I often get asked for tips regarding how to build a successful coaching practice. Oftentimes, those looking for tips are asking in regard to what coaching software to use, what website builder to purchase or how much liability insurance should they buy, etc…
While these aforementioned areas are important, they are not ultimately what will make or break your coaching business and more specifically, they will not necessarily give you a competitive advantage over other coaches.
As such, coaches are often shocked when I say that they should address the low hanging fruit because while ‘easy’ to address, these areas are often the most impactful and believe it or not… are often the most overlooked and dismissed.
It should go without saying that no one wants to work with a jerk. Being a nice human being goes a long way in general but certainly in regard to coaching.
BE ON TIME
I don’t care how much an athlete is paying you – whether it be $1 or $1000 a month, they deserve to have their calls and in-person sessions start and end on time… period. When someone hires you for a service, there is no such thing as being ‘casually late.’
People don’t like waiting. Whether it be for their meal, or for their coach or potential coach to get back to them – most people want to hear back ASAP. This is especially the case if they are upset about something.
In regard to acquiring new clients, the faster you reply to emails and calls, the better your chance of getting their business.
And in regard to upset clients, the faster you reply, the greater the chance for defusing the situation.
GO ABOVE AND BEYOND
Your coaching contract states how and when your athlete will receive their program, as well as any coaching calls… great.
But how about what’s not in the contract?
Let’s say that on the most recent call with your athlete, you were discussing lactate threshold. Why not find some articles to send them? Or do some more research on your end and email/call them back with your findings. It doesn’t cost any money but it shows that you go above and beyond for them. More on this in the next section.
REALLY GIVE A SH*T!
In full disclosure, there are a lot less time consuming ways to make a buck than coaching. As such, most of us do it first and foremost because we love our sport(s) and want to help others to reach their sport-specific goals. And believe me, your clients can tell if you really care or if you’re just calling it in.
As noted above, going above and beyond what’s in the contract is certainly one way to deliver for your clients. But so long as the best interests and results of your clients are your north star, you should have no problem ‘giving a sh*t!’
In respect to an athlete’s performance on race day or in training, everyone knows that you cannot guarantee a good result or even to increase one’s performance, as there are too many factors at play. However, regardless of how your client progresses or does in their race(s), they should be absolutely certain that their coach is ‘all in’ for them!
Your athlete just ran their goal race – You haven’t heard from your athlete in a while – Your athlete is injured – Your athlete just finished a tough training block.
All of these are scenarios that would be advantageous to follow up on. That said, you don’t need a ‘scenario’ to be in contact with your athletes.
As you can see, none of these areas are really coaching specific but rather, more along the lines of being a professional and a good human. At the end of the day, the old adage, ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated’ is very applicable.
Despite these areas being the basics of professionalism, the reason why they can be your competitive advantage is because sadly, they are not all that prevalent in coaching… or in life in general.
So focus on these areas first, and worry about what type of coaching software you’re going to use later.
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