A Year of Coaching

In early February I blogged about establishing myself as a coach, outlining the success I’d had with my approach that far. I was surprised how many were interested in the growth of my business and have since offered a number of new coaches advice based on my limited experience. Six months after that initial post I want to give an update on my progress.

I’ve reached a landmark – my books are full! I currently have no spaces for new athletes.

As a coach the number of athletes I’ve guided through to their season goals is more significant. For many of my clients the A race is done, they’ve entered the limbo between seasons, slowly building back to focussed training and lining up targets for 2012. Results were my real test. Until my athletes started to compete my coaching would remain an unknown.

So far the season has gone well. I’ve helped some to sub-10 Ironmans or new personal bests; I’ve seen my athletes perform across long and short distances. The successes are immensely satisfying and the failures leave me searching for the mistakes I’ve made. Whatever the outcome feedback has been positive, my athletes believe they are fitter and faster, or are at least too polite to tell me otherwise.

Six months is a long time in coaching. There really is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, every athlete presents unique requirements beyond the common themes. I’ve dealt with accident, injury and illness; athletes who train like machines and those susceptible to set backs. As I learn more and develop as a coach I’m acutely aware how much further there is to go; the core of my plans work, but there is room for refinement.

Books full and a strong sense that my coaching works. What next? My business sustains my lifestyle, allowing me the time to train whilst giving each of my athletes the attention they need. It’s time to refine and improve.

My main objective is to start next season with improved efficiency. Eliminate time wastage so I can focus on the important aspects of the job. Constructing plans is simple, but being able to adapt them to changing circumstances and objectives is a challenge. I encourage and emphasise communication and that takes time. Responses are quick, but ad hoc, standardisation is one of my goals; systems like Training Peaks are a step towards this. As long as I keep my service personal, I’m happy.

Limiting athlete numbers effectively limits the business. I don’t intend to expand beyond my current numbers; committing to long-term coaching relationships is intensive, I’d rather explore other opportunities. In particular developing a consultancy style service aimed at those looking for input with their own plans. I see training with power as an area I particularly bring experience and can add a lot of value. There’s the seed of an idea there, it needs time to germinate.

Year one has been a good start both as a business and coach. Year two will be better.

Whilst my books are full I still welcome all enquiries. We can explore other ways to work together or I can add you to my waiting list and notify you if space becomes available.