Authority Figures

By Chris Cooper

In Affiliation

January 20, 2015

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By establishing expertise, great coaches can make connections with current members as well as potential clients.

Before 2001, CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman was teaching CrossFit, but few knew about it. In 2001, CrossFit.com went up, and in April 2002 the CrossFit Journal site followed and became home to Glassman’s foundational writings about the program.

Through articles such as “Foundations,” seminars, technique videos and other media output, the CrossFit message spread from Santa Cruz, California, and generated more than 10,000 affiliated gyms by 2014.

Glassman is called “Coach” by most who meet him, and he’s an authority figure in the fitness world. Coaches and affiliate owners keenly attuned to Glassman’s “pursuit of excellence” credo work hard to better their skills daily through self-evaluation, continuing education and professional development. CrossFit coaches are getting better all the time. But do their clients know? Their clients’ friends? The local community at large? In other words, does the market appreciate their expertise?

“Authority is recognizability and trustability,” Seth Godin, a popular business writer, wrote in “Striving for Authority.” Godin believes establishing authority is one of the most critical branding strategies in the new business landscape. In the “opinion age,” it can be hard for clients to trust service providers. With dodgy information available everywhere, professional coaches can still stand out as experts if they practice the strategy of “show, don’t tell.”

CrossFit coaches have the opportunity to display expertise in every class, but some gym owners are taking it beyond the walls of their gym and finding ways to stand out in their local market.

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