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  • Writer's pictureFarran Mackay

Coach Developer: what is that, why is it needed, and why I became one?


First of all let me introduce myself.


My name is Farran, I am Irish but I have lived for nearly 20 years in the Netherlands (and yes my Irish family and friends consider me fully “Dutchified”!).


Nearly 10 years ago a friend persuaded me to join her in a CrossFit class. The WOD that day was Fran. Talk about a baptism of fire! After the class I remember wondering what just happened and knowing that I wanted to do that again!


I was hooked.


Fast forward to today, and I now have the pleasure of being a coach developer.


Farran Mackay CrossFit coach developer

What is a coach developer?


A coach developer is a coach who helps other coaches improve their coaching skills, develop their leadership abilities, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and practices.


Basically, they work with other coaches to identify areas where they may need to improve, provide feedback and guidance, and help them develop their coaching skills. This can include one-on-one and/or group coaching, as well as training and education opportunities to help coaches stay current with the latest developments in the coaching world.


By supporting other coaches to become better at what they do, coach developers help create a strong coaching culture within a box, which can ultimately lead to better client satisfaction and retention, as well as a more dynamic and engaged community.


A coach developer requires a combination of coaching skills, leadership abilities, communication skills, empathy, knowledge of methodology, flexibility, adaptability, and a deep knowledge and passion for coaching. By embodying these traits, a coach developer can help other coaches grow and develop as professionals, and ultimately provide better coaching to their clients.


Overall, a coach developer is a skilled and experienced coach who is dedicated to supporting the growth and development of other coaches within the CrossFit® community.

Why is a coach developer needed?

Even if you're an experienced coach, there's always room for improvement. That's why even coaches need coaching! Coaching can help coaches improve their skills, stay current with the latest trends and practices, and develop their leadership abilities. Plus, coaching can help coaches identify their blind spots and work on areas that need improvement. It's all about continuing to grow and develop as a professional, and providing the best possible coaching to clients.


Hiring an external coach developer can provide a number of benefits for a box or coaching business. For example:

  1. Objectivity: An external coach developer can provide an objective perspective on the coaching practices of your gym or business. This can help identify areas where coaching practices can be improved or where new strategies can be implemented.

  2. Expertise: A coach developer who specialises in CrossFit can bring specialised knowledge and experience to the coaching team. This can help coaches develop new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in CrossFit coaching.

  3. Customisation: An external coach developer can create a customised coaching program for your box or business, based on your specific needs and goals. This can help maximise the impact of coaching development and improve the overall coaching culture of the box or business.

  4. Accountability: An external coach developer can provide a level of accountability that may not exist within the box or business. This can help coaches stay on track with their development goals and ensure that the coaching culture of the box or business is consistent and of high quality.

  5. Networking: An external coach developer can provide opportunities for networking and collaboration with other coaches and gyms in the community. This can help coaches stay connected and informed about the latest developments and best practices in CrossFit coaching.


Overall, hiring an external coach developer can provide a number of benefits for a gym or coaching business. By providing an objective perspective, specialised knowledge and expertise, customisation, accountability, and networking opportunities, a coach developer can help coaches improve their skills and provide better coaching to members, leading to greater satisfaction and member retention..


Why did I become a coach developer?


For most of my adult life, the common thread in the work I do is the drive I have to help people, and the desire to make a positive impact in people's lives. For over 25 years I have shared my passion for different sports through instructing people from all age ranges and backgrounds. Alongside instructing sports, for nearly 15 years I worked as a high school teacher, teacher trainer, and educational researcher. This mix gave me a unique insight into how supporting teachers to improve their teaching practices had a positive impact in their students lives.


Like many others reading this, I had attended some inspiring weekend courses that motivated me to change and improve my coaching practices. However, to make these learnings “stick” required me to call upon my experiences of supporting teachers. Not every coach or box owner has these experiences, and talking to many over the years, coaches often came back enthusiastic from a course, and then fell back into their old coaching habits. It was not possible for them to make the learnings from the course “stick”. It represents a missed opportunity within the community to truly bring our coaching to the next level.


When life presented me with the opportunity to reset and choose a new path, it was a clear choice for me to combine the knowledge and experience I had built in supporting teachers to improve their teaching practices, and my experience as a CrossFit® coach.


And so I stepped into the role of a coach developer to help bring the knowledge and experiences needed to (structurally) support coach development to the community.


Take your coaching to the next level

At Virtuous Coach Development we can support you in all aspects of coach development at affiliate, team, or individual levels. By relying on our expertise and experience, you will gain the knowledge and skills to bring your (or your teams) coaching to the next level that are specific to your needs.


Feel free to schedule a call to have a chat over coffee (or whatever you want!) about your affiliate, team, or your own coaching.

crossfit coach development

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