As a fitness professional, you know the best way to improve exercise form is to practice until it becomes habit. Good form becomes repeatable without much thought or effort. The same holds true for achieving excellent instruction technique. If your instructors pick up a few good habits, leading an awesome class, every class, will become second nature to them.
Encourage your instructors to embrace – or change – the following practices. You may even want to try some of these yourself.
AWESOME HABITS TO ENCOURAGE
Goal setting. Ask your instructors to set professional goals and dedicate time to achieve them. For example, perhaps someone on your team has a specific amount of money he or she would like to earn, or a number of classes they’d like to fill each week. Or, maybe the goal is related to helping clients achieve specific results. Encourage them to should spend 20-30 minutes per day working toward those goals. There are many apps available to help them stay on track, such as HabitList and Lifetick.
Screen every client. Sure, you may not be able to give every client a full assessment, but start each class by asking everyone if they have any injuries or ongoing issues that might require modifications.
Deal with distractions gracefully. Demonstrating patience is an invaluable habit to cultivate. A great example is how you deal with chitchatters. Too much talking can be a distraction to other clients and throw an instructor off his or her game. When there is too much conversation in class, the instructor’s approach has to be subtle and positive. They should never act with irritation or anger, because that signals a loss of control. Your clients are (most likely) not children and will resent you scolding anyone in the class. When you address the chatter, keep your sense of humor in check. The rest of the class will probably be on your side if you take action in a good-natured way.
How an instructor responds to a broken spin bike, air conditioner or speaker can potentially turn an inconvenience into a disaster in the client’s eyes. Dealing with distractions is inevitable, so instructors should make a list of all the things that can go wrong — and have gone wrong — and come up with best practices on how to deal with each. That way, they can be prepared to deal with bumps in the class before they actually happen.
Act like a human. Encouragement is so important to your clients, but that encouragement has to be genuine. Your instructors should pass around praise to clients for showing up, and then staying and working hard. If all an instructor does is shout commands punctuated by a “whoo!,” she’ll come across more like a fitness caricature than a knowledgeable professional. In other words, shout praise but whisper critique.
Let your instructors know it’s okay (and encouraged) to make jokes and laugh. They can talk about some of their interests and ask clients about theirs. Communication goes both ways, so instructors have to practice listening to clients as much as they practice speaking to them.
Take classes with other instructors. Your instructors have their necessary certifications and years of experience, but that doesn’t mean they should get complacent about professional improvement. Fitness professional can find new and better ways to deliver value to your clients by observing different classes. Encourage your team members to take each other’s classes on occasion, so they can see objectively what’s working and what’s not. They should also make it a habit to take classes outside of the studio’s fitness niche. For example, a crossfit instructor could learn a lot from taking a few ballet classes, and vice versa.
NOT-SO-AWESOME HABITS TO BREAK
Get to class late. Rushing in, fumbling around with the mic and trying to find the right playlist with a class full of busy people is not only a bad habit to get into, it’s bad manners. Make it studio policy that all your instructors arrive to the studio at least 20 minutes before each class to set up and greet all the clients as they enter.
Fail to follow a social media regiment. Clients today expect to interact with their instructors online, so remind yours to make themselves accessible on a regular basis. Posts should be consistent with fitness and reflect well on your studio. No auto responses, such as “Thanks for the follow,” are allowed. Instructors should also make it a habit to follow colleagues and post about other instructors doing good work.
Contributing to the studio team. You want a team that works with each other, not against. Awesome instructors make it a point to get to know their fellow instructors and what they teach, helping them out by subbing in and promoting their classes in connection with their own. Competitive, unsupportive or catty behaviors are definitely habits to break.
Not coaching. Too many instructors neglect coaching their clients and instead stay up in the front of the room giving directions. Awesome instructors make it a habit to walk around the room and provide some one-on-one instruction or modification.