The Battle of E.Q. vs. I.Q.

November 11, 2016

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” — Brian Tracy

“Your EQ is more important than your IQ” — Gary Vaynerchuck

Both of these gentlemen are obvious topic experts, successful entrepreneurs and their message rings true to anyone who owns their own business. The amount of emotional intelligence you bring to the table is more important than your overall intellectual intelligence if you’re looking to develop a sustainable enterprise and hire/develop the best staff money can buy.

However, for our niche market — the microgym — we need to be a bit more practical in our application of these sage pieces of advice. Let’s break that down.

Knowing what the hell you’re talking about…is kinda important in our industry.

As A Technician, You Must Chase Virtuosity

The majority of microgym’s started as a one man shop. The coach (technician) is the wearer of all hats — coach the clients, follow up with leads, clean the floor, crunch the numbers, do the marketing, change the toilet paper, etc. But the only hat that has to be worn with absolute perfection to get this thing off the ground is that of the coach.

If you do not possess the ground level ability to change people’s lives through fitness and nutrition you will not succeed in this industry. Much like the coach who can’t effectively train in a one-on-one setting is doomed when they get to large groups.

Your ability to teach proper movement, create effective nutrition plans and give lifestyle guidance to all walks of life is the make or break factor for your business in the early days because getting people results is all you’ve got!

You either get your small following the results they seek, or they will seek out somebody else.

The original quote in question proclaims that your emotional intelligence will trump your intellectual intelligence. Well I’m here to combat that with another quote from another successful entrepreneur:

“Good training will chase out bad training.” — Greg Gassman

Yes. You actually have to know what you’re talking about when it comes to strength & conditioning, nutrition and lifestyle coaching. Your love for the clients is not enough. It’s what will keep you waking up at 4:30am and working 60+ hour weeks, but eventually they are going to realize that there’s a more elite breed of coach out there — and that’s what they will want.

“Just because you’re passionate about something, doesn’t mean you’re actually good at it.”

As the gym owner and the head technician, you must elevate your IQ to a level that is equal with your unwavering EQ. A disproportionate shift in either direction is a sure fire route to eventual failure.

If You Don’t Have the Necessary IQ, Then You Have to Hire It

It’s amazing to me how many gyms owners claim to be “fitness professionals”, but they can’t name the four SITS muscles of the rotator cuff or share with me an effective nutritional plan for individuals with adrenal fatigue.

If these concepts seem too “high level” for you, then I suggest you immediately pursue higher education in this field. Otherwise, someone is going to move into your neighborhood with this basic knowledge of human anatomy and nutrition and crush you.

In my observation after speaking with hundreds of gym owners, the majority of us are starting our business with very limited scholastic background in fitness other than the required CrossFit Level 1. In addition, many new gym owners have very novice experience coaching individuals or large groups. In my research, most CF affiliate owners originated this journey as a client, got the entrepreneurial seizure and jumped right into opening their own gym.

Knowledge and practical coaching experience (IQ) is the foundation of your success way before your (EQ) ever plays a significant role.

If you know that you’re not the most knowledgeable coach, then you must hire one. It’s as simple as that. People are paying you a professional wage for a professional service. Please don’t provide them with rookie level value.

*note: I’d like to go on record in stating that I think that CrossFit has provided some of the best practical application certifications and instruction on the planet.Other organizations such as OPEX, Training Think Tank, Precision Nutrition, BirthFIT and Clinical Athlete (to name a few) are also at the forefront of certifying athletes in advanced levels of human performance knowledge. I highly recommend looking into all of these groups and stepping up your IQ game.

However…Brand New Clients Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

In an attempt to completely contradict myself, I do want to present the realization that the majority of new members coming into your gym won’t know the value of your IQ, that is — they won’t know the difference between great and shit coaching. At least not at first. This is where I believe your EQ capacity is initially of much greater value.

The amount of empathy and your level of understanding human beings is crucial in the very early stages of a prospect transitioning into a member at your gym. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it’s the primary variable as to whether or not you close the sale.

However, once they’ve signed up and they are apart of your flock, it is your sole responsibility to make sure that they are receiving a fitness program that holds the highest standards as it relates to safety, efficacy and efficiency.

For those prospects that are already drunk on the CrossFit kool-aid, meaning they have been training at another gym previously — your IQ will be one of the main determining factors in their buying decision. Veteran CrossFitters who transition to boxes where the coaching is either vastly superior or inferior recognize this distinguishing trait almost instantly.

You Have To Do More Than “Care”

To summarize, please don’t jump on the bandwagon that all you need to do is care about your clients.

Yes, it’s obviously a vital characteristic to any successful business — but you must accept the fact that you have to posses the knowledge and experience to get your clients the results they are searching for. If you’re short on the IQ side, there are plenty of opportunities to raise this portion of your game.

first published in Train Heroic