I’m a big proponent of mentoring. The way you become a good instructor is by teaching, and new instructors benefit by having a supportive place to teach small sections of classes at a time. While I can’t give you proprietary information from the program I designed, here are some general thoughts.
1) Pick your mentors carefully and make sure they want to do it. The best instructor does not necessarily make the best mentor. It’s more about the willingness to share knowledge and empathize with the new instructor. Some of our highest-ranked mentors had less than a year of teaching experience.
2) Consider that not all of your staff will be excited about mentoring. Some will feel like they’re training their direct competition. Others will see it as an opportunity for individual growth (you really know something when you can teach it!) and be honored that you could see and appreciate their skill level.
3) If you are going to ask mentors to spend time outside of their work hours, you will likely need to pay them or compensate them in some way.
4) Another thing to consider is whether you want to develop an in-house program for all new employees and make everyone take it unless they have a certain amount of experience. Then, you could ensure that everyone has the same base information about exercise physiology and company philosophy. I’ve attended company-required programs of 17 and 56 hours. But then, you have to design it and teach it…
5) What do you want most for your new instructors to know? Don’t fire anyone, but what is missing in your new instructors that you think they should be taught. That might be a good place to start. It also might give you some clues on how to interview and hire in the future.