Value of the Coach Evaluation


No matter which Chipotle location you walk in to, there is a consistent feel and look to it.

John Swanson, the founder of The Fast Factory in Sartell, Minnesota, explained he looks for this same consistency in the classes taught at his Box.

“As much as [members] want to say, ‘We do the unknowable,’ there’s something to be said about also knowing the paces as which things are going to happen,” he said.

But in a business where numerous Coaches — with a variety of personalities — run your daily classes, how do you maintain consistency?

A large way Swanson accomplishes this is through evaluating his Coaches.

Before a Coach can lead a class on his or her own at The Fast Factory, he or she must obtain a 90 percent on four out of five evaluations. Everyone from an associate Coach to the operations manager will conduct the assessments, ending with Swanson himself doing the final evaluation. After that, a Coach will be evaluated every 90 days.

The assessment is comprised of every factor and attribute that makes up a class at The Fast Factory — does the class start on time, did the Coach go over upcoming events, is there command of the room, was there detailed instruction, etc. On the evaluation sheet, each item is detailed out so Coaches understand exactly what Swanson is looking for. “Don’t make it just about a workout. For a long time, the industry was ‘Let them do a workout.’ And for us, it’s not that,” he said. “How do you rise above and how do you have a good product or something that’s more than just a workout? You have to have these things built in and you have to have a criteria to teach your team about all of that.”

By providing a consistent class experience through coaching evaluation, Swanson explained he has control over what his members are getting. “No amount of marketing can fix a shitty product,” he said. “Your business is only going to stay in business as long as your product is superior.”

And that means your Coaches need to always be up to par. Swanson said it’s not uncommon for a year-old Coach to fail the evaluation. They get lazy, he explained, forgetting to pay attention to the details. And more than that, the evaluation opens up an opportunity for honest conversation.

For example, say a Coach didn’t conduct the cool down at the end of the class. When you first ask why, she said she thought the workout would get done quicker, but member Jenny took forever to put away her weights. Then you ask if the Coach wrote a lesson plan, and the answer is no. And when asking why yet again, the Coach admits her other job is keeping her super busy. So the real root of the problem is whether or not coaching at your gym is still a priority in the Coach’s life.

Swanson said with the evaluations opening up doors for honest conversation, he is able to ask his Coaches if they still feel challenged and if they know how to grow in their position. Plus, he will ask if they would still apply to work at the gym with what they know now. And he will tell them whether or not The Fast Factory would still hire them now knowing what they know about the Coach.

By safeguarding his business’ product, Swanson also protects the product’s value. And that means being open when it comes to evaluating his Coaches. “There is some value in that open and honest conversation about whether or not they’re performing,” he said.


Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at