As a coach at Reebok CrossFit ONE, the fitness center at Reebok’s headquarters in Boston, I spend my time coaching employees, planning events for the gym and advising our corporate wellness offerings – from worksite ergonomics to our wellness practitioner.

Last summer I had the opportunity to challenge myself by leading in a new and exciting way: I was asked to coach Team Reebok CrossFit ONE throughout the competition season for the Reebok CrossFit Games, ending with a final competition in August.

A coach from the back is watching his team doing muscle ups during the Reebok CrossFit Games. leadership, team, teamwork, motivation, success, GamePlan A
Get your team to be the best they can be.

What I learned is that coaching a competitive fitness team and coaching a team in the office isn’t all that different. The following principles are universal:

1. Challenge yourself to constantly grow for the benefit of others

Being a leader doesn’t make you the best or the most knowledgeable person; it means finding ways to bring out the best in people – including yourself. As a fitness coach, I’ve studied topics like anatomy and physiology in order to better support the team.

2. No job is too small, no rank is too high

Being a team player is critical to your team’s success. At our HQ gym for example, everyone folds towels – period. It’s not a glamorous or exciting task, but it carries significance: It demonstrates to our team that no one is more superior than another. We share responsibilities, as any coach should with his or her own team.


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3. Know your team dynamics

What people envision for themselves and what a leader envisions for them can be two different things. As a leader, your responsibility is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team members, determine how these dynamics can work together, and communicate what expectations you have for them based on these characteristics. In my case, this meant understanding how men and women train, recover and get stronger differently, then leveraging these differences in order to collectively improve as a team.

A coach is motivating a man, who is doing muscle ups in the gym. leadership, coaching, CrossFit, Reebok, motivation, team, teamwork, success, GamePlan A
Motivate your team. How can you make them perform at their best?

4. Push your team to get better – thoughtfully

My favorite part of coaching is working with individuals who didn’t look at themselves as athletes before and helping them find a new sense of self. In CrossFit training, as with anything else, not every team member will always feel 100%. Ultimately, this requires communicating feedback consciously in a way that both promotes progress and makes people feel good – a combination of pushing people outside their comfort zone while also giving positive reinforcement.

5. Become comfortable managing across levels

A group of three men and two women in CrossFit Gear are smiling into the camera. leadership, team, teamwork, sports, fitness, motivation, Reebok, GamePlan A
The rewards of good leadership speak for themselves.

Taking charge can be intimidating. As head coach, I was not only coaching seasoned athletes, but also my own boss. I had to find the confidence to assert myself and trust that I was in this leadership position for a reason – that I was bringing value to the team. While it was challenging at times, it made me reflect on my strengths, which I could then leverage to help the team reach their full potential.

What coachable situations have you encountered in your career, and how did you navigate them? Share your views in the comments below.


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by Marie Kirk 07.02.2019
I enjoyed to article
by Jed moore 08.02.2019
I love this. Proud to be your friend and to have the opportunity to be continually influenced by you.
by Peggy Wright 11.02.2019
Kevin is always willing to help and answer questions. I was having awful leg cramps at night, especially after working out. Although not a member of the gym, there was no hesitation in asking me questions to determine the potential problem then telling me what I might be doing wrong and offered suggestions to alleviate the cramps. Problem solved....thank you Kevin!!
by Matt Walters Peggy Wright 12.02.2019
Peggy, this sounds like a secret we should all know. What was the solution to the cramps?
by Peggy Wright Matt Walters 15.02.2019
Proper stretching, drink more water & to include a Nuun hydration tablet. It was great advice!
by Betty Wiseman 12.02.2019
Way to go Kevin!! Good job you do for all. Great article. Very very proud of you. Keep up the good work😁
by James Kennedy 13.02.2019
Hi Kevin,
Well done - you clearly recognise and articulate the universal building blocks of leadership in a very personal and convincing way. Proud to know you...James