- Back when I was coaching, I burned out and ultimately quit doing what I once loved. I don’t want to see you do the same.
- In this post, I cover 3 common mistakes I’ve seen that are doing more harm than good and will ultimately make you quit your coaching job. No one wants that.
- If any of these apply to you, PLEASE make a change NOW. I’d hate to see another coach leave the industry and you can make moves to keep your work-life balance sustainable in the long term.
10 years ago, I was at a crossroads with my coaching career.
I had achieved the dream – coaching golf, a sport I absolutely love, while making a six-figure income. From the outside looking in, it looked like I had it all figured out.
But here’s the thing: I was miserable.
I was burnt out, overwhelmed, and constantly falling behind. My work week was approaching 70 hours and when I did the math I realized that my effective hourly rate was just around minimum wage.
So all I wanted to do was quit.
Luckily, inspiration for CoachNow emerged from these dark times. I’ve since made it my mission to help coaches avoid this downward spiral into resenting what I once loved.
So… Why am I telling you this?
Because I don’t want you to quit.
Coaching is a fantastic career, but it can also be a lonely journey. Technology is far more advanced now than it was when I was in the height of my coaching career. And, of course, CoachNow is tailor built to help you avoid the burnout that I see all too often in this field.
For this week’s post, I want to summarize the 3 biggest mistakes coaches make that lead to burnout.
If you’ve been following our content here, none of these will probably come as a surprise, but the lessons bear repeating. If any of these apply to you, PLEASE prioritize addressing these sooner than later.
This isn’t the kind of thing that will fix itself- you need to make changes NOW that will increase your career satisfaction, longevity and help you achieve a sustainable balance between work and life.
Let’s get to it.
1. You’re Still Selling Your Time for Money
Here I go again. I’ve said it a million times (for example, here, here, here, and here) It is vitally important that your business doesn't require you to be in a specific time at a specific place to sell your coaching expertise.
Time and time again, I’ve seen coaches who sell their time for money burn out. The “lessons” business model simply doesn't scale. And worst of all, selling time for money isn’t in the best interest of your athletes.
Learn to sell your expertise instead of your time.
Create digital products and empower your clients to improve 24/7. Package your expertise into bundles. Or, better yet, make your coaching automatic and subscription-based, so you aren't wasting your valuable time manually interacting with your clients one at a time.
Master asynchronous communication ASAP. Offer micro touch points, and proactively share the coaching resources your clients need before they even know they need it. Simply put: your athletes shouldn't have to wait until your schedules align to keep moving forward.
Find your ideal customer and only work with the athletes that cater to your expertise. If you’re an expert in your niche, you can approach coach-client relationships with SO much more confidence. People trust results and respect a coach who knows their worth as a specialist.
I whole-heartedly believe that, as the world becomes increasingly digital, those who sell their time for money will become obsolete. We already saw a “great dying” of businesses during COVID-19. Learn from the past and make this change now, before it’s too late.
2. You Use Tons of Different Communication Channels
Here I go being repetitive again…
If CoachNow is just another communication channel that you use in your coaching business, I know it sounds harsh… but I'd rather you not use it at all.
I still see coaches using different channels for different needs. Email for scheduling, Text for feedback, disparate video analysis tools, YouTube, Whatsapp you name it! etc. You get the idea (and you probably do it now…)
The disconnect in communications is doing WAY more harm to your mental health (and the health of your business) than you likely realize. PLUS the odds of you missing something important and not helping your athletes WHEN THEY NEED It goes up exponentially.
Sure it’s manageable when you have a few, or even a handful of clients. But good luck keeping up once you hit 20+ (which is a great scenario for your business, IF your systems are ready).
Here’s the deal: communicating across disparate channels is making it impossible to show up as the best version of yourself. I don't want you regularly going to bed anxious, wondering if you missed a message, post, or notification. And I don’t want you to lose a client when you inevitably miss these things.
PLEASE go all-in with one channel and train your athletes to only expect communication, feedback and coaching there. Obviously, I want you to use CoachNow. But frankly I don’t really care if you go with a competitor as long as you choose ONE.
And, as a reminder, don’t EVER give your feedback in the wrong place after making the transition. I have more advice on how you can do about this change in a recent post.
TRUST ME. Once you make this change, you’ll wish you did it sooner!
3. You Haven’t Properly Set Expectations/ Boundaries With Your Athletes
Your time is the most valuable resource you have. To be a successful coach, and build a lifestyle you love, you need to treat it as such.
When beginning their careers, coaches often start by first thinking about what kind of BUSINESS they want and consequently measuring success by hypothetical numbers in a spreadsheet.
But at the ConnectedCoach Academy, we think differently. While revenue is important (after all, without revenue, you can't have a business), we include location and time freedom as additional key metrics of success.
It's all about what you hold fixed as the number one priority. Here’s something I have found to be true: the decisions you make while optimizing for your ideal lifestyle will differ completely from the decisions you make while only optimizing your revenue.
But it’s one thing to nod while reading this, another thing to take ACTION and make the change.
So how do you set proper expectations and boundaries? And what boundaries should you set?
In my 10+ years in this industry, I’ve found that it’s all about proactive, open communication with your athletes. Don’t be afraid to remind them that, while you love what you do and want to see them succeed, you too have a life beyond being “Coach.”
I’ve seen coaches succeed here by setting aside specific times in the week to review video footage, questions, and comments on your athletes' posts. Provide feedback during that set window (and ONLY during that set window) for all of your athletes in one fell swoop.
And DON’T overwork yourself by being available all the time. I obviously am a HUGE advocate of asynchronous feedback, but be sure to set a MAXIMUM number of comments/posts you provide per week.
By clearly defining the quantity and timing of your feedback, you encourage your athletes to stay actively engaged. And, if they’re paying additional for this feedback and it's "use it or lose it", they are MUCH more likely to hold themselves accountable. Everybody wins.
Lastly, be clear about who you coach and who you don't.
Remember: if you try to be everything to everyone, you'll end up being nothing to no one. You are doing yourself and your athletes a disservice if you try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
I have much more to say about each of these points in a recent post. If you like what you've read here in section 3, check it out: “3 Ways to Establish Boundaries With Your Athletes in 2022”.
The LAST thing I want to see is ANOTHER coach who overworks themselves for too little money and quits coaching all together.
I’m serious.. It’s way too common and honestly SO painful for me to witness. I can relate 100% and that makes it all the more disheartening.
I know coaching is your life and that you love your sport more than anything. It truly is an honorable endeavor to want to see the next generation of athletes carry the torch and improve the game.
But PLEASE be proactive with your mental health and make sure that what you’re doing is SUSTAINABLE. In the long run, you’re doing no one a favor by leaving what you once loved in a frustrated flurry (like I did).
If any of these rings true for you, drop me a note. I’d love to see how I can help.
And, of course, be sure you are staying up to date with everything at the ConnectedCoach Academy. We post a weekly blog and podcast to keep these crucial ideas top of mind.
Here’s to growing as a coach and being the happiest you can be!