As a triathlon/strength coach, I have worked with numerous athletes throughout the years: From sprint distance triathletes, to 3x Ironman Triathlon triathletes. I have had (still have) AMAZING relationships with some of the athletes that I have coached, and not so great relationships with others. I have had some athletes who have gone to other coaches (totally fine; it’s a growing process!). I have had some athletes quit the sport completely. I have also had to fire some of my athletes. Why? I was putting more work into coaching them than they were putting in for themselves. I don’t work that way.
The other day, I received a question from a potential athlete, and I LOVE what she asked me: “What are my expectations as a coach?” As I started thinking about her question, I realized that I need to tell my potential athletes my expectations from the start. Maybe the athletes that I fired were never “aligned” with my expectations? Maybe the athletes that went to another coach wanted a different approach to coaching. Another thought that I had was that the athletes that I am coaching now and the athletes I have coached in the past Exceed my Expectations. Why? These athletes, aka friends, know that I expect GREAT things from myself as an athlete. Why would I think any differently with the athletes that I coach? To make it clear cut, I came up with:
Jen Rulon’s Coaching Expectations
1. Train yourself to be GREAT, not good: Great!
2. Be honest with me about your training, whether you are doing too much or not enough, or nothing at all!
3. Listen to your body! Talk to me about what is going on with your body. I do not know if you don’t tell me. Put that info into an email, into Training Peaks, or if, as I had one athlete say to me: “I had to stop my bike early. I was passing kidney stones!!!” – CALL MY ASS!
4. Be Fearless. Push yourself where you may never have gone before.
5. No excuses. For example, I can’t do this: Why? Because it hurts, because it’s uncomfortable, or because there is an injury? There is a difference :)
6. Last but not least: Smile.
As I strive to be a GREAT coach to my athletes, I will make mistakes, miss an email, forget to post their pace for the run intervals, etc. As my athletes strive to be GREAT athletes, they will make mistakes, miss an email, not hold their pace for their run intervals, not call me for a major injury, etc. In the long run, all we are doing is to better ourselves. In return, we hold ourselves to be accountable for being GREAT!