I met my husband at a CrossFit box. It was love at first lift. We have first-hand experience about the law of attraction over a barbell and understand better than most how fast connections can happen.
My lifting lover and I went on to open our own affiliate. It’s an amazing community led by a group of coaches who are stellar athletes, fabulous friends and passionate human beings.
At our box, we insist that our staff keep their passion focused on CrossFit. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and to preserve the health of our box, we ask that anyone who works for us refrain from, shall we say, “fishing off of the 1Force pier.”
True, we met at a box, but over the past five years we learned the hard way. It doesn’t end well unless it ends with a WEDDING. Thankfully, ours happened last year. That said, coaches dating clients, or even each other, is a sure fire way to hurt your business.
From a legal perspective, if a coach with seniority has a sexual relationship with another coach, you as a box owner could get sued if the lower-level coach feels taken advantage of. And if you date a coach? You could go down hard, no pun intended.
A bad break-up between two coaches can cause a major faction in your staff that can be impossible to recover from. Coaches choosing sides, members getting involved and counseling both parties can be emotionally draining and make classes and community events extremely awkward.
From an ethical perspective, it’s just not cool. Coaches and members have a teacher-student relationship. People look up to their coaches for their knowledge, ability and accomplishments. It’s unfair to use that admiration inappropriately. When coach-client relationships have ended in our box, more often than not it was the coach doing the ending. Which is why we put an end to it all at 1Force.
Your business could even be affected by a long-term healthy relationship between a coach and a member. Clients perceive that members who date coaches get special treatment. Some benefits will be more obvious than others. When the coach decides to move on, the member will follow. And even if it’s an amicable split, your team is down two athletes.
All of the above mentioned scenarios escalate out of control when the coach or member is married. Uninvolved members go on an all-out-judge-fest on the guilty parties, spreading the poisonous gossip as fast as their lips can move. When the associated spouse suspects or worse finds out about the relationship, somehow your specific box will get blamed.
People should feel comfortable in their box. It’s their second home. But it’s best to leave the romantic relationships in your first home. If you want to preserve your membership base, take a hard line on this day ONE. We had to sadly lose many members to coach-client relationships before we instituted a formal code of conduct signed by anyone who joins our staff in any capacity.
There are insurance policies to keep you safe from legal consequences that arise from love in the box. If you are interested, call Vaughn today and ask him about the EPIL policy. As usual, he always has our back.
It’s best to have your policy clearly stated in your employee handbook. And talk about it often. I caution you from experience, don’t wait until they are loving and lifting. Get the buy in from your staff before they cast their rod into the company lake. Like Mom said, there’s plenty of OTHER fish in the sea.