Starting your own business can be difficult to navigate. What’s one of the best things you can do? Ask for help.
The fitness industry is saturated with coaches and mentors. All offering their services to new and experienced trainers that want to improve their business. But how do you know who’s a good fit?
Coach vs mentor, what’s the difference?
Coaches and mentors are often confused as the same role, when in fact they are completely different. And the one you choose will depend on the experience you're seeking.
A coach is usually someone that you approach to help you with the structure of your business. They will either have coaching or business qualifications or have years of experience. With a coach, they will look into the metrics of your business and how you can improve your services. They’re there to scale up your business with measurable results. A coach will teach you how to run your business and therefore usually comes at a price (and a high one).
A mentor on the other hand does not usually promote their services and is someone with more experience in the industry that you look up to. More often than not, it’s someone that you might already work with in a gym. As a newly qualified trainer they might offer you advice on how to navigate your career. A mentor doesn’t usually have any specific qualifications and will be sharing knowledge based on their own experience working in the industry. This means a mentor is someone who will usually offer you free advice and is invested in helping you grow from a personal perspective.
Now you know the difference, you can take a moment to reflect on which would be more beneficial to you. If you are simply looking for a bit of advice, find someone that you admire and approach them for help. Whereas if you’re looking for a more systematic approach to building your business, read on to find out 6 things to look for in a coach.
Look for social proof with testimonials
The number one thing to do when looking for a coach is to read testimonials from their previous/ongoing clients. This is social proof that they are good coaches. In the same way that a potential client would look for testimonials from you or before and after pictures to see whether you have worked with people similar to them.
From here, you can take it one step further by contacting their previous clients. If they’ve shared a testimonial on social media and tagged the clients, there’s no harm in dropping that person a message to ask any questions you might have. Most people will be happy to help and are likely to share a more raw and honest opinion as it isn’t one that is being posted publicly.
How many years experience do they have in the trade?
The longer someone has been in the trade doesn’t necessarily mean they will do a better job. However, you’ll want to work with a coach that has at least a few more years experience than you and is further along in their career.
Likewise, the longer someone has been in the industry, the more people they will have been likely to coach.
Look for someone close to home
We’ve all had a random ‘business mentor’ drop us a cringeworthy message on Instagram telling us how we can make 10k a month working with them. Do you really trust them? I didn’t think so. The internet is riddled with amateur coaches looking to make extra income without the credentials to do so.
Instead of trawling the internet for a coach, word of mouth is an excellent way to find someone. Look for other Personal Trainers you know that are doing well with their business and ask them to refer their coach.
The type of experience they have
As well as looking at the number of years experience they have, look at the type of coaching they provide. There’s no use hiring a coach that’s an expert in helping bodybuilding trainers get clients if you work with pre and post natal clients. That’s a completely different niche and if they still tell you they can help, that’s definitely a red flag.
Look for coaches that have worked in a similar niche to you and have worked with other trainers that target the same audience.
Are you compatible?
You’re going to be paying a lot of money for this service and spending a lot of time with your coach. You need to make sure you get on well. Although your discussions will mainly be focused on business, it’s good to have similar interests. Having someone who’s values align with yours is essential.
Do they want to help you or help themself?
It’s business. Of course they want to make money. But, more importantly their main aim should be to help you reach your business goals. As a trainer yourself, you know that money is important, but to be a truly great Trainer, your desire should be to help your clients. And it’s no different with your coach.
If everything they discuss is money oriented and more about what they want to do, you should be wary about taking them on.
The bottom line: A coach can level up your business, as long as you choose the right one. If you’re on the fence about hiring a coach, make sure to consider all of the above points before going ahead.