I got this email last week - but I can't divulge who it's from for reasons you'll understand.
Here's one for you, John:
We've got a new instructor here who has been teaching for decades elsewhere, but is now only at our club. I get complaint after complaint about her from participants the days I teach. I have encouraged members to share their feedback with management, submit comment cards, etc.
However, I wonder, is it ok for me to also share the feedback I've been hearing with management? It's a situation where I don't know if I should wait and let numbers speak for themselves or say something.
Sent from my iPhone
Dear Sent from my iPhone,
I'm big on teammates respecting and supporting each other. So my short answer would be along the lines of the Golden Rule:
Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you
> leaving you with two possible choices:
- Say nothing to management
- Speak to the Instructor privately after taking her class and express your observations
I happen to know Sent from my iPhone personally. She teaches at a very upscale club, whose members are professionals. I'm sure they have high expectations for Instructors = their concerns/complaints are probably valid*.
*I say probably valid, but you can never be sure. I'll never forget years ago I had female members tell me about a "horrible" new instructor. So I went and took her 9:30am class > which was filled with housewives. It took me exactly 3 minutes to figure out what was driving all the complaints. The new Instructor was; young, thin, attractive and had a very "perky" personality. There wasn't anything wrong with her class, except that she had the misfortune of replacing a very good looking male Instructor 🙁
IMO Saying nothing is always best
Staying out/away from situations like this is the best tactic you can take as a professional. It will also demonstrate your character as a solid human being. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who live for the drama and attempt to drag you into what would amount to throwing your teammate under the bus.
I don't feel what another Instructor does, or doesn't, do is any of my business. I hear stuff about other Instructors and classes all of the time. I try to keep my responses limited to, "I'm glad that you enjoy my class".
Flip this around. How would you feel if another Instructor was "reporting" on you, based on comments from others?
Hearsay is inadmissible in courts for a reason
Hearsay, which literally means; "I heard him say..." is a form of gossip. Gossip that is often destructive to others and deadly to a small team of Instructors, or co-workers of any type.
If I was an owner or manager and another Instructor came to me with "concerns" they've heard from members, I wouldn't listen to them and my opinion of this person as a fitness professional would go down. Then I'd probably begin to wonder what he/she is saying about me, when I'm not around 🙁
We all need to be able to trust and depend on each other. Amy and I travel frequently = we needs subs. We are totally dependent on the comradery of our team to cover classes. If I heard that another Instructor was trash-talking me, or another on our team, I sure won't go out of my way to help them.
Why are you telling me this?
A good question to ask yourself, am I doing something to cause these comments?
I'm always curious when I hear that person "A" felt it necessary to report to person "B", about person "C". I don't feel that's normal. Something is causing person "A" (your reporting member) to come to you about one of your co-instructors. Any idea what it could be?
For example > are you telling riders during class, "I'll never tell you to do _______________ in class because its; dumb/unsafe/contraindicated/will cause your hair to fall out/etc...?
If you are, what's the purpose of saying it?
If you feel you need to get involved... get involved
There's nothing wrong with acting on the concerns you're hearing, to decide if they're legitimate. But you need to experience them first hand... as in go and take the class yourself.
After hearing for years about the untrained Instructors and dangerous classes being taught at SoulCycle, from people who have never set foot in a SoulCycle studio, I spent the money, took two classes, and reported on what I experienced in this series of articles. NOTE: There's a reason that studio fills nearly all of their 60 weekly classes (with 60 bikes) in a city that's 80 and sunny nearly every single day > Santa Monica, CA.
Stay incognito and keep an open mind
If you came to take my class, (and I don't know you) I would prefer that you acted like any other member. Please don't tell me, "Hi. I'm one of the Instructors here at XYZ Fitness!" Most of us will feel/act different when we know one of our peers is watching us.
Jump on a bike in the middle of the studio and do your best to be one with the class. If everyone is doing rhythm presses, except you, you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Worse if you just sit there motionless, with a defiant look on your face.
Take a few mental notes... some positive and some you felt were negative.
Then before you approach the Instructor, you need to do some honest soul searching.
Is it really my place to critique this Instructor?
What was really so bad about the class?
Did the participants enjoy the class?
What positive result will come from expressing my unsolicited opinions?
If you can get beyond all of that and still feel you need to pursue this with the Instructor, I can't help you.
My instinct is to stick with and support my teammates.
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