Although many teachers share a common goal of helping people move well throughout their lives, we all have different stories, experiences, education and resources that inform the way we approach this goal. The “Pilates Table” is (slowly) growing larger with new generations of teachers as well as online opportunities and there is in fact room – and clients – for all of us. But how do we know if there’s a market for our “style” of teaching Pilates? The first step? We turn to our teaching!
Whether you’re completing your practice teaching hours or are full-steam ahead in the studio, the best time to learn about your teaching is while you are teaching. Sure, there’s a little multitasking involved, but through using an exercise called “Third Party Perspective,” you’ll be surprised at how much you can actually glean from “watching yourself” while you teach. Here’s how it works:
Third Party Perspective Teaching
Begin your session as you would normally with a greeting, assessment and communication about your plan for that day. Choose a movement sequence that is already in your client’s movement vocabulary. You’ll want something that requires a little less hand-holding and a little more client independence.
As your client begins the session, visualize yourself standing across the room, about 10 feet away from where you actually are with your client. As you use your words, body language, and facial expressions (yes – even from the mask up), what do you “see?” Try to be non-judgmental in your self-assessment. Look for things like:
“I have a warm demeanor.”
“I am invested in my client’s success.”
“I’m prepared with a new cue, progression, or modification if needed.”
“My smile shows through my eyes.”
Take note of your observation and then let it go – I promise it will be there later. After your session, take a moment to write your observations, then answer the following questions:
What aspect of my teaching stands out the most?
Who (what client) could benefit from this aspect?
What would an invitation to have an experience with this aspect sound like?
For example: Let’s say you see that your warm demeanor has a strong presence throughout your observation as well as the session as a whole. From there, you might consider that someone starting a movement program for the very first time would benefit from working with this warm demeanor. An invitation might sound like: “Move your body with a teacher who will help you gain appreciation for it’s accomplishments – no matter how small!”
Now you’ve started to identify an asset that you share (your brand) with a person who needs it (your market!). We can forget that the aspects of our personal style or brand of teaching actually come from inside, not outside. No course or coach can acknowledge your strengths better than you. It takes courage to go there, but when you do, you’ll start to open the floodgates that will lead you to owning all of the gifts you bring to your teaching. Repeat this exercise to reveal more about the experience you provide while teaching. And be sure to check back for part two where we learn to create a pathway for our clients that helps to amplify our teaching gifts!
Coming up! In PART 2 Jenna walks you through a process to develop a client pathway that supports your skills and meets their needs.