Becoming a chess coach requires having a basic knowledge of chess, experience in tournaments, a solid reputation, relationships with other players/coaches, or even certification from a local federation.
The ways to build a chess coach’s reputation can be online or offline via different methods.
A chess coach is someone with slightly superior skill guiding a weaker player, basically a teacher. Such guidance is necessary to efficiently polish repertoires at a faster rate since their knowledge and experience are valuable.
Some of you may be wondering how you can become a chess coach, and that is a reasonable question to answer. I have talked to some coaches in the past and learned from things that they’ve shared.
This article will be talking about what I’ve learned from talking with multiple coaches:
If you are just starting out and looking for how you can be established coach someday then this post is for you. I will be sharing tips here that you can implement to be a reputable coach that people actually trust.
Here are the steps to become an established chess coach:
1.) Basic Chess Knowledge
A chess coach above all should have a sufficient rudimentary understanding of chess basics, since you can’t teach if you don’t even know that.
This involves rules such as castling, pawn promotion, en passant, or just how the pieces move, things that a beginner should learn.
This of course does not only imply some hard knowledge of the topics but also their ability to teach them.
These are probably the most common questions a coach will face when working with a novice.
2.) Decent chess background
No one can ever become a coach without becoming a player, there are just too many things that experience can teach not available to theory.
It builds credibility, authenticity, and reliability when working with the clients that expect results.
You don’t necessarily have to be a big star in the chess community, just an active player that people can respect.
Even having a rating of 1700 Elo points put you in a position better than most people you’ll teach, just make sure you have something to show.
3.) Exposure at tournaments
People usually hire trainers/coaches to prepare or assist in dealing with tournament practice, so it makes sense to have a background within it.
Again, you are not obliged to have a constant trip to some really privileged tournaments, just enough to express credibility.
Even 5-10 over the board games can be sufficient, although you can’t get to 1700 elo with that (you can show online Elo though).
The majority of chess players don’t even have one to two tournament experience contrary to belief, so having one can put you in authority.
4.) Meet respected chess players
After acquiring the portfolio, it’s time to build an association with some chess players.
This doesn’t have to be really famous people, just those that are active in their respective community.
They can give recommendations to you, mentions to friends, or even become your student, it is just beneficial to you at the beginning of the process.
Plus you’ve got to meet with awesome people that have the knowledge to share, which can give you interesting insights.
5.) Go to an unpopular school
We need to get our first students, which is hard without an established reputation at this point.
The thing that I’ve found which chess coach is that they’ve mostly started teaching at schools, but even those don’t entertain unknown people.
This is why I recommend going into less privileged schools that are looking for trainers, you can land easy ones pretty fast.
Most schools don’t even know how to find coaches, if you can reach out to them and give credentials, it’s game over.
6.) Introduce yourself locally
Another would be people that don’t necessarily play for schools but are interested to learn in general.
Make them aware of your presence, since this is local some would even have an idea of your identity.
They would be much more assured to work with you since they know transactions can be safe by being so close to where they live.
Also they would be more secured that you can follow-up with their concerns since transportation is not an issue.
7.) Work with Chess Clubs
Finding someone locally can be great, but it can also be hard and challenging.
Another way to approach this would be finding respective chess clubs where beginners are looking for someone to work with.
You are more likely to find a student this way, since everyone is interested in chess already.
They would also be likely to participate in future tournaments, which means a possibility to ask for your service.
8.) Announce virtual coaching services
Another idea would be establishing your own community online, basically a business.
You can easily create a website (just like this one) by watching free youtube tutorials, or just find some large platforms.
Be it Upwork, Fiverr, or anything close, someplace where people are looking for coaching solutions.
Coaching online is more popular than you think, and people are looking for someone friendly even without enormous credentials.
9.) Post your services (Chess.com, Lichess,etc.)
You can also use popular chess-niche websites like just chess.com and lichess, although it will be harder.
You would be competing with people that have official titles all looking for students.
I’m not saying that it cannot be done, it will just take time and significant effort to do so.
However when you do it would be gold, since people will hire you over and over again.
10.) Work for an online chess brand
There are multiple less known brands different from chess.com or lichess that are willing to give you some students.
These however are very difficult to find, as most caters to professional players than someone with slight experience.
However, that’s why I said “less known” since this may be some local listings that are not popular internationally.
Take advantage of that if you can spot one, it can give you a bunch of interested people that can also give recommendations.
11.) Build a reputation
This is an essential component of building some kind of presence and any community, which is a credible reputation.
This means that people are more likely to trust your services based from previous encounters.
Even from people that you haven’t heard before, they may have connected with some of your previous clients and learned about your offerings.
This can be built over time as you interact with more students that are satisfied with their time with you.
12.) Form connections with other coaches
Some coaches locally can form some kind of relationship to pass the students they could not handle on their own.
A couple even hire more than one trainer where there’s room for some of their “friends”.
Be that friend, it’s an opportunity to work with a larger group of people that are likely be wanting more coaches in the future.
It will also give you more access to other people that are already within someone’s (other coach) circle.
13.) Gain experience with other coaches
This is to piggy bank from the previous point, you don’t just gain students this way but also knowledge.
They can recommend you students if they have too many, and will give you insights to improve the quality of your coaching.
This can make your work more efficient and faster, leading to more clients wanting to hire you again.
But the core would just be the experience that they can share, since that will change the approach of your teaching.
14.) Form relationship with clients
This involves solidifying any potential partnership with existing clients rather than necessarily finding new ones.
This is an effective approach since it takes less time than seeking new people, plus they are more likely to actually work with you.
However the requirement would be having an already solid portfolio which you can contact with.
Building relationships with a limited amount of people is not a good idea, which I suggest you find new ones at that point.
15.) Ask for recommendations
Another important thing, every satisfied student is another opportunity to have more customers.
These people are already interested in chess, so they are likely to attract beginners in the game which can be potential clients.
Ask for the recommendations, tell them that you’re still offering this service in the future and are willing to continue.
You might be surprised to the extent that these referrals can go compared to the efforts you can exert yourself.
16.) Chess coach program (optional)
This is a new thing that has been proliferating lately which does not exist back then, a chess coach program.
It exists in places like the United States and other federations, which can help but is not necessary to become legitimate.
Passing the program will automatically put you in their little list that could bring people, as well as a little badge that presents credibility.
This is optional however since most established chess trainers have never undergone this process (plus it’s not free).
Chess coaches are vital individuals that are likely to determine a player’s improvement, becoming a good one takes time and skill.
It is hard but not impossible, with the right steps one can build their reputation outright.
It basically just translates to participating in the community, getting your name out there and having exposure.
Sleep well and play chess.