I spent seven years in University, and I can confidently say I learned more about being successful in the real world from being mentored during my coaching apprenticeship at Madlab School of Fitness in Vancouver than I did through my undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

That first year of my apprenticeship, receiving true one-on-one mentorship from Craig Patterson has a lot to do with my success today—12 years later—not just as a coach but also as a professional writer. 

Mentorship and Team Work: These concepts make up the backbone of the Madlab model. Mentorship and working as a team are what allow Madlab coaches and owners to develop into professional coaches and build profitable gyms. 

Mentorship For The Coach: For the Madlab coach, having mentors in their corner—both at their home gym as well as Madlab coach mentors—guide them on their journey, not just as technical coaches, but also entrepreneurially.

My experience: From teaching me how to connect with my clients truly—not superficially but actually connecting with them in a way that they feel comfortable enough to open up and be vulnerable about what’s really going on in their lives and what really needs fixing—to teaching me about running my own business, I spent hours upon hours with Patterson, picking his brain, and learning practical life skills required, not just coach clients, but ultimately to understand human beings, business and how the world works.

And while Madlab Group mentors didn’t exist when I went through the apprenticeship program 12 years ago, today, through the PCDP (professional coach diploma program), apprentice coaches receive another layer of mentoring still.

Mentorship For The Owner: Just because you’re the gym owner doesn’t mean you have all the answers. This is where the Madlab gym owner mentors come in.

In a nutshell, it means working one-on-one (as much as you need) with a Madlab mentor, who will walk you through every step of your business with you to come up with a plan that’s right for you and will continually help you along the way as you make changes and grow your business. 

Laura Franchini, the owner of Cornerstone Fitness in Ohio, said this about working with Madlab mentor Audrey Patterson: “Audrey meets me right where I’m at, right where my business is at, and where my coaches are at, and she helps me take the next small step toward being better…  It never feels like this massive change that’s overwhelming because she gives me small pieces I can bite off one at a time.”

Food for thought: No Olympic athlete gets there without a coach (or an army of coaches or an entire team). Why would owning a business be any different?

Coach Co-Op: Through our coach co-op, you really see the teamwork aspect come into play in the Madlab model.

Basically, our gyms are run like law or engineering firms, as co-ops, where coaches share the roles and responsibilities that gym owners often take on all by themselves. From scheduling to programming, to coaching group classes, to organizing community events, to social media and content production, coaches handle the load, which takes the onus off the gym owner to wear all of the hats. 

Imagine this: A coach is sick, and you, the owner, don’t get a call or text informing you they will need a sub for tomorrow’s 5 a.m. class. In the Madlab system, coaches are entirely responsible for setting their own schedule and finding substitutions if they go on vacation or fall sick. And because all coaches are in the same boat and need coverage at certain times of the year, they continually step up for one another. 

How does this work so seamlessly?

The short answer: Money talks.

Madlab coaches are entrepreneurs within the system, so they treat their career the way a business owner does. 

More specifically, coaches are paid based on merit, just like a gym owner. If the gym suffers, if clients quit, so does their paycheck. And while coach compensation is the topic for another article, the Madlab compensation model allows coaches to earn a professional wage. And this ability to make a real living, take paid vacation and live a great lifestyle means the coach co-op will flourish. 

Food for thought: Have you ever had a coach earn six figures and not be invested in the business like a business owner is?

- Emily Beers

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