Do you lead or guide? By: Sandra Betz

Do you lead or guide? By: Sandra Betz

According to one definition the leader is one who makes it easy for their followers to achieve the required goal. The guide on the other hand not only shows the way, but also often provides the means of traversing it and reaching the goal.

At lunch the other day one of my fellow BarSculpt instructors made a comment that resonated with me and has been on my mind every since.  She said (and I paraphrase) “I keep seeing these instructors that are leading their classes, not guiding the class.”

I have been thinking about this ever since.  As a newbie instructor it is often all we can do to get through the class and remember the order of the exercises. The idea of guiding, that is modifying exercises to benefit the whole and correcting clients can seem overwhelming.  We are taught that as instructors we lead the class, don’t let the class lead us – and that means very simply – that just because you are getting moans of pain and glares of grief that you keep going, there are still three sets of thigh work and plank is still 60 seconds.

My own experience both as a new instructor and watching my amazing fellow newbie instructors is that there seems to be a natural evolution to the teaching process.

First the exercises become part of you and the order flows, next you begin to naturally see bodies and make hands on corrections; then you learn to look for cues in the warm-up and begin to tailor classes to these or give individual modifications when needed.  Finally you seek to learn more exercises and change up your class by incorporating exercises that continue to challenge and motivate.  Maybe this order isn’t exact for everyone but this in my experience.   Not all the pieces arrive perfectly in place they need to be adjusted and worked on all the time.  Guidance should come with experience and constant practice.

So back to the leading vs. guiding that has been bouncing around my brain.  I think that in the context of BarSculpt leading a class is that place where you are giving a class performance.  You may have all the right cues, and your own perfect form but the class is flat and taught from a performance perspective instead of a client perspective.  When I am guided in a class I am shown the way, supported, encouraged and pushed to reach my full potential.  The instructors are less concerned with their own performance and more with making sure that everyone in the class is working to their potential.  Key components are relevant cueing, encouragement to work harder, focus on form and ultimately pure focus on the client.

When I started teaching one of my most common feedback points was “be in the room.”  BE IN THE ROOM.  Not just physically but mentally.  Step outside of yourself for 55 minutes and be there for the class.  They didn’t come to watch you put on a show, they came to change their bodies, cleanse their minds and take care of themselves.  It isn’t about us as instructors it is about the clients in the class.   Don’t let leading becoming performing, let leading become guiding.  Once I started focusing on this I became more present and started to focus more on the bodies in front of me than on myself.  Nothing great happens without effort and this is slow and steady evolution.

Regardless of how long you have been teaching BarSculpt next time you teach class think about whether you are leading or guiding your class.

We ultimately learn the most from each other so please share your own experience as a new or veteran teacher in the comments section.  How do you guide your classes?

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