How to Handle the Coach That Isn’t Cutting It

2 min read
Apr 17, 2024

Have you hired a coach that you feel just isn’t working out? If you’ve been noticing consistent underperformance and don’t know how to move forward, this is the place for you. But first, it’s important to recognize the red flags of a poor coach in order to decrease the chance of hiring another one in the future. (It is important to note, that just because a coach may not work with your gym doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad coach. It could also mean they just don’t fit your style or interact as well with your current clientele).  

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Signs You've Hired the Wrong Coach

Fitness coaching is a largely unregulated industry, meaning there is a gap between great coaches and poor ones, and it seems to be growing.  
If your coach is…

  • Consistently late or scrambling to get things done last minute.
  • Constantly on their phone while on the clock or going through the motions when working with clients.  
  • Not creating a positive environment and struggling to fulfill their client’s goals and needs.
  • Failing to properly adhere to company policies and procedures.  

Then it may be time to reconsider your options moving forward. At the end of the day, a coach’s active engagement and attention to detail are integral to their client’s success.  

What To Do Next

Discuss Expectations  
The first stage in handling an underperforming coach is by scheduling a one-on-one meeting to discuss expectations. It’s important to let them know you’ve noticed they’re underperformance and would like to see improvement. From there, you can go through a detailed list of expectations. You may be surprised how much they may not know or realize they are doing wrong.

Create a Plan for Improvement 
As you discuss expectations, the next step would be creating a plan for improvement. As the leader, you don’t want this meeting to feel like a slap on the wrist for your coach. Creating a detailed list of clear, manageable goals will hopefully push your employee towards improved productivity and stronger performance ratings.

Provide Constructive Feedback & Remain Positive 
While discussing expectations, it is important to remain positive and give your coach the opportunity to learn and become better. It’s not an easy process for both sides, and if the coach feels attacked or pressured, there’s a good chance of an ugly ending. Who knows, maybe this meeting of expectations makes a difference, and your underperforming coach turns into a highly valued employee of your team.

Consider External Factors  
It’s important that you ask your coach what, if anything, could be contributing to poor work performance. There could be a temporary situation outside the workplace, such as relationship issues, new home arrangement, a new child, or illness in the family.

If your coach has a legitimate reason to be out-of-focus at work, consider giving them some paid time-off. This would come with the expectation that sharp focus will return after their time off. If you can’t offer vacation time, make it clear that you understand, and hope performance will improve once the situation is resolved. After two or three weeks, if the employee still hasn’t shown signs of improvement, it might be time to have a more serious conversation. 

Be Prepared for Termination (if necessary)
Unfortunately, there is a chance that your coach may not improve even after taking the steps listed above. It’s a difficult and unavoidable part of being a manager. At the end of the day, you must do what’s best for your business.  

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