It’s not difficult to picture a world-renowned weightlifting coach sitting on a foldout chair in a dingy one-off gym at the end of a successful career of memories and trophies without a real business, without money in the bank and without a marketable message. We know that great coaches don’t always make the best businesspeople. If they did, everyone who’s coached an Olympian would be financially comfortable. Most are not.
This, in many ways, brings up the question: Is coaching a profession inherently based in sacrifice? As unsettling as the topic may be to discuss, I don’t think there’s any moral high ground in being excellent in your craft and living in poverty.
Though CrossFit is growing like crazy, the participation doesn’t necessarily represent financial success for its affiliate owners, either. Without real stats, observationally we can say that a select few are über-successful businesses, many are doing well and plenty are not.
How do we, as coaches, change the stereotype that one day we may be great and poor? Maybe that isn’t the goal and my entire point is invalidated. Maybe many great coaches are poor businessmen and businesswomen because that isn’t the point. Surely, making money and good business don’t insure that one is a competent coach.
It seems as though, even if business success isn’t the point, that the greatest coaches with great responsibility should be rewarded for such greatness emotionally, financially and otherwise. Admittedly, Greg Glassman never sought financial goals when creating CrossFit Inc., yet the business success inevitably followed.
Does one need to enter into the pursuit of greatness in the craft of coaching with business in mind to be financially successful? Surely, one would agree that such strategies would help. We know, though, that there are plenty of examples to this rhetorical question that entered in their coaching pursuits without business-minded goals and found plenty of success intrinsically and financially.
The reason I ask these questions is less about business strategy and more about rewarding and incentivizing the pursuit of greatness for coaches. I, like many of you, want to live in a world where great coaches are plentiful and rewarded.
Right now, we live in a world where being a great coach almost always means also giving up financial comfort and success (of another career) to coach and live a life of humble financial return. Ironically, some coaches with a craft far from greatness have a disillusioned reality of what coaches, especially new ones, make and feel the ultimate frustration when their gym isn’t harvesting the financial fruits they ignorantly assumed were the norm.
Is CrossFit producing a population of fitness professionals coaching legitimate performance with a legitimate income to accompany their craft? Does it matter?