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Q&A with Hal Higdon

Each week, coach and author, Hal Higdon answers your questions about running. Here's the latest:

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The ABCs of Your Coaching Business

Recently, a successful business owner shared an insight on time management. I’ll paraphrase his opinions to get the ball rolling:

We value ourselves more than we think. We are not all that valuable. We spend a lot of busy work doing just that - busy work, non-productive.

My first manager had me focus on my time:

  • A-time is revenue producing. Meeting with clients.
  • B-time is prospecting, doing seminars, doing prospect interviews.
  • C-time is admin. Paperwork, analysis, planning. 

C-time can be outsourced. B-time helps grow my business. A-time is the only time I always personally have to show up for.

But A-time only makes up about 20 percent of my work week. All the rest is non-revenue producing or business-building time I would rather have somebody else do.

Have you considered the ABCs of your coaching business? I have.


  • Direct, personal interaction with teammates (athletes and coaching peers) 
  • Teaching by example 
  • Helping my stars (coaches, athletes, ambassadors) 
  • Offering correction in a way that creates change 

To define what should make up my A-time, I ask myself:

  • What do I do best? 
  • Where do I get the greatest response to my experience? 
  • Who benefits most from my experience? 


  • Promoting 
  • Learning 
  • Qualifying leads 

With B-time, it’s tempting to tell yourself that you need to be an expert in all areas. However, that’s impossible. To be the best you can be, you’ll need to develop specialist experience that’s unique enough for people to pay you to share what you know.

At Endurance Corner, our solution to building deep specialist knowledge has been to form a world-class team of coaches, athletes and alumni. We use technology to connect ourselves via an online forum that enables us to share our knowledge. Collectively, we benefit from each of us contributing in an area where we have deep experience.

To illustrate, it would take me decades of B-time to become an expert in:

  • Kidney function 
  • The athlete’s heart 
  • Psychiatry 
  • Orthopedics and chiropractic 
  • Ironman and Ultraman 
  • Technology and web design 
  • Camps and clinics 
  • Exercise physiology 

That's why the above is a list of the specialties of our columnists. While my friend quoted above avoids B-time, I take a different approach and enlist the help of others. We’ve found that our best marketing is to give away good information for free. This then educates and reaches new team members.


  • Repetitive actions that create no value
  • Admin 
  • Billing 

Minimizing C-time requires change, and we share a strong bias towards the status quo. Remember that the easiest way to increase your return on investment is to create systems. In a coaching business, systems might include:

  • Workout libraries that can be used across athletes of all abilities 
  • Templates for training plans that repeat often 
  • Systems for annual planning 
  • Billing solutions that automate bill collection, bank deposits and accounting data input 
  • Accounts receivable systems that make late-payers visible early 
  • Technology such as coaching software that reduces your clicks, leverages your ability to share knowledge and speeds your ability to personally tailor training plans (you can see example of this in the plans I’ve created on TrainingPeaks).

If you struggle with the items above, then serve an apprenticeship with a company that has their systems dialed. Effective time management is a skill that’s often overlooked and prevents us from doing what we do best. Besides, if you’re reading this piece then odds are, you’d like a little extra time to go training!

In March, take one positive step to improve your ABCs.


As Gordo mentions, TrainingPeaks coaching software can help you streamline the "B" and "C" tasks of your coaching business by allowing you to create training plans for multiple athletes, deliver workouts to your athletes no matter where they are, prospect new clients through our "Find a Coach" services, and more. Learn more about TrainingPeaks Coach Edition here.

Gordo Byrn has 22 years of strategic planning experience. He launched Endurance Corner in 2009 and the site had over 300,000 unique visits in 2011. has a searchable database where you will find more than 1,000 free articles designed to assist working athletes and their coaches.

Reader Comments (1)

Time is always very important not just in a coaching business but in almost all types of businesses.

March 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlake @Cheap Printing

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