by Angela Reed Fox
If you don't have a training strategy for your instructors, stick it on your to-do list - you're missing a massive trick.
Opening the region's first boutique cycling studio, we were immediately faced with the issue: Where are we going to get our instructors from? And for the next year or so, we recruited any instructor we thought was suitable who had already done some form of indoor cycling training. We have between 12-15 instructors at any time, there's very low turnover, and the instructors pull together as an excellent team - it wasn't always like that, but here are the reasons why having a training strategy helped:
Developing and upholding your brand
This is huge. Just because someone looks OK on paper doesn't mean they're a team player. It doesn't mean they're going to care about your members as much as you do, and it doesn't mean they're going to take instructing for you seriously. You need to be able to trust your instructors to uphold your brand when you're not there. Because you can't always be there.
If you have a strategy for recognising which of your regular riders would make great instructors and empower them to go do the training, you're going to have instructors who are already signed up to uphold your brand. Why? Because they already think it's great - because they're paying you for it. Added to that, it's a huge boost for them when someone recognises the greatness within! If you're thinking "Ah, but I'll lose members if I turn them into instructors!" Well, yes, you would move that person from the member column to the instructor column - but instructors who understand and love what you're doing and want to be part of it are valuable to you - and worth more than you'll lose in membership fees.
In our public-facing studio, we do not recruit instructors from elsewhere - we always develop instructors from our member-base. It works. It cuts the risk of cliques, instructors undermining each other and bad habits brought in from elsewhere. Our instructors are good, we invest in them, and they help maintain the open, friendly and inclusive studio set-up. In return, we help to make them the best they can be.
There are certain things that we didn't want our instructors doing in class - things that are still taught in some training courses. We'd had occasions where the response was "Well they like it at xxxxx". It's important to have your studio policy updated with banned moves as some dangerous and/or ineffective moves are still doing the rounds, despite the increased risk of injury and litigation.
If you're developing your riders, you can set the training pathway. Obviously it's easy for us; our instructors-to-be go on our own course - because it's the only instructor course that reaches the quality standard we expect. If this is something you'd like to start - we're happy to work with you and provide discounts for the delegates you send to us.
If you proactively manage your recruitment and training strategy, then you'll be able to arrange easily and seamlessly the succession planning for when an instructor leaves. Having said that, when you're developing instructors from your own membership, retention is much better, so not only is it less hassle, it's something you'll rarely need to think about. And that's going to save you both time and money.
How do you ensure your instructors stay at the top of their game so that you can stay at the top of yours? Most gyms don't even consider this, so if you do, then you're a step ahead of your competition. If you've got a training strategy,
Save on training costs
Whether you pay for the training or your instructors do, there are savings that can be made when you're buying several courses at a time. ICI offers a scheme whereby we partner with you to support you and your instructors, and as you invest in your instructors, we pass on discounts. We might still be the only training company to offer this.
Want to bring together a cohesive team? Check out our preferred venues scheme. Click below: