One of the most valuable things I have learned through my 20 plus years as a teacher, Pilates instructor and coach is that who you are and the way you express yourself is equally, if not more important, than what you teach.
I’ve had the privilege of training hundreds of teachers while at Body Harmonics and as a teacher with the Board of Education. The number one fear that I have come across while working with new, and sometimes more experienced teachers, is the fear of ‘not being good enough’. Sometimes it shows up as a comparison…”I’m not as good as ________”.
The truth is, the way you make people feel, whether that is in a class or one on one, is what makes them continue to come back. Of course there are technical skills involved but if you have been trained and certified, you have these skills. They will continue to evolve as you do. You are also bringing many other skills to the table that you’ve garnered from previous experiences.
Is everyone going to love your class or want to work with you? Not likely, but that’s OK. The more you embrace your unique teaching style, the more you will attract the right class participants and clients.
It’s great to learn from, and model, skilled instructors but infuse that knowledge with your own way of teaching. Trying to copy or emulate someone else rarely works and if it does, it is short-lived.
No one can do exactly what you do or do it in the way that you are able to do it!
Here are a few tips to help you clarify and embrace what you bring to your teaching so that you can be confident in what you have to offer
1) ASK FOR FEEDBACK
I am a big fan of expanding our strengths rather than focussing on our areas for improvement. There are always ways we can grow but if you are naturally good at something, why not focus on and grow that as well?
When you ask for feedback, ask for the things that people enjoyed about their class or session with you. If you are getting feedback from a mentor, ask for specific examples of what they feel your strengths are. What do they really love about what you do? Allow them to expand on these things AND most importantly, allow yourself to hear and take in what they are saying!
If there is constructive feedback – great! Add that to the mix but don’t make it your primary focus.
2) CREATE YOUR OWN PERSONAL INVENTORY OF STRENGTHS
Do you have a great sense of humour? Who doesn’t love a good laugh when they are working their Glutes! Add that to your list.
Are you able to create a great flow in your class, detailed observation in your privates or a have a skill for working people hard without them even knowing it? On the list.
Add the feedback you’ve received from others to the list and know that you will continue to add on to this as you learn and grow.
3) BRING YOUR UNIQUE GIFTS AND SKILLS EVERY TIME YOU TEACH!
Own who you are and what you do.
Confidence is an inside job but requires outward action. Once you have gained some insight into what makes you unique as a person and as an instructor, show that to the world. Bring this unique skill set to every class you teach and every individual session you have.
You will begin to notice that not only will you attract participants that appreciate what you have to offer, but you will also really enjoy what you are doing. You are infusing a piece of yourself into everything that you do.
The world, your Pilates studio and your clients need a teacher like you!