Part 1 – Katee as a Business Woman

In a three part series Coach Katee, gives us some insight as well her thoughts and feelings on being Katee – The Business Woman, The Coach and Athlete.

You may have previously also read Coach Sarah’s blog on “ A Day in the Life of a Coach”… if not, you can read it here.

Part 1  focuses on Katee as a Business Woman, let’s get into it!

  • As we know, you are not just a ‘Coach’ you are also the Director of Holistic Endurance, alongside your team of Coach Sarah and myself (Jackie). So, how do you manage and allocate time to all the business practices required to run a successful business. Ie: Business modelling, marketing, industry presence, finances, future projections and so on. Do you do this “back office” planning and processes weekly, monthly or quarterly?

It’s been an interesting evolution really. Like most coaches, this coaching thing started as a side gig for the love, so it wasn’t a huge part of my week. As the years have gone by, I now find myself as a full time Triathlon and Endurance coach – Which I’m now learning is quite rare. And as a it has grown into my full time gig (I really can’t call it a job!) it is also a thriving business. Which means my tasks each week go beyond the regular programming and communications with my athletes. And the great thing about coach life is each week is VERY different.

The greatest proportion of my week is dedicated to program writing on Training Peaks in conjunction to reviewing my athletes session notes, session data and performance management chart . I block out time on a Monday to review athletes sessions from the weekend – more so for those within 12 weeks of a key race or going through a rehab process. Then Thursday’s and Fridays are my dedicated Program writing, data analysis and athlete communications day. Between that, I will also be responding to athlete emails and texts that come up during the week – there is no structure to this as it really just has to occur as needed.

I also conduct wellness consultations, 1:1 Strength & conditioning sessions and 1:1 Swim, bike or run technique sessions, which I really enjoy as part of my week, so there is some time allocated to these consults and follow up notes.

Beyond that, I would complete a bunch of business related tasks such as:

  • Monthly finance reports and day to day finance such as invoicing
  • Marketing plans and social media planning
  • Content development for our athletes
  • Research and reading for professional development ( I LOVE to ‘save’ feature in Facebook – this way I am able to “chunk” my research time to review those saved articles all at once rather than mindlessly scroll through Facebook)
  • Website editing
  • Training camp and event planning
  • Meetings with super Coach Sarah Grove and our legendary admin super star Jackie.

Time for these tasks is mapped out on a monthly basis to ensure efficiency, as I believe in task grouping. For example, I am better off being in a finance head space for 4 hours per month than I am for 30min per week. I get a lot more done, more effectively.

In summary, without my weekly structure and planning, I would go mad and be incredibly inefficient. My planning and flow ensures I am productive with my time – allowing more time to chill my main man, our dogs, sleep in and enjoy the beach.

  • And what are some of the other not so regular things you do as a coach and business owner?

This is very dependent on the time of season, or what phase majority of my athletes are in. Currently we are completing annual season reviews and goal setting with each of our athletes, so more time has been directed in this area.

When we are prepping for a Training camp- about 4-6 weeks prior our time is largely directed to ensuring the success of our camp for us and our athletes.  This happens 1-2 twice per year.

I also present at seminars on the topic of hormones and performance, which I LOVE. Who knew I would love presenting – because I didn’t! In prep for a seminar I would spend my normal research or content development hours on developing and preparing for this.

Then there are pathology tests and supplement prescriptions. This is a big part of our philosophy at Holistic Endurance to ensure the health and wellbeing of our athletes. So on occasion I will spend time analysing pathology results and consulting our athletes on their next steps.  We also work very closely with The Natural Nutritionist  – so each fortnight I allocate time to update the team at TNN for anything they need to know about our athletes health, nutrition and training. 

  • How do you manage working from a home office?

I personally love it, but I can see how it wouldn’t work for everyone. It’s taken practise but I now take a concerted effort to not go into my office or sit at computer during “personal time” and at the end of the day I do a proper “log off” – this involves small tasks that help make the mental distinction of work and home life. This helps my brain turn off from business mode (easier said than done). To log off here are some of the steps I take:

  • I close down all the open tabs on my web browser – If I need them – they get saved to my “reading list”
  • I plan my next day – ensuring I have flagged key emails that need to be addressed first thing
  • I update the to do list, so I know where I’m at for the next day. This goes a long way towards starting the next day efficiently.
  • I TURN OFF my computer – just like my brain. It deserves a break.
  • I leave my phone in my office
  • I tidy up my desk and sort out anything I might want or need for the next day. Ie: I love having candles and or a diffuser going during my work day.
  • Then it’s important to have a “break up” activity. Whether it’s playing with dogs, going for a walk, or training. The simple act of leaving the house, then coming back in later on – without going to the office – is a way to switch off the business brain.

I don’t want my coaching life to have a short time span. So I feel it’s important to set up systems and boundaries that align with the intent to be running a coaching business long term, avoiding the all too common entrepreneurial or coach burn out.

  • Do coaches have to deal with conflict from outside Holistic Endurance? Ie: from coaches of other clubs who do things differently. If so, how do you deal with this?

Interesting question! My first reaction is no, because it’s certainly not direct conflict. But if I look deeper there is an element of coach / club competition that can contribute to ‘friction’ or as a competitive driver.

In the early days, my frustration with people who bashed or disapproved the ‘holistic’ approach was certainly an issue. Over time I have come to accept that I cannot help everyone, not everyone wants my help and my approach won’t work for everyone. I am very confident in our approach and the immense results we have achieved with athletes over the last few years – it goes beyond podiums and PB’s – and these athlete results make it very easy to drown out the nay-sayers and stay on our path, with an open mind of course. The other element helping shift the attitude of many in the endurance community is the vast stories that are coming to light, regarding burn out, hormone imbalance, infertility, injury, over training and so on. I am gradually noticing a shift towards people wanting to understand the holistic approach to training and performance as opposed to thinking it’s a bit “fluffy”. Some notable athletes that come to mind are Emma Snowsil (Frodeno), Stef Hanson (WITSUP) and Pete Jacobs .

In regards to the direct, blatant put downs. Well, again, overtime I get better at dealing with this. But it’s not easy at all. Yoga is my friend in these times 😉

  • How do you make time for yourself and where do you draw the line of putting others before you?

I LOVE my morning and evening times, so this is a big part of my me-time. As I alluded too before – I’m pretty dang organised. But the thing with loving what you do as a business owner is that it is VERY easy to over indulge in “work hours” and give too much of yourself. I’ve learnt this the hard way many times in my life. So this time around, I have been very savvy and realist in my commitments to my business, my athletes and everything outside of that. I say NO more often, I commit less. This has taken time to learn what is too much to have on my plate.

I have a very holistic view when it comes to business – life balance (sounds obvious right) but honestly it would be SO easy to over work myself doing 50-60 hours, cram in training and a semi-resemblance of a social / personal life. But that wouldn’t last (been there, done that).

Ie: If I plan out my week ahead and I can’t see gaps for “personal time” during the day or even a lunch break I know I’m in trouble, because things will always pop up. With this in mind – I keep lots of blank / white space on my calendar for the things that crop up along the way. And if they don’t? well it’s bonus time where I can choose to do some professional development reading or simply chill in the sunshine.

I love waking up without an alarm majority of the week. It allows me to listen to my body & recovery needs. Obviously this isn’t always possible, but it’s my default where I can. This sets the tone for a chilled morning, I hang with the dogs, test my HRV, go for walk and grab an almond latte from the best in the business – Store15 . After that I’ll usually complete my training, but if I’m on a tighter schedule for the morning, I do this first thing and take the dogs as part of my recovery. If number one husband hasn’t been on night shift – he joins me for all the above!

Supportive dude & #1 husband

Podcasts, dog walks and the ocean = happiness.

So my ‘work’ day gets started generally from 8 – 9am and I aim to finish by 5-6pm – at least off the computer. This means my mornings and evenings are for me and my man, and provide that balance. My downfall? Lunch time. I get engrossed in my work or chatting to an athlete and this is the first ball that I drop, time for myself to eat mindfully. Sometimes being fat adapted can work against me here. A work in progress.

  • Holistic Endurance provides a lot of educational material in the form of articles/blogs/webinars to their athletes / general public; how important is this to you and why?

In essence, this is what what makes me, me and our mission, our mission. There are a plethora of coaches, training groups and resources out there. I don’t need to replicate what others are doing, I strive to understanding the gaps of knowledge for both coaches and athletes and spread key messages that work towards athlete longevity, health, happiness, and performance. It’s the thirst for knowledge and spreading that knowledge that drives me day to day, month to month, and towards my greater vision for the long term.

  • What are the worst/best things about being a coach and/or business owner?

As I write this, I’m coming off the high of athletes racing on the weekend – The completion of events or challenges, goal achievement and race performance success is defiantly the greatest highlight of being a coach. Although I must admit that the DURING is also tough! If I’m tracking an athlete from afar or I’m at a race spectating, my mind morphs into a very protective “mother figure”, worrying about if they have had enough nutrition, hydration or are pacing correctly! I have to implore independence on their part, I have done everything I can do to support and educate my athletes to make good choices – it’s up to them come race day.

Race day “mother mode”

Further to that, the results we get with athletes go beyond their times, paces and podiums. We guide them towards life balance, health, wellness and vitality. Seeing an athlete FEEL better and live a HAPPIER life provides a huge level of satisfaction. As a result, I find we naturally gravitate away from shouting results from the roof top, our athletes know how their health, mindset and performance has changed for the better and that’s what matters to us.

And I can’t not mention data analysis. It really is a favourite part of my role as a coach. Planning an annual training plan, crunching the numbers, setting goals, testing and setting athlete training zones – this definitely puts a fire in my belly.

The worst parts… Like athletes, as coaches, we feel the ups and downs that training and racing brings – the challenges are really a right of passage in my eyes. So I can find it challenging when an athlete is feeling low, disappointed or frustrated, because I feel it too! And at the same time I might be feeling pure excitement and exhilaration for another athlete in the same moment. It’s an interesting experience.

The other thing that I find difficult as a coach, not just with my own athletes, but any athlete in the endurance community – is watching them experience health or performance troubles that can be EASILY avoided with a shift in focus, perspective or approach. I feel very passionate about athletes being fit AND healthy, not fit, yet unhealthy . But it’s similar to if my Mum told me to do something, I would feel resistant and likely not take it on board – even if it is a good and worthy task / solution. This is common in coaching too – I cannot simply tell an athlete what they are doing wrong or what they should be doing, because they might not be ready to hear it and I find when an athlete is empowered towards finding a solution themselves – it creates an epiphany and a higher likelihood of long term change. So sometimes I see athletes getting in their own way, and I have to wait patiently while I guide them towards solutions – this can be tough, but it’s about them. Not me.

  • In summary, it sounds like you approach business the way you approach training and programs for your athletes – with an all and well rounded approach – holistically. What is your advise to future and aspiring coaches who want to go into business?

Know your WHY. Much like when you enter a key race that has meaning and significance for you, a business goal, mission and a values need to be tied to strong sense of WHY. Because life as a business owner can get rough at times. Without a strong sense of purpose or WHY it can be easy to loose sight of your goals, vision and general business mojo. This then leads to less satisfaction or a jump in careers/jobs. I discussed this more in-depth during an interview with Training Peaks, “How to Assess Your Coaching Values to Get the Most Out of Your Athletes”. Check that out here.

And that concludes part 1 of the series … Next week we get more on Katee as a Coach.

 

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