs on the floor to make sure my clients knew that I knew everything about coaching.

About 10 years ago, I even developed a product called Two-Brain Coaching to help trainers develop their skills. I don’t regret it, because I am passionate about helping trainers. But I quickly realized most coaches are pretty good but most businesses are not. So I shuttered that arm of Two-Brain and doubled down on business development to ensure good coaches have great places to work.

Here’s the truth I’ve learned as a gym owner and business coach: To retain great coaches who want to build careers, you must build a sustainable foundation under your business, and you have to guide them to do the things that will build value for your clients.

Does an additional credential build value with a client? No. Clients pay for results, not a list of credentials. It’s about them, not you. That’s true even if we love to collect credentials that fill our business cards and “set us apart.”

If I can help clients lose 10 lb. before the wedding, will they care how many credentials I have?


Building Value—and Incomes

Service delivery is critical in the gym business, so we don’t ignore coaching.

We first help gym owners solve staffing problems by teaching them to select great people who fit the business. But instead of focusing on squat progressions and whiteboard briefs, we then help gym owners focus on career development for these coaches.

Your method—the tool you use to get results for clients—is important. Coaches need a credential of some sort to ensure a base level of education. But it’s easy to solve that problem. Fitness credentials can be earned relatively quickly, and even basic training can produce very effective coaches.

Remember, your job as a gym owner isn’t to ensure your coaches have the most credentials or even pay for their training. Your job is to ensure they get results for clients and see paths to fulfilling careers that provide the income they need to support their families.

We’re not building “coach-centric businesses.” We’re building “client-centric businesses.”

That means your coaches don’t need to collect credentials so they get paid more as “senior trainers.” To earn more, they must work to add value for the client by providing results faster and with less pain. This is a critical realization.

Here’s the wrong path: Paying for a coach to take the third level of some credential and then giving them a raise even though the credential doesn’t generate any additional revenue and clients don’t care about it. CEOs don’t operate like that.

The right path: Build value. Show a coach how to solve clients’ problems and put together a detailed plan to market programs and services. An additional credential might be needed, but maybe not. The key question: “Will this help my clients accomplish goals faster?”

If you put the clients’ needs first, the clients will get better results, so they’ll be happy to pay for new levels of service. Your gym will earn more, and so will the coach. Everyone wins.

For example: “A nutrition credential would help you get better results for PT clients who are focusing on weight loss. Instead of charging $75 an hour for fitness coaching, we can sell your fitness and nutrition coaching together for much more as part of a high-value lifestyle coaching program. Here’s the exact breakdown that shows how your income will increase.”

I don’t want you to assemble a team of technicians who have more credentials than anyone else.

I want you to become a better entrepreneur. Create a solid gym business, select great people to staff it and show them how to create careers by solving problems for clients.

To help your coaches build careers in your business, bring them to the Two-Brain Summit in June!


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.