Friday, November 11, 2011

How to Be a Better Instructor

It takes a special type of person to be an amazing instructor.  It also takes years of practice.  You have to be able to connect with your clients, be well organized and knowledgeable all at the same time.  This can be hard to juggle since most training programs only teach you the exercises and not necessarily how to teach or communicate.  Here are my 5 key tips to being the best instructor you can be:

  1. Listen to your client.  There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth.  Make sure you take the time to hear and confirm what your clients are telling you.  Pay attention to dialogue about their family life, kids, pets, holiday events, birthdays, and vacations.  The more you are able to listen like a friend, the more the client will trust and learn from you.  The relationship is the most important part of being a trainer.  Once you care about them as a person they will feel less stressed, make some dietary changes, get more active in between sessions and stay in touch.  Also take the time to learn your clients "why story".  They may come to you because they have back pain, but their real reason to get in shape may be a dream to run a marathon.   
  2. Provide healthy motivation.  Teach positive self talk to promote better self esteem.  Most females want to "loose 10lbs+".  This may or may not be possible for them.  Your job is to be encouraging and teach them how to love their strong arms or compliment them how much their posture has improved.  Over time that 10lbs may be less of a worry.  Use positive words throughout your workouts such as "excellent job on that squat", "perfect form holding your plank" or "great job making it through the workout".  Avoid phrases with words such as "can't" or "don't".  The more positive the verbiage the more positive the results.  Other forms of motivation can include referral discounts, sending out a fitness newsletter, writing a personal email, rewards when goals are reached or learning new exercises (progressions). 
  3. Make sure you always do continuing education.  Once you stop learning you stop growing.  This is an ongoing process.  You are in a field that is constantly changing and evolving.  The more you know the better off you are.  Make sure you are watching the news, reading articles/books, taking workshops, earning new certifications when appropriate, listening to cues and staying open to new ideas.  Other things such as a business class or marketing lecture also provide insights on how to attract clients.  Keep your certifications up to date along with renewing your CPR/AED training.
  4. Realize that life happens.  This is easier said than done.  Clients will come and go, people get sick and kids have summer break.  Be flexible and go with the flow.  Your clients will get stuck in traffic, injured or move away.  Take one day and one client at a time and you will be okay.  Be understanding if someone has to cancel or move to a later time in the day.  Learn compassion.
  5. Love your career.  If you wake up each day and go to work for the paycheck you are in the wrong field.  We don't get sick days or paid vacation time.  We are trainers who wake up each day because we love our clients and want the world to be healthy.  Money will come once you are fully invested in your clients as people.  Also make sure you are practicing what you preach.  Try to eat well, get in your own workouts and don't go to the club till 2am on a Friday if you have to teach at 6am the next day.  Take care of yourself and be a role model for those you inspire!

No comments:

Post a Comment