Evaluation, Coaching, Appreciation

We need evaluation to know where we stand, to set expectations, to feel reassured or secure. We need coaching to accelerate learning, to focus our time and energy where it really matters, and to keep our relationships heathy and functioning. And we need appreciation if all the sweat and tears we put into our jobs and our relationships are going to feel worthwhile.

Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen, Thanks for the Feedback

The scenario: A member who's been with your gym for a while now is expressing some frustration about the amount of progress he's making. He comes to you looking for help.

The first question you should ask yourself is what he's actually looking for.

If he's looking for evaluation, you might say:

"Well, Bill, when you're here in the gym, I see you working hard. Your coachable, you're willing to listen, & I know you're not just checking the boxes. But you're only here two times a week. Are you willing to try coming in four or five times a week next month so we can see if that might get us over the hump?"

If he's looking for coaching, you might say:

"Well, Bill, you've been here long enough that you move really well, & when you're here, I see you working your tail off. But we're missing an element of consistency. What do you think is getting in the way of taking a few more classes a week?"

If he's looking for appreciation, you might say:

"Well, Bill, first I gotta say that you're not giving yourself enough credit. You've been a member of the gym for years, & of course over that time we're going to see some natural ebbs & flows with the progress we're making. The key is in recognizing when we've hit a plateau, & you've done that. So what do you think is causing the problem?"

It'd be nice if we entered into these kinds of conversations with the goal explicitly articulated, but alas, humans are too messy for that. Even the person we're talking with won't often know what kind of feedback they're looking to get.

The trick: Don't be in such a rush to solve a problem that you end up solving the wrong one.

We can do that by slowing down, asking lots of questions, & listening actively. Just like everything else in the gym, these are skills that can be improved with attention & enough repetitions.

Patrick Cummings
99 Percent

It’s a big world. You can loudly leave out 99 percent of it.

Derek Sivers, Anything You Want

CrossFit isn't for everybody, & neither is your gym.

CrossFit isn't for somebody who believes yoga is the best way to stay healthy. It's not for somebody sure barbells are dangerous. It's not for somebody who judges their fitness by the number of miles they've run this week.

Likewise, your gym isn't for anybody who thinks paying $150 or $200 a month for a membership is stupid. It isn't for anybody who considers working out alongside other people a special kind of hell. It isn't for anybody who wants to come in & use your lifting platforms whenever their schedule allows for it.

It doesn't matter what you believe. It matters what they believe. Better to focus on those who already believe what you need them to believe.

This doesn't mean that CrossFit & your gym can't be inclusive. It just means that before you get to be inclusive, you've first got to be exclusive.

Exclusive to those who are willing to do difficult things. Exclusive to those who want more than a Planet Fitness membership & to plug in a pair of earbuds. Exclusive to those willing to pay the price at which you've set your services.

Draw a line in the sand. Then focus on the select few who leap across it, overwhelming them with excellence every step of the way.

Patrick Cummings
Flawless First Drafts

Nobody creates flawless first drafts. And nobody creates better second drafts without the intervention of somebody else. Nobody.

Ryan Holiday, Perennial Seller

When you opened your gym, you had a vision in mind of what you were trying to build. Even if you knew it would take time to get there, you could see it from the very start.

I hope your current reality doesn’t look like that initial vision. I hope it’s changed, evolved, grown, morphed.

I hope so because, if it hasn’t, you’re probably not listening.

You’re not listening to your current members about what they need from you now. You’re not listening to the marketplace about what it’s looking for. You’re not listening to your own mistakes so you can uncover whatever hidden biases, assumptions, & blind spots might have caused them.

Anytime we start something new, our vision of what it will become is all hope & shine. It’s not until we put it out into the world, until the marketplace muddies it up with its own plan for what we’re offering that we can actually figure it out.

The key is not to be so stubborn that we don’t hear what we need to hear, that we’re not so in love with our initial vision that we can’t see all the ways we were wrong in the first place.

Patrick Cummings