Coach Collaboration: Journeys and Learnings

Coach Collaboration: Journeys and Learnings

For many coaches, collaboration doesn’t feel intuitive. It’s your business, you’re in competition with others, so why share secrets? Read about how two coaches have found great growth in becoming more collaborative.

In the previous article, we discussed why we should collaborate within our sport(s) and highlighted that a lot of coaches put walls up rather than build bridges. We have crossed over once or twice at endurance conferences and events. We quickly realized that, due to our shared, open approach to coaching, others might find value or be interested in our personal experiences with coach collaboration.

Jen’s Thoughts on Collaboration

When I started this triathlon journey, I was working at a full-time job, training for my first Ironman Triathlon in 2002, and my coach suggested that I get my USA Triathlon Level I Coaching Certification in 2001. Never in a million years did I think that I would be coaching full-time 19 years later. 

When I decided to leave my job and head back to school for a Master’s in Kinesiology, I didn’t realize that I should have also taken business classes. As most of us know now, to have a successful business, you have to wear many hats. But you also have to work with other coaches. 

Let me explain.

When I first started my business, I did everything to save a dime. I did the website, accounting, marketing, and coaching. Then it got to a point in which I wasn’t truly excelling at anything.

In this order, I started working with:

  1. Web Designer
  2. Accountant
  3. Virtual Assistant (VA)
  4. Business Coach
  5. Added another coach
  6. Bookkeeper

I needed help in order to grow. I needed to collaborate with not only other coaches but other people that could help me grow my business and my brand. How did I do this? I made some great connections with athletes and coaches.

First of all, I started building relationships through my “Master Your Coaching Business” Program. I started working with other coaches, nutritionist, and other experts that trusted me to help them with their business. And this is where it was a win/win for each other. 

Second of all, I realized I was “blocking” myself from gaining more clients. This is when I started working with Coach Bobby, as an athlete. We started figuring each other out, and after about six months, I told him, “I need help in my business.” Bobby and I realized that we were very coaching compatible as my weakness was his strength. He was that data geek, and I was the motivator. 

The rest was history. We started growing a team and haven’t looked back. 

Bobby and I agreed to open up the Rulon Tri Club to anyone that wanted to jump on. While we are not a big club, we like the connect the community and help how we can.

When it came to coaches, I opened up my Facebook Group, Master Your Coaching Business, because I want to help other coaches out and have coaches ask each other questions. I summarize the ultimate purpose of the group as “Coaches Supporting Coaches!” 

Phil’s Thoughts on Collaboration

My experiences in collaboration underpin the way my coaching firm, Tri Training Harder, operates. In fact, it’s at the heart of what we do. We work together as a collaborative, ever-growing group of coaches. Now more than ever, this method has proven to be the most effective.

No coach has ever gone through a global pandemic. Each day presents its own set of challenges from canceled races and dissolving motivation, to irregular training schedules and mentally exhausted clients. At Tri Training Harder, our coaches have been consistently sharing their problems, offering solutions and leaning on each other in order to off-load stress. As a result, we have all become an intensely close-knit group. Our pool of knowledge grows more as each person adds to it. 

I work with other coaches through a mentoring program. This safe environment helps both our coaches and myself learn tremendously, as it offers us a place to challenge ourselves and each other without feeling judged. At its very best, we develop a new methodology or we reinforce what we already have in place.

As of late, this collaborative mentality has yielded even greater benefits. Facebook groups of coaches are now sharing papers and information about COVID-19. There are Zoom sessions during which coaches sip morning their coffee together while talking through coaching problems. 

For an industry that is generally quite insular and isolated, we have become particularly close and more willing to share than ever. Coaches are looking after one another. I believe this will ultimately help us evolve and I genuinely hope this lasts.

Jen Rulon & Philip Hatzis

Coach Jen Rulon hails from San Antonio, Texas but works with triathletes around the US enabling them to “Cross the Finish Line with a Smile.” Across the pond, Coach Philip Hatzis lives and trains in Oxfordshire in the UK where he coaches athletes from all of the world. You can email Philip at: philip@tritrainingharder.com.  Both are dedicated multi-sport coaches, passionate about helping their athletes achieve their best. They also work with a plethora of coaches to help them grow their coaching businesses.