Measuring Excellence: Staff Evaluations

A series of stacked blocks with happy faces—the more gold stars beside the block, the happier the face.

If you want to improve your team, you need to measure how your staff members are doing.

But how do you measure excellence in coaching?

Start with your standard operating procedures (SOPs). Somewhere in your gym, you’ve written down exactly how you want a class to be coached, how a personal-training session should be run, etc.


(If you haven’t done that yet, do that first, then teach the procedures for perfect performance to your staff. If you haven’t given them these instructions, they’re flying blind.)

If you have SOPs, take each item in the document and give it a scale from 1 to 10.

Another great alternative, as you heard on my podcast with Oskar Johed, is to use a red/yellow/green scale for usually/sometimes/rarely.

Here’s an example using the first step in the “How to Coach a Class” SOP from my gym:

“Starts class precisely on time—1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.”

Or, using the same step with Oskar’s method at CrossFit Medis:

“Starts class precisely on time—Usually/Sometimes/Rarely.”

Here’s an example you can download from our archives: Coach Evaluation.

The scale you choose matters less than how consistently you apply it. We’re using these evaluations as a tool to help people improve, not to give them a report card to show their parents.

Use a Calendar!

Now that you have a scorecard, schedule your coach-evaluation periods in advance. I suggest doing evaluations quarterly, but even twice per year is OK. Just make sure they’re on the calendar and everyone knows when they’re coming.

In my early years as a gym owner, I screwed this up. First, I screwed up by not having evaluations and just giving trainers “tips” whenever I saw an opportunity. I saw a lot of opportunities, so I gave a lot of random tips. They thought I was constantly criticizing them. Whoops.

Second, I scheduled real evaluations randomly—usually when I was angry about something. So the trainers always knew an evaluation was bad news. This created a hostile environment, where no one was taking feedback or giving it well and everyone was ready to argue.

Here’s how to do avoid my mistakes:

  • Set up your quarterly evaluation process.
  • Schedule a Career Roadmap meeting with each coach. The evaluation conversation is part of their Career Roadmap meeting.
  • Sit down with each coach, one at a time. Talk about where they’d like to go in their career. Get specific: Write down exact earnings and time targets.
  • Then pull out their evaluation. Tell them where they’re doing well and where to improve. Now you’re mentoring them to get to their goals instead of measuring how well they live up to your expectations—or fail to.

Measure, then mentor. That’s how you make your team better.


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.