Devin Glage has a vision:
A vision where fitness coaches, personal trainers, health and wellness coaches—or whatever term you prefer—are part of a bigger picture of health professionals.
He shared his vision a few months ago to a group of 120-plus gym owners and coaches at the MadLab Summit in Las Vegas.
“What I envision is a future looking like this,” Glage said, before putting up this graphic:
“I envision the coach becoming the centre of the health hub,” he said. “I envision the day where a client walks into the doctor’s office, and the doctor asks, ‘Who’s your coach?’ I’m going to give you something to fix this specific symptom and then you’re going to go back to your coach and continue to work with them on the things that are good for your long-term health and well-being.”
He continued: “I envision a referral network back and forth with physios, doctors, nutritionists, coaches—a giant wheel all pointing back to this place—the gym. And the coach. Because the gym is where people spend most of their time.”
BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL
To reiterate why the coach is so important, the MadLab Group COO who has been coaching for almost a decade, asked the group these questions:
“Do you change lives?”
The group nodded collectively.
Then he asked: “Do you get paid like it?” To which more than half the people in the group shook their head.
Do you think you’re helping people as much, or more than physios and chiros, he asked. To which, the group nodded once again.
“Then why aren’t you getting paid a professional wage?”
Why most coaches and gym owners are not professionals
A professional is someone who is qualified (based on their knowledge and skills) to have a certain career, and who makes a living doing it. Most consider a professional wage to be close to $75,000 or more.
Truth is, IF YOUR GYM BUSINESS RELIES ON GROUP CLASSES TO EARN MOST OF YOUR REVENUE, NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR COACHES WILL EVER BECOME PROFESSIONAL COACHES ON THE SAME PAGE AS OTHER ESTABLISHED HEALTH PRACTITIONERS (This is what our data from studying more than 1,000 gyms in the last 6 years tells us).
As a group class coach, you might be technically qualified and highly-educated about human movement and training, but it’s almost impossible to earn a professional wage coaching 30-plus group classes each week. Because of this, your main goal ends up being trying to get as many people through the door as possible, and you resort to things like giving away free months or free weeks—anything to earn a new client (sound familiar?).
As a group class coach, it’s also nearly impossible to gain the respect from a doctor or physiotherapist in your region to the point that they would refer their clients to you. If one of their clients has high blood pressure or is rehabbing from an ACL surgery, are they really going to refer their client to the bootcamp instructor down the street? Unlikely.
The group class or bootcamp instructor’s job is to manage the class, keep it running smoothly, and essentially cheerlead their clients into working hard.
The professional coach, on the other hand—the one Glage envisions as being the hub of the health wheel—not only has the academic, practical and technical knowledge about the human body, training, health and nutrition—he also has the ability to earn a professional wage. He is certainly not giving away free weeks or free months to new client. He is selling his valuable coaching services at market rates comparable to what other health professionals charge.
Are you scared to sell personal training for $75 an hour? Or do you think people just wouldn’t pay that in your market? (We’ve heard all the excuses, and we’ve also seen gym owners and coaches overcome these obstacles. It comes down to learning how to sell value and a relationship, as opposed to a group class).
And above all, his primary role certainly isn’t as a group class coach, Glage explained. His primary role is as a career coach—a professional who offers his one-on-one coaching services, like a PT, AT, RMT or physiotherapist.
In fact, Glage explains the coach shouldn’t even really consider themselves to be in the fitness industry. Yes, the workout aspect is one component of the coach’s job, but the coach’s role goes way beyond just administering a workout of the day.
“The coach should think of himself as being in the health and wellness industry,” Glage explained. “That’s the way we’ll become professionals.”