“If you can’t train people to do what you do efficiently and effectively, you need [Trainual] to help you.”
<blockquoteauthor>Tim Caron, Co-Founder and Head Coach at Allegiate<blockquoteauthor>
Allegiate is not your run-of-the-mill gym. Instead of siloed cardio and weight machines, they offer coach-led strength conditioning via group classes. And because it's geared toward prior college or professional athletes, Allegiate embodies high performance and elite-level service.
Co-founder and Head Coach Tim Caron manages the gym’s coach training program. At Allegiate, all coaches start as interns. Then, they work through an apprenticeship to become expert coaches. "Getting experience through volunteering is common in collegiate strength conditioning. I had at least 10k hours before I got a paying job," Tim explained.
The apprenticeship program lasts roughly 3 weeks. And it's built for transferring coaching knowledge and weeding out those who can't keep up. According to Tim, "to coach [at Allegiate], you have to be committed to our curriculum."
But the apprenticeship program was by no means perfect. It still had a lot of holes.
Gaps in the team’s knowledge
At the time, Tim trained interns via a .pdf where he documented everything he knew. He would assign page numbers and set up a meeting following the due date to review the content. Meanwhile, interns would shadow Tim to learn the gym's strength conditioning programs.
Tim told us the system was good enough to get their Redondo Beach location up and running. But he and his co-founders knew it wouldn't work for expanding operations into Los Angeles.
"[Training coaches] was based on my instincts and being reliant on intrinsically-motivated people to come to work and do a good job," Tim shared. "Unfortunately, [that method] simply wasn't good enough.”
According to Tim, there were two clear gaps in the system. First, interns were missing important steps while coaching clients (especially when Tim wasn't around). That’s because a lot of the program was based on learning through observation, so people would miss things. And second, there was no way to assess who or how far someone had worked through the apprenticeship.
Tim realized there had to be a better way to train his team. So, he set out to see what tools existed - and which one could solve his scaling problems.
“Our strategy to just observe, watch, and do had a lot of holes. So, we had to get all the information our coaches and staff needed to be successful in one place.”
Taking training to Trainual
When Tim discovered Trainual, he immediately saw how it could fill the holes in his system. "It looked like a resource where coaches could go back and go through training at their own pace," he shared.
He also liked the ability to see completion scores. Meaning, he could finally know for sure who was invested in the work and who wasn't. "As we develop and build into something bigger, we have to be able to objectively see how much value each intern brings," Tim explained.
So, he signed up for the online training tool and started migrating his .pdfs over. And once he finished capturing one module, he'd test it on his existing employees.
"Our staff [would tell] us what wasn't clear in the documentation. Then, we'd do a quick update in Trainual. And bam! We were ready to move onto the next module."
Using this wash-and-repeat system, Tim quickly built the gym's Trainual. And in the process, he found key points he missed in the original .pdf documentation and filled them. Once everything was documented, he was ready to start training his newest interns with Trainual.
Getting everyone on the same level
Before, Allegiate coaches were trained in specific programs. But now, Tim uses Trainual to teach baseline knowledge across all programs.
That way, everyone knows what Allegiate stands for, how to expertly coach their clients, and what they need to know (and do) to be successful. And there's no excuse for anyone not being up to speed.
As a result, Tim has more flexibility when it comes to scheduling because every coach can work every shift.
"We've had some massive changes in our coaches' schedules, and it's okay. Because instead of having one person trained in a specific area, we have 10 people."
Since everyone is trained on the same information, there are zero knowledge gaps from coach to coach. And Tim no longer has to be at the gym 24/7 to address unforeseen challenges.
Clearly see who put in the work
Using the Trainual admin view, Tim can quickly see who's working through the apprenticeship. And if it's being done to the level, Allegiate requires.
"As an administrator, I can see every single one of our employees make it through all the modules they've been assigned," Tim said. And by relying on those completion rates, he can see who's up for the challenge and whose heart isn't in the game.
"Coaches who go through our Trainual can say they've completed something really challenging," Tim explained. "And it's not because I forced them. It's because it's what they're destined to do."
As a result, coaches provide top-tier client service, and they become more loyal employees. Something that was previously impossible to guarantee with the observe-watch-do training.
Opening new locations
With the new documentation, Tim says the Allegiate apprenticeship program has become more than just a training program. "It's become our blueprint for a successful worker-owner relationship," he shared. This program will be pivotal for opening future locations.
Today, the Allegiate team is working to document their sales, front desk, and managerial knowledge. That way, the newest team members will be ready to run the Los Angeles location.
"This year would have been a lot harder [without Trainual]. Fortunately, we're in a good spot right now to grow and scale. And if we keep looking toward the future, we can make it through pretty much anything - and not just survive it but thrive in it."