Before we begin … special thanks to the individual who donated 13 entire tubing KITS to the Dharma Rama Teen Cancer retreat this coming weekend. In a day and age when people are begging for notoriety for doing charitable acts, it was amazing for this person to ask not to be recognized. It was absolutely given from the heart, for all the right reasons. We thank you so very much!
13 Teens who have kicked the sh*t out of cancer will go home with this, and trust me, this is one of the greatest gifts these kids have ever gotten. Not because it’s a piece of tubing, but because it’s a chance. A chance and a method for them to learn to live again. THANK YOU!
I would also like to give a giant shout out to the many yogis who are bringing their yoga mats to the Teens with cancer Center office at the Al Sigl Center on Elmwood avenue. Within one hour of a FaceBook posting we’ve got mats coming in like crazy. You just don’t know how much this will mean to Leah and all of the kids coming to the retreat this weekend.
This is what it is about. This is what community is about. This is what love does. Stay tuned for the report.
In the meantime…… here is one from the archives today!
Way back in 2004 my good friend Rich Clark (one of the owners of Score-This!!!) and I were talking about setting up Train-This, really it was his idea and the name began as a joke. We talked a lot about our visions for multisport in this area. I began racing before there were timing chips, before there ever was the Score-This multisport Series. There were maybe 3 triathlons even in this area! So we go back a long time. A very long time.
Multisport is very different than regular business world. Multisport is a relationship based business. Those who have narcissistic, take -em-over attitudes don’t last very long here. Cut throat ideas always fall apart. That kind of stuff always takes care of itself.
When I began Train-This, I didn’t have a big grand marketing scheme. I don’t have an MBA, I have a BS in Nursing. I don’t have any business experience, but I have people experience. I had a lot of good resources around me. So I looked at all of the people I look up to. I looked at my parents, the morals and ethics they taught me: treat others well, always be fair, and let the bad people destroy themselves.
I looked at my coach at the time, Doug Bush of Endurance factor….. he taught me a lot about the business of coaching and what to aim for.
I looked at Gordo….. who really believed in sharing knowledge and experience rather than taking over the world.
I looked to Lisa Bentley, who is my all time favorite triathlete. She’s positive no matter what. She practices what she preaches, and she’s fair.
I looked at all of those people and decided….. that’s the way I want to run my business. I want to have good people around me. I want to be fair. I want to teach. I want to learn. I want to build a community of athletes who come together.
When an athlete and I part ways in an athlete / coaching relationship….. you stay part of our alumni if you want to. Come out, play, have fun. More important than making money…. is building relationships. Over the years we have really been able to build some good ones. Which came into play this week in fact, with our new business venture. But that’s another story for another day.
The athletes on our team are very close. They are family. I learn from them, I hope they learn from me. Their victories are mine as well. Their failures are mine also. Athletics is so much more than execute the time, we have to take care of each other. I often get asked about my business model. I often get asked what my rates are. Ask me, and I will tell you. Are you a new coach? Let me give you some tips from what I have learned. I have had people use my little business model and they realize that they only can succeed hen they are their true authentic self. There is not a lot of drama in triathlon coaching, believe it or not. In this area we are so fortunate to have great people.
From Buffalo to Syracuse we have great mutisport coaches. We’ve traded athletes, referred athletes, used each other as resources. I am hoping to be able to put together a Spring 2011 conference for all of the local coaches. Wouldn’t that be a fabulous opportunity to meet, share, collaborate? I think so. This is a business and community I am honored to be proud of.
This weekend I had an interesting experience however. These don’t come along often but I think there are big lessons to be learned from them. There is a young coach to the east of me, who apparently is getting started in this multisport world. man I love that. It’s awesome to work in this business.
This new coach set up a Face Book page and has used some of my athletes in his pictures. I think it’s great. I think anytime putting up pictures of what our sport represents is awesome. It’s more than trophies, it’s more than winning. t’s about friendships. Whether they “belong to me” or not…. doesn’t matter. It’s the community that matters. Then things got a little strange. My athletes tend to get protective of me. we all collaborate and share things. We are all friends and I am very proud to say it. so when this particular new coach…. began inquiring to one of his friends that I coach about my prices….. I thought…. hey that’s normal. but geez, if this guy wants to know, he can ask me. I don’t take offense, I don’t take it personal….. how do you know the going rates here if you don’t ask?
So this new coach, goes to another one of my athletes and tells that athlete I coach a different athlete for free. No big deal. Untrue, but no big deal. But weird. I wondered what his angle was? I figured that he just didn’t know me and might have been shy to ask….. so I sent him this email
(names changed for identity protection) As you are aware I currently work with Jo Jo Athlete, Speedy speed and Jack Fast. I am understanding that you have inquired about the rates I charge for the athletes that I coach. Since I also understand that…. for some reason…. you have decided to ask my athletes, tell others, and give false information…. I thought you might be interested in asking the source….. which is me. Within this industry this kind of behavior is generally viewed as someone attempting to drive a wedge between an athlete and their coach. But since we don’t know one another, I would like to make the assumption that you were just curious as I see you are doing some coaching yourself as well. Plus I am unbelievably fortunate to work with some very good people, they get a little bit protective. Our team is a bit like family. Currently I charge XXXX per month. It depends on several factors: does the athlete have power I need to analyze? Do they live locally? That kind of thing. I also do give discounts to folks for various personal reasons. I think coaching should be affordable for everyone. Again I am not sure why the inquiry, or the reason for telling another athlete. Since we don’t know one another I am going to assume that you were …. just curious….. not trying to cause any harm. This isn’t Venture capital after all… it’s a sport for everyone and a sport where anyone can follow their passion and help others through coaching. Within Western New York there are several excellent coaches, and it had the opportunity to turn into a cut throat business if you look at a map, but incredibly it has not. It’s a field where we utilize each other, I have sent athletes to Jimmy, he’s sent them to me, I have asked Cinderella for advice…. it’s really a terrific community up here. If you have any questions about my business however, please feel free to contact me. either at this email or at the phone number below. People will often ask us how we have built a successful coaching company over the past 5 years and I say this: we are fair, we are honest, and we are ourselves!
The intention was to clear the air, invite discussion. I am not in to drama but I am certainly into…. if someone has a question….. just ask! So his response was this:
I actually know a few more of your clients and again that is not an issue. I hear great things about you as I told Frank. I have no intention of taking your clients and have nothing to gain by saying this. It was something that I heard and as I told Frank I would be flattered. I have no time to start coaching any time soon. When I do I am going to try to concentrate on Jr. and already have a way to try to develop those athletes. I also would never train friends. I don’t believe that it would be effective or good for either parties. I may give them a tip from time to time or help them with an issue if needed. This area had plenty to offer everyone and I don’t see how me hearing something like this would make one bit of difference.
I had to smile because his response was backhandedly flattering. Obvviously he didn’t answer the question.
I probably made him nervous.
Word travels fast when your actions aren’t ethical in this community. I don’t think I accused him of poaching, yet he was apologizing for it.
But the reason I share this entire example with you is for a few reasons, the big one being that this so rarely goes on in our area that I felt the need to grab is by the horns and learn the lesson!
If you are considering getting into coaching, or are curious about the business, here are my tips on how to go about it: 1. If you have a question… ask. This area is filled with so many great coaches and athletes. Align yourself with the good folks and good things will happen for you. By digging around….. and people noticed….. you establish yourself as someone who has poor ethics. Which is what happened.
2. Know your limits. . There are athletes who will do well with me, and there are athletes who won’t. Know your limits. I was contacted by a very talented junior athlete who in all honesty has a good shot on the ITU circuit. However, I don’t think he and I would have made a good fit. So I referred him to another local coach, who has experience with juniors and at the OTC. Know your limits.
3. Be a good force in the community: Work with the other entities in the area, see what you can do to help build our sport. Don’t tear down businesses, athletes, coaches or whatever, partner with them. I am a huge believer in Karma. I think that the good that you put into the world will come around to you when you need it. It just came around to us this week. But again, I digress.
4. Be fair and be honest. I think that one explains itself.
5. Focus on your product, not externals: Like i said I don’t regularly get caught up in this type of drama, but it happens so rarely that I think it’s so good for all of us to learn from. You succeed by building yourself and business from the inside out. Not by threatening, imitating, be yourself and they will come. However you can’t get into a tizzy every time someone like this comes a long. You have to take it for what it’s worth and get back to what you are focused on. You can put one of the athletes I coach on your website all you want, but at the end of the day what matters is that I give my best as a coach to this athlete. Who is appears they are aligned with isn’t worth anything.
When my head hits the pillow I rest easy when I give my best to my team. I don’t think I would feel good as a person if I were trying to seem like I coached someone I didn’t. But that’s me. Focus on your business. Focus on your core values. These types of people, their behavior takes care of itself.
Is this a good business model? I don’t know. I make this all up as I go along.
I look to my mentors, I pray on things a lot……. what?…… yeah…… I pray. I am not one of these people who come around during the day and invite you to revivals….. but I am a person who has an extremely strong faith. I have to, if you know what I have been through you know that when all else fails…. you learn to live on faith. I pray pretty much on everything. Every decision I have to make I pray on. And when this interaction occurred this weekend I prayed on it. What should I do with it? It’s such a small piece of the pie of life, I wanted to just move on.
I realized not only can I learn from this….. maybe something similar has happened in your life. Who cares if it’s multisport or at the corner diner. ever been in this situation? well here are my thoughts. Here are my beliefs. agree or disagree, maybe I can offer some insight. More often than not, because of something I write someone will shoot me an email and offer me some insight. And for that I am so grateful.
So that’s the business lesson of today. The lesson is that this is a different field than medicine, stock market, resturaunting…… this is multisport. The business of people. The business of relationships. I smile as I think back to those conversations with Rich, heck we have them every now and then. It’s always the greatest check up for me. Treat people well, accept the feedback when you can do better, and keep building community. We’ve built a company that’s seen 100% growth annually for the past five years. so we must be doing something right! As for this young coach…. we don’t worry about him. He will grow, he will learn….. sometimes the hard way…… sometimes the easy way……. but what’s important is that he is young and he has the greatest lessons ahead of him