Just a few weeks ago I took over teaching a class at a new gym. When I turned up that Tuesday lunchtime, it dawned on me that I was familiar with this class. I’d been before and taken it myself. Why? Because the woman who taught this class was a Master Trainer. She was someone that I looked up to, who I sought knowledge from. Someone who had obviously built up a following in her classes. Someone who left big shoes to fill.
I personally attend classes based solely on whether I like the instructor or not, so no doubt clients make the same judgements when I am teaching. It makes me a little nervous and brings to mind a couple of issues that have been raised in the past…
Be More Like…
Not so long ago, I worked in a private boutique establishment. When I first started teaching there my employer thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. As time went on though, my feedback would sound like this… “go to X’s class and see how they structure a session” …or “you should be a bit more like Z”. I did go to my colleagues classes and all it did was make me more like myself. I was never born to be a carbon copy of another instructor. I learnt that I had to be confident in my skills and my personality. I just had to be me.
Imposter Syndrome? Heard of it? As defined by Wikepedia “Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalise their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.”
The first time I heard these two words together I did think the speaker was talking directly to me. On occasions I’ve wondered if I really know what I’m talking about when it comes to fitness. I was recently offered the opportunity to be the “Fitness Expert” for an upcoming event. Initially I thought, “really?! …me?!…what do I know?!”. Then I gave myself a good talking to and realised that maybe my certifications and experience do count for something. One lesson I learnt when teaching others to become qualified themselves as Fitness Instructors was that no-one knows everything. There is a wealth of information out there though if you want to find it.
Angel or Devil
Back to my new class. So do I go in all tough?! Or gentle?! What do they like?! Do I ask for feedback yet? Maybe sow the seed that they can share their goals with me so I can tailor sessions to their needs? Luckily the class I teach is pretty versatile so I’m going in each week with something a little different to see how they respond. But at the end of the day, I think it comes back to just being me. That’s always the best we can do. It takes time to build rapport and maybe one day soon…they’ll just remember class with me teaching.