Growth is one of most exciting, scary and frustrating aspects of owning your own gym, even more so if you have multiple locations. CrossFit Knoxville in Knoxville, Tennessee, has two Boxes, West and North, and when it hires new Coaches, it hires for both.
“We have never hired specifically for one location,” explained Steve Owens, the co-owner, vice president and operations manager for CrossFit Knoxville. “As a new Coach is selected to begin the apprentice program, they work with several Coaches at each location and then a need is filled. If we need a Coach for the afternoon classes at a certain location, then the new Coach’s availability will be known to fit that need before the process of training begins.”
CrossFit Knoxville also ensures that all of the Coaches it hires come from its own system as athletes, with at least five weeks of training at CrossFit Knoxville classes. “This gives us an idea if they will be a good fit for our staff, and it also allows the athlete to see if they want to coach within our system,” said Owens.
For CrossFit Knoxville, personality and passion plays a major role in the selection process for new Coaches. “As the [eight week] apprentice program progresses along, meetings with the new Coach give guidance on areas they are needing work on, as well as strengths that are working in their favor,” said Owens. “The apprenticeship program is a process that gives the new Coach the tools to become the best Coach they can be.”
Each Coach must have a certain personality, passion in helping others and a “distinct understanding of our methodology,” according to Owens. Additionally, it’s vital that a new Coach can identify and correct movement patterns, as that’s the primary objective for the gym. However, Owens said that simply being fun to be around is an added bonus.
The hardest part for CrossFit Knoxville when it comes to hiring new Coaches is matching up need and timing for when to begin a search. “You don’t want to just create a position for a Coach if there isn’t one available, and you also don’t want to be without one if one departs,” explained Owens. “We have Coaches that work from one day a week all the way up to four or five days a week. In the past, Coaches have told us they will be moving or leaving and this has allowed us to start preparing. Other times our Coaches have stepped up and filled in places that we needed them to until we found someone to replace the Coach that has left.
“In the end it all comes down to your specific need at your gym and what positions and hours you need to have those Coaches,” continued Owens. “What we are always doing as a staff is observing and taking note of who would make a good Coach, as well as if they have the availability. When the time comes, you want to be able to have the list of potential and possible interested athletes at your gym.”