Developing and Hiring Coaches

It’s time to hire!

You’ve done a ton of work getting your affiliate to this point, and now, its time to grow! Growing means hiring someone. Why should you hire someone instead of keeping all of your profits for yourself? By hiring someone you will open up some time to pursue new clients – which in turn gives you more revenue.

Think of hiring someone as renting out income. Sure, you are paying them to do a job, but they are bringing in more revenue for you than they are costing you. If you hire someone and you find this isn’t the case, then you should think about firing them and hiring someone else.

Finding the right person
So where should you look when you are trying to hire someone? You have two options. You can hire from athletes currently in your gym or you can look to hire from outside. Either way, you want to hire someone that is an avid athlete and has at least their Level 1 cert.

You also want your potential coach to hold the classes attention during demonstrations, demonstrate movements and ROM correctly, properly cue members and lead from the front. This takes personality. Do not discount this factor, good, personable coaches are brand builders who bring tons of value to your organization.

Hiring Coaches from within.
When you hire from within you will already know if your potential hire has the right personality and fit for your gym, since you will have observed them in numerous classes under a wide variety of situations. However, its important to realize that a cool person one-on-one, may not have the chops for full class responsibility, you’ll have to throw them into the mix before you can make that determination.

Some gyms, such as CrossFit Virtuosity, exclusively hire from within. Earlier this year a study from Wharton’s showed that employees hired externally made 18% more than internally hired counterparts, recieved poorer marks on performance and were 61% more likely to be fired. Of course, this study was done on regular business hires, not athletic related, or even CrossFit affiliates, which run very differently.

Other benefits from hiring within:

  • Reduced/no costs associated with advertising the job opening
  • No time spent creating job postings

When you hire from within you will need to put your new coach through some rigormarole. Make them intern for a few months, in exchange for getting free membership – so you can see them working, coaching etc and you can get some free cleaning done out of it.

If they look promising then you will need to think about who should pay for the Level 1 cert, if they are not already certified. Without a Level 1 they should not be coaching classes alone, although I would say your coaches should really be at least a Level 2 prior to taking the reins (with the Level II class in flux and high demand, this may not be possible).

It seems that these are some rock solid arguments to hire from within, which Im not against (in fact, I don’t really have an internal vs external opinion), but lets look at…

Hiring coaches externally.
Hiring externally will require some more footwork, but will also allow you to find specialized coaches to fill in a void you currently have. You could require all applicants to already have their Level 1 as well as other specific certs, like gymnastics or Olympic lifting.

Hiring externally might allow you to get one of the best skills related coaches around, something that your internal prospects might not have been able to put on the table. This would allow you to make a few strategic hires that would drastically increase the potency of your program.

When you externally hire you will not need to worry about the transition from member to coach. This transition can be very tricky since members might not view an internally hired coach as a “real” coach for as long as a year or two.

You need your members to trust, respect and look up to your coaches, so this transition time for an internal hire could devastate the percieved quality of your program – Im not saying it will, it just could. Especially if you see a lot of new hires in a short amount of time.

If you hire externally you will need to advertise the slot. You can advertise through a blog post, a Facebook post or even a post on the boards. I particularly like how CrossFit Verve advertised their opening in a blog post. They laid out their expectations, what they are hoping for, benefits to be recieved as well as a guide of how the process would work.

If you have your own email address (like info@yourgymhere), you should be able to easily set up a new email like jobs@yourgymhere so that job related emails are automatically sorted. This will help you save time and address the job applications as a group when you have time, instead of popping up during your normal workflow.

Wether you choose to hire internally or externally, you will have some paperwork to do.

*Note, we are not providing legal advice, nor should we, we are not lawyers/accountants/tax specialists etc. This is more of general information – check with your local business offices and your lawyers/accountants to make sure you get the right paperwork done!

After you have found the right person, hiring them means a mound of paperwork. Collecting necessary ID, getting the right forms and where to file can be stressful and scary, here are some links that might help you along the way.

Our biggest advice, however, is that if you are unable to hire a lawyer or some other professional to guide you through this process, contact your local SCORE office. If you qualify, you will get paired with a mentor and walked through the process.

IRS information in hiring employees
US Small Business Administration steps to hiring a new (or first) employee
State by State list of reporting new hires
Chron blogpost detailing forms required for new hires
Real Small Business required forms list for new hires

Thats a wrap on hiring, next up in this series is training your newly hired coach.

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