Why the Teacher Should Become the Student
The longer I coach runners and triathletes, the more I have come to believe in the value of having a coach myself. I have been asked the question: “If you are a triathlon coach, why do you need a coach?” That is often a hard question to answer for some coaches, and I suppose not all coaches absolutely do need a coach. However, some of the world’s top CEOs have executive or leadership coaches, right? So why not apply this to athletic coaching in endurance sports? Many coaches also compete regularly, so having a coach to take care of both your athletic and coaching needs can be a great benefit to you personally and professionally.
As a coach and athlete, it’s often difficult to remain objective, whether about one’s own training, or even when working with one of our athletes. Seeking out guidance from a successful, veteran coach can be a valuable resource to you as you excel as an athlete and as you grow your coaching business.
So what are some other reasons a coach might need a coach?
Mentoring and Consultation
I am a big believer in mentoring at all levels. As the saying goes, “if we stop learning, then we stop growing.” This applies to us both as coaches and as athletes. Having someone serve as a mentor can give you that extra edge as you refine your coaching style and practice. Every new athlete I take on is a new opportunity to grow as a coach. But as the sport expands and becomes more diverse in participants, distances and types of events (ultras, double iron-distances, extreme triathlon, adventure racing, etc.), having a more experienced coach to provide mentoring and consultation will set you apart from other coaches in your area.
Writing Your Schedule
Many endurance coaches, including myself, also actively race throughout the year. As mentioned earlier, it can sometimes be difficult to remain objective about one’s own training and racing. So having another coach writing your training schedule can relieve some stress and be a big help to the busy coach who also has a demanding family life and training schedule. Having someone else plan your workouts can provide some much-needed accountability and give you a fresh perspective that you might not have on your own.
Supporting the business end of things can be of great value to someone new to coaching, especially during those first few years. Making decisions about pricing, web design, social media and what services to offer can be overwhelming in the beginning. But even to the most experienced coach it can be beneficial to have the ear of someone who has traveled down the same path you. In the long-term, such a relationship can be priceless in terms of avoiding problems, missed opportunities and in advancing your business as quickly as possible.
Endurance coaches are busy entrepreneurs who are often trying to manage their business while simultaneously training and racing. From planning your training to consultation and support, hiring a coach is an investment in both your athletic and business future.