Mentoring Your Coaches and Athletes

The Two-Brain model is built on the balance of knowledge and caring service.
My gym is built on the same model. And yours can be, too.
Like our brain, our mentorship practice prioritizes education or empathy, depending on what’s needed MOST at the moment. Virtuosity in mentorship–and virtuosity in coaching–means coordinating both sides, emotional and logical, to work together.
Solving a problem has two parts:
First, you have to know what to do.
Second, you have to know how to DO it. You have to take action.
Years ago, I started mentoring gym owners with a phone call and a blank sheet of paper. The owners found value in the service, but it took many conversations to explain the concepts and reinforce WHY changes had to be made. Some of these early clients are still with me, and they’re all great friends. The early service was very heavy on care, but weaker on knowledge.
Two years in, I decided that I could put together a course to reinforce the educational side. I’d already published Two-Brain Business, and was writing 2.0 and Help First. I’d been offering online courses through IgniteGym for years already, so I knew the mechanics.
When the course was built, we sold it without an in-person mentoring component. It was very popular, but when I measured its effect at the end, I discovered that many gym owners rarely made the changes necessary to fix their business. They had a TON of education–more than enough–but not enough accountability or personal guidance.
When I launched, I did so with years of mentorship under my belt. I prioritized what WORKED, instead of what sold well, and the results skyrocketed.  Think about it: what else can you purchase for around $5000 that will pay you back in less than 8 weeks, and KEEP paying you forever?
Here’s how we do it now. Next, I’ll explain how to do the same in YOUR gym:
We start with a very intensive, focused stage (called the Incubator) where you work 1:1 with a mentor. You do an hour call each week. These are one-on-one. Then the mentor assigns you homework; you login to our extensive mentoring platform and do your assignments. There are videos, templates, downloads and essays to help, and you can message us right through the platform. We work from foundational processes, then introduce the gold standards. We build retention systems, promotion systems and education systems for your staff. Then we teach actionable sales strategy and then, finally, marketing.
When you’ve finished the Incubator, you can go on to Growth. In that stage, you do a call every month, and work backward from annual targets to reach your income, service, travel and educational goals for the year. These calls are still 1:1, but daily interaction occurs in our private FB group.
That’s mentorship. How is that like what the best gyms are doing?
Because the best gyms are really mentorship practices.
Let’s consider your coaches, and then your athletes.
You need to mentor your coaches. When they start, they need a focused “incubation” stage. This should be done one on one, and information should be tailored to their level. While there’s a common path to their education, some students will need more (or less) time on different subjects.
When they’re ready to coach, they still need accountability, goal-setting and continuing education. Meet with them monthly; review their goals; plot their course. I shared our goal-setting and evaluation sheets with attendees at the Strong(er) Fitness Summit in Columbus last weekend.
Every year, ask your coaches, “What do you want NOW?” and help them build a road map to get there.
Now, your athletes:
When they start, they need an “incubation” phase to nurture their bodies and your relationship. This phase should include physical AND nutritional coaching. Its goal isn’t to build perfect movers, but to build the habit and passion for exercise. The incubation phase (call it OnRamp or Fundamentals, whatever) should be crammed with positive feedback, Bright Spots and smiles.
When they graduate to a stage of personal growth, they still need to be mentored by you. That means annual goal-setting (3x/year is even better), accountability and a clear path to success.
Accountability and goal-setting means far more than a private FB group, or calling people when they miss. Those are your last-ditch options. REAL accountability means constant 1:1 interaction between athlete and mentor/coach.
Here’s our process again, for review:

TBB Mentor Process

If you do nothing else to change your gym before 2018, change your mindset from “selling CrossFit” to “mentoring people I care about.”


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.