This got me thinking, what does it take to be a good employee? No one starts off at the top. Before you can lead you must follow. Before I was the head coach I was the vault, floor coach. Before I was the vault, floor coach I was the “spotter”. My job was to go in a spot so that the head coach could watch and make corrections. My job was to use my body not my brain. My job was to spot not talk or make corrections. I listened and I learned.
Now looking back – what are traits that I would like to see in my employees. Making sure the right people are on the right events and in the right position is one of my most important roles.
A motivated employee is likely to possess other qualities that make them the perfect employee. They will want to advance within the company so they will want to stand out. This means that are much more likely to communicate which is a key trait. They likely will be a good listener who will take direction and wants to learn. They are more likely to think about the consequences of their actions.
It’s easy to find someone skilled, smart, talented and has a good resume, but a good attitude is gold. It’s not easily found, and cannot be taught. I like to see coaches who are really smart, but also humble. They still follow rules, accept mistakes and respect others.
A dedicated employee is one who takes ownership of their role and the gym as a whole. They are committed to the mission of the company, and really lives the values that have been created by the culture here. There is no blaming or ego. Dedicated coaches really look at the overall good of the company, and understand what is best for everyone. They help out the other teachers and coaches.
I think consistency is underrated in the gymnastics world. You can’t be successful if you have coaching A.D.D. where you work one skill for 5 minutes then move on. There’s a premium that’s put on intangibles like creativity or ingenuity, but there’s a need for someone who shows up every day and really grinds it out. While you need people who are constantly pushing the envelope and churning out new ideas, innovation is backed by hard work — elbow grease shouldn’t be a phrase from a bygone era!
Perfect employees are responsible for themselves and others. They ask for help when they need it, are dependable and reliable, will not need to be micromanaged, will inspire others to achieve excellence. They know they are the makers of their own success themselves, are introspective, and know that change for the better starts within.
Talent only gets you so far. Being dependable means you complete tasks given on-time and on-budget, and can solve issues that will arise during a project. Any gym owner can tell you stories of the GREAT COACH who they had to let go because they were not dependable.
I have found that the most powerful predictor of a coaches or teachers performance is the ability to self-manage. Self-management exists when the coach sets their own goals and has high personal standards for performance. Self-management doesn’t mean the coach doesn’t adhere to the overall goals; quite the opposite — the coach uses the gym or teams goals as a guideline and tends to go above and beyond.
Opening up a gym requires integrity. Integrity is founded on honesty, accountability and delivery. I have made MANY mistakes to get to this point, so progress and commitment to the business is paramount, which requires honesty and accountability. Being accountable for a mistake and not placing blame is the delivery.
I look for coaches who are completely committed to their jobs, team members and customers. The best coaches are strongly motivated to advance their own careers, but at the same time really care about the people they’re working with and the customers they serve. This takes a genuine interest in the business and even the day-to-day details, which are sometimes monotonous. I say often, “I do not expect you to be as singleminded about the gym as me 24/7. But I do need you to view this as more than just a job”.
YEARS ago when I first opened my mother told me- Hire the personality, you can teach them the job. I am a firm believer that you can always train for skill, but not for talent and passion. When I am looking to bring on a new coach or teacher or even a front office person, I look for someone who is going to bring energy and passion to their role above all else. Without that, the technical skills mean little.
I personally value those who are ‘lateral thinking’ and can develop creative solutions to bolster our current initiatives. This is because someone who is inherently innovative, and can be counted on for delivery of creative solutions is going to work great in the ever changing environment of the gym. They can also take their creativity and help us think around problems in the office and business.
An optimistic employee looks for creative solutions before introducing an issue to the team. They approach each day as if it’s an opportunity to do something extraordinary rather than nine hours spent barking out orders and drills. They help drive things forward through actions small and large. BONUS- they are fun to be around!
Employees who are hungry for knowledge should have no problem taking on a task and running with it. This type of mindset is extremely important within a gym. Resources around training may not be scarce but they are difficult to schedule. Coaches must be driven enough to solve problems on their own.
There are a lot of great, motivated and talented coaches out there. The ones who share your vision and are loyal to you and that vision are few and far between. People want to build their own dream and their loyalty is sometimes swayed by attractive offers at another gym. Let them in on building your dream with you, develop them as people and professionals, and loyalty will come with it.
You can train a coach to learn your business, but character stems from experiences. I sleep well at night knowing I can trust my employees to do the right thing, treat the customer well and be a righteous ambassador of Atlantic Gymnastics. A character-driven employee does not need supervision to make decisions because they will act in the best interest of our business and customers.
Building a coaching team of achievers is one sure-fire way to really get things done. Being smart and skilled is one thing, but a coach who can successfully plan and execute tasks to a high standard is extremely important. Having go-getters in your gym helps to accelerate growth, fuels ideas and keeps things moving.
These days, everybody is smart and talented (or at least think they are). The problem is that in our business, we have all become incredibly scared of failure. I love employees who take risks, albeit calculated, and then take responsibility for the ensuing success or failure. It is categorically impossible to succeed without failure, and the coaches and teachers who are persistent are the real superstars.