Streamlining your Staff's Continuing-Ed Efforts

Are you a facility owner who's made a habit of sending your entire team of strength coaches to a weekend seminar?  If your intent is anything other than building camaraderie, I would contend that you are burning through money.  Now, hear me out, as I am in no way saying that continuing education is a wasteful way to allocate your company's resources.  Instead, I am asking that you reconsider your approach to consuming all of this available information.

One of the greatest things about our staff here at CSP is their constant pursuit of knowledge.  I can't remember the last time I saw consecutive weekends pass without a team member taking a day off to attend an event.  In a constantly evolving field, such as the fitness industry, there will ALWAYS be a seminar to attend.  While some of these events are better than others, I can absolutely see the value in going.  In fact, part of our compensation package for all CSP staff members is a $500 annual continuing-ed stipend which can be allocated toward books and/or seminar fees.

Though I have never once regretted sending a coach to a seminar, I have recently come to the conclusion that paying for more than one or two team members to attend a given event is far from the most efficient way to spend continuing-ed dollars here at CSP.  We currently have a rule stating that no more than two team members are to attend a given event unless absolutely necessary.  One obvious reason for this decision is that having multiple coaches away from our facility on a Saturday compromises our ability to deliver an exceptional training experience to paying clients.  Calling in a former intern or two to pick up the slack can work occasionally, but it  can't become the norm.  This being said, my primary reasoning for this policy relates to consumption of new content.

CSP is a unique model, as our clientele happens to be nearly 85% baseball players.  With such a specific population making their way on to our training floor, our team needs think strategically when it comes to implementing the concepts learned at seminars.  Instead of shutting the gym down on a Friday or Saturday so that I can send 8 coaches to "learn from the best", I'd rather send one or two team members.  In exchange for their opportunity to learn, and us picking up the tab on event registration fees, I request that the coach collect and repurpose the information in a practical manner to be delivered to our team during the following week's staff in-service.  This way, we're boiling down an 8+ hour seminar to a single 60-90 minute content-packed presentation which speaks to our unique needs.  Everybody wins.

Every time we open up the registration process for a CSP Fall Seminar, or an event like the one we're hosting featuring Alex Viada, I am surprised to see entire teams of coaches signing up from a single facility. Are they closing their gym for the day to allow their entire team to attend?  Is it likely that 100% of the material we cover will be relevant to their success? Or, even 75%?  Maybe it is time for gym owners to consider strategically dispersing their coaches toward continuing education opportunities to ensure the best interest of their business is taken into consideration.