Teaching Pilates is more than a job. It’s not an easy task: it’s a mix of responsibility and art that requires creativity, sensitivity and intelligence.
To teach private sessions, teachers need a lot more than only knowledge and methodology.
When we talk about one-on-one sessions we are talking about the instructor/client relationship and also the instructor’s ability to be the leader and not (just) a friend.
So, what makes for a successful instructor/client relationship?
Appreciation and realistic goals
Every client wants a return on their investment of time and money. It’s very important that the clients feel they are benefiting from each and every session and that they are one step closer to their goals after every session.
Be realistic when explaining to your client what she or he should expect in terms of results and timeframes. Don’t over promise!
It’s important to explain that when we talk about results, we are referring to every change in body/health: less strain, sleeping better, eating healthier, feeling more energized, less pain, etc.
Do not forget to tell them how much you appreciate their commitment to the Pilates sessions and that you will do your best to meet their expectations.
Positive attitude: Every client likes positive feedback. It’s part of an instructor’s job to make the client’s experience fun and inspiring.
By focusing on the good things, instructors will help clients develop their self esteem.
Creativity and fun: Instructors have to be committed to keeping the programming fresh. Do not teach the same exercises over and over! People like and need to be challenged! Variety is good for the body and for the brain.
The best way for instructors to add more fun and creativity to their classes is to take classes at different levels, to be up-to-date with their continuing education, and to spend time thinking of new themes and ways to address them.
Professionalism: It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working with a specific client: always show that you are respectful, dependable, and competent.
Communication: Instructors should talk to their clients about a lot more than only “flexibility, strength and posture”. They need to talk about their client’s emotions, personality, or insecurities with their health or appearance.
To deal with someone else’s body, it’s necessary to be aware of dealing with “secrets” and all kinds of reactions that are beyond muscles and bones.
I have noticed over the years that what really makes an instructor stand out is trust and compassion. Every client has to feel that the instructor is guiding them to achieve their goals in an effective and mindful way. They expect the instructor to design a program that will meet their physical and emotional needs, which will make a difference in their lives, and you can create a strong, positive and mutually beneficial relationship with your clients.