Every time I talk with a gym owner outside of the Madlab ecosystem (I have talked with a lot of gym owners), they ALWAYS say one of two things:

  1. My coaches are great
  2. My coaches are useless

It appears there is no in-between?  

So I ask them two more questions:

  1. How much revenue did your coaches generate for your business last year?
  2. What is their retention rate?

Usually, I get a blank stare or dead air on the line. Sometimes I get, “Well they sold about $20,000 worth of personal training.”  

Inevitably all of these coaches become part-time or leave the gym or the industry all together, completely independent of the gym owners opinion of them. 

In fact, the gym owner has no real tangible way of even measuring if their coaches are good or bad. It is just a feeling, not any financial fact. 

If this is your experience as a gym owner, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can you measure your coaches performance financially?
  2. Are you interested in doing so?

If it is a no to both then read no further. I have nothing of value for you. 

If you are still reading I’ll take that as a sign that you are ready to move on to something better.

Here are a few more questions: 

  1. Is your coach compensation model built to incentivize coaches to be interested in selling or retaining clients? In other words, what are you paying your coaches to do? Are you training/educating your coaches to do that? And are your expectations different from what you are training them to deliver on?
  2. Do your coaches have the opportunity to earn a professional wage while working a manageable/sustainable number of floor hours each week? (maybe not on Day 1, but within 2 years?)
  3. If they were compensated based on their ability to bring in and retain clients, might they be interested in doing that?  Might that reduce your two biggest headaches as a gym owner? Keeping your current clients and Finding new ones……
  4. If your coaches are able to make a professional wage working a manageable, sustainable number of hours each week, might they stick around as a coach at your facility for 20 years? Would that not reduce your next biggest problem: finding and retaining excellent coaches?
  5. Do you have a training program/system in place to teach them how to attract and retain high worth clients and earn $80,000 + a year?

Four Keys to Keep Coaches Long-Term

It boils down to these four steps:

Step One: Onboard Clients Via Personal Training First

Simply put, if you’re putting clients straight into group classes, you're setting your coaches up to fail.

In order to keep your coaches, you need to be able to retain your clients. This means you need a client development process that retains 80 percent of your clients each year (98.3 percent each month).

Our data shows the easiest way to do this is to start clients with one-on-one personal training (ideally 12-18 sessions), as compared to putting people straight into group classes, which churns more than 60 percent of clients a year. (And straight to class is an even greater problem for the coach, who has to facilitate a client’s first day in a group environment).

Bottom line: You have no chance of becoming a professional coach who earns a professional wage getting paid by the hour to coach a group class. 

End of story. 

For more, check out our PT-First e-book.

Step 2: Compensate Coaches on Client Acquisition and Retention

For coaches to be able to earn a professional wage, and for the business to be successful long-term, coaches need to be compensated based on what the client and the business needs.

What you want most from your clients (and ultimately what the business wants) are:

  1. clients who never leave,
  2. who pay you a lot of money for a fair value service,
  3. and who bring in their friends, family and coworkers to train with you and your coaches.

To achieve the above, coaches need to be paid based on their ability to acquire and retain clients. 

When they are paid this way (versus the dollars per hour model), clients get what they want, the business gets what it wants, and coaches have the opportunity to get what they want: The ability to earn a professional wage working a sustainable number of hours each week and the opportunity to take paid vacations. 

THIS is, of course, what will keep them around working for you for 20 years.

For more about the Madlab compensation model, check out this free Coach Mini Webinar.

Step 3: Put a Coach Development Process in Place

Just like any other professional career, coaches need to be educated, mentored even, to teach them to become excellent at delivering the best service they can to their clients.

This is where the Madlab Coach Development Program comes in. Check out this free course about the program here.

One big piece of the puzzle is sales training (which is seriously lacking in the industry today). Madlab coaches go through this in the Coach Development Process, a portion of the course taught by sales espert Greg Mack.

Technical coaching courses cannot be the only coach development that you have in place. No certification is going to give coaches the skills to have straight conversations, develop professional relationships or manage a significant number of those relationships for the long term.

Step 4: Put a Coach Co-Op in Place

The final step is to create a coach co-op, similar to that of a law or engineering firm. This is what truly allows coaches to, not only to make enough money, but to be able to take paid vacations. 

Essentially, the Madlab coach co-op model means coaches work as a team. Coaches have their own book of clients, but they also all take care of each other’s clients in the classes, which they divide up among them (Each coach coaches between 5 and 8 classes a week maximum).

In short, working in a co-op allows the system to be scaled so that associate coaches can earn at least $150 an hour to coach a group class, with some making upwards of $300. The more clients you have, the more you earn per class.

Check out these 9 Laws for more on how the Co-op Works.

Final Though: Burnout is the Enemy

The main reason coaches often don’t stick around long is that they get burnt out coaching the same group class over and over again or the same personal training clients day in day out, to the point that they feel like they’re simply babysitting adults and starting clocks for workouts. On top of this, they often have to work 40 on-floor hours a week, coaching the same group class workout five times a day to earn a barely adequate living.

Madlab coaches work 20-25 on-floor hours a week and never coach more than two group classes each day. Further, the entire model is relationship-based (their clients buy a professional relationship with a coach instead of just a hard workout), meaning coaches have one-on-one relationships with their clients and consider each client’s unique needs and wants.

This essentially means the coach can finally make a difference in their clients’ lives in areas beyond just providing them with a good sweat. As a result, the client is more fulfilled, the coach is more fulfilled, and burnout is kept at bay.

Bottom Line: If you find yourself wondering why you can’t keep coaches, why they don’t give a shit about your business, and why they have never attempted to sell a new client, re-consider the system they’re working under. 

If it’s not designed to benefit them, they likely won’t stick around for long.

If you found this article helpful and would like to see exactly how these types of strategies could improve your sales and dramatically increase your revenue on a consistent basis,

Keep Reading


Copyright © 2023 Madlab Business. All Rights Reserved.