The Scary High Churn-Rate for Coaches on the Floor

There is a fatal economic flaw inside the regular group-class coaching model.   

Being a professional coach is something to be proud of.  The problem is, it takes years to become a professional. 

And once you ARE a professional, you might want to actually get paid for all your time and experience. 

The problem is the economics of the regular group-class (on-the-floor) coaching model will never pay a professional wage. 

This point is clearly illustrated by just a few simple calculations based on 3 questions: 

  • How many classes do you have per week? 
  • How much do you pay per class? 
  • How many coaches do you have?

Let’s say it's a total of 50 classes per week and $30 per class (that’s on the high end, it’s $22 according to Two Brain’s 2021 State of the Industry). 

If 1 coach instructed 100% of classes, that’s $1,500 per week ($72,000/year). 

Not bad, but coaching 50 hours per week would be an absolute nightmare to maintain.  A single person coaching all classes is not a sustainable schedule. 

Most gyms split up classes between 2-4 coaches.

So the total possible income from on-the-floor coaching is between $18k and $36k a year. 

You already know it … this is not professional-level pay, even if it is part-time.   

Someone will almost certainly need other income streams, unless they’re coaching for charitable purposes, are young, and/or living without many expenses. 

This inevitably leads to coach churn -- which is the fatal flaw in the regular group-class coaching model. 

At some point, on-the-floor coaches will leave or want to spend more time on higher income producing opportunities – like personal training, program design, or nutritional coaching. 

This means that you will always need new coaches on the floor. 

Out of all the on-the-floor coaching skills, arguably the most difficult is scaling a workout safely, accurately, consistently, and on the fly. 

In the first few paragraphs of this article on Scaling Crossfit Workouts, Jeremy Gordon covers some of the elements needed to do it effectively:

  1. An understanding of CrossFit programming theory and of “relative intensity” concepts (load, speed, range of motion), a quick application of many possible scaling methods, and an awareness of your athletes’ capabilities.
  1. Then customize everything to an individual’s specific experience, limitations, range of motion, injury, illness.        

Not so easy. In fact, these skills take hundreds or even thousands of hours to get right.

And that’s a big idea behind Levels-based programming.  It accelerates the quality of guidance from new coaches, and it creates “guard rails” in the decision-making process.  It delivers a type of “instant experience.” 

It can’t ever be perfect, but the big chunks are done.

You’ll always know that gross misjudgements won’t occur (or will be far less likely), because decisions are limited to a narrower range of options. 

When it comes to stabilizing your business, you need systems -- so it's not always YOU who has to do everything, all the time.

Part of those systems is the ability to onboard new coaches, and to get them up to speed fast -- for when one of your veteran coaches leaves for any of a hundred possible reasons.

If you don’t do that, it will be YOU covering those classes -- you opening the gym at 5am, closing doors at 9pm, wiping, mopping…

You need a team, and you need systems. 

Levels-based programming builds systems, so you can consistently provide great workouts to all your clients, from ultra-beginner to “elite”. 

Your veteran coaches still get the autonomy to change whatever they want based on their professional-level discretion, we are not taking away their power.  But your beginner coaches have a structure to rely on, so they don’t make bad decisions based on inexperience. 

If you are interested in our Levels-based programming as a service for your gym, get 4 weeks free here.