by Chris Cooper, cofounder of Two-Brain Coaching
Mastering a method isn’t enough.
To be a good coach, you have to have “two brains”: education and empathy.
TwoBrainCoaching.com was originally launched in 2014. I’d been working as a gym mentor for nearly two years at that point, and sold over 12,000 copies of my first book, Two-Brain Business.
I was working with dozens of gym owners, and speaking with hundreds on a monthly basis. Most made rapid progress on their business because, while their passion was obvious, their business structure was nonexistent. They were trying to get paid to do their hobby. Any business system was a dramatic upgrade, and so all of them made quick progress.
But eventually, I saw that many were limited by their product.
When you’re running a C+ business, operating your primary service at a B+ level is fine. Upgrading your coaching skill isn’t your top priority; making more money is your top priority. And upgrading your coaching skill won’t make you more money if your business sucks. Being a better coach won’t make you a better gym owner.
But when you’re a good gym owner, and you have good systems and great clients, you NEED to be a great coach.
When you have A+ systems and charge A+ prices, you have to provide A+ value. And most gyms weren’t doing it.
Now, let me be clear: almost every single gym owner I met was an expert at their method.
They were CrossFit experts. Or weightlifting experts. Or yoga experts.
They could break down programming. They could give seminars on how to do the method they were selling.
But still, they couldn’t keep clients for long. Sometimes they were boring their audience. Sometimes their knowledge came off as a bit too “elite”. Sometimes their clients just didn’t like them. It’s not a secret how I knew this to be true: I was boring people! I was too “elite” at the whiteboard! And some of my clients didn’t like me!
I had to learn to be empathetic. I had to learn how to be friendly. I had to learn how to provide 1:1 value in a class setting. These are the real skills of a coach. A real coach can be effective with almost any method.
In fact, the best coaches DON’T get stuck in the dogma of one method. They might be CrossFit Level 3 certified, but they also take their clients for bike rides. Or they study human behavior as much as they study the snatch. Or they draw from Pilates, Peloton and Parkour…whatever will help their clients progress. When their clients get locked into their homes for three months, good coaches learn how to lead meditation and encourage good habits, because that’s what their clients need from them.
None of this stuff is taught in certifications, because certifications exist to teach you a method. Certifications can’t “certify” a good coach – they can only certify proficiency in a particular method.
My largest business is a mentorship practice for gym owners (that’s TwoBrainBusiness.com). We build A+ gyms that pay the owner well, provide a platform for coaches to build their career, and give clients a life-changing experience. To do that, coaches must know more than a method; they have to know how to coach.
TwoBrainCoaching has been through a few iterations before now. But in 2019, I partnered with Josh Martin to build the new platform. I wanted to bring in EVERY element that a coach needs to be successful long-term: not just technical knowledge, but empathy; care; attention; focus; mentorship; and an insurable certification.
I didn’t want a weekend course on technique. I wanted a life-changing, career-making plan.
Josh is a master of building curriculum. My own coaches at Catalyst have been through TBC courses and love them.
My role is to connect these with mentors and make our Certifications insurable. And we’ve done that: you can get your 1:1 coaches a quality certification. You can empower your group coaches to keep people around longer. You can have your nutrition coaches certified with an insurable credential (there are maybe 2-3 other certifications on the planet who can do this) and you can have your coaches certified to coach Mindset (no one else can.)
There are still more programs coming. But these are the fundamentals that will actually build careers. Weekend kettlebell certificates won’t do that.
To be a good coach, you don’t need to win the CrossFit Games. You don’t need great abs, and you don’t need a PhD. , but that’s the easy part. You need tools, mentorship and a commitments to growing beyond your method. That’s why I built Two-Brain Coaching with Josh. Thanks for growing with us!