I usually work with groups. I┬┤d would like to hear suggestions for the first private class to a new client
My experience is mostly with yoga, but there are some similarities to Pilates. I also typically work in a group setting, though I will work one on one when someone has a particular need or desire to do so.
Have you worked with them in a group setting? If so you will have some idea of their needs, baseline, goals, old injuries, and so on, and you should have the original paperwork to look at to get some idea of this. If not I would suggest getting them to do their paperwork in advance, so you can take some time to familiarize yourself with it. Sometimes I have someone with a sport connection I am less familiar with, or a medical condition I am less familiar with, and I will take a little time to do some extra research before meeting with them.
I also like to figure out with them in the beginning whether they want guided workouts on an ongoing basis, or, do they want a single session to make their group work better focused, or do they want a series of workouts to prepare for a particular event…. a race, or a wedding, or summer vacation, for example.
It is normal to be a little nervous anytime you try something new, but trying new things makes us better at what we do, and more flexible as we confront the exigencies of daily life. There are very distinct differences working with one or many, but as long as you love your work and you enjoy connecting with people, and really know your material you should do fine.
Why are you going to teach a private lesson differently than a class? The only difference would be the amount of attention the client is receiving. Private sessions in Pilates are more about teaching form and technique, as opposed to leading a group through a workout where you don’t really have time to focus on making everything perfect for every student. I recommend using a class outline as your framework and then focus on the client and teaching to form/movement. And of course, the client is there for a workout as well.
Have you met and assessed this client? And if so, do you have an idea of their imbalances, strengths and weaknesses? What about their goals for why they are working with you privately for this hour?
I’m in a similar situation that 80% of what I do is small-group. For the 20% of the time when I’m doing one-on-one with my small-group clients, I will start with a similar warm-up to my small-group class, during which time we’ll discuss their goals, their energy level today, their aches and pains, and any concerns.
I follow a format that’s loosely similar to my small group class, but with each exercise I explain why that exercise meets that client’s larger goals. Also, I will tailor that hours exercises to that client’s goals. For example, a person with medial knee cave-in might get extra work for their external rotators, and focussed attention on whether they’re firing properly.
In order to justify the expense (it’s about five times as much to train with me one on one than in small-group) of a private session, I want my clients to feel that I worked them out well, that I catered to their specific needs, and that I taught them something new about themselves or reinforced something they were learning.
I teach mainly yoga private sessions (with a bit of pilates) and agree with Martin “the only difference would be the amount of attention the client is receiving”, with the exception that I go to the extra effort of giving them a personalised folder that contains a print-out of the lesson plan and a few handouts.
I usually take the Client through a questionnaire on the phone before the session (questionnaire template available within The Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit at http://georgewatts.org/yoga-lesson-plans/).
If I discover he/she has lower back pain caused by sciatica, I’ll create a bespoke yoga lesson plan (using The 15 Minute Yoga Lesson Planner available at http://georgewatts.org/yoga-lesson-plans/) that helps ease sciatic pain.
I will then either pick 2 or 3 of the 200+ yoga class handouts available within the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit http://georgewatts.org/yoga-lesson-plans/). For example there is one called “Yoga For Sciatica”. I then print them out and include them in their folder.
Ah yes, almost forgot the really important part. I insert a cover into the front pocket of the folder that has my Client’s name in big bold letters, an eye-catching yoga image, my contact details and the day/time of all my classes.
The folder then instantly morphs into a 24/7 sales tool for me because the Client usually ends up showing friends his/her amazing folder. Some of those friends will say, “Wow! That’s impressive”, see the available days/times for my classes and try one out.
One of the bonuses within The Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit (http://georgewatts.org/yoga-lesson-plans/) has the “folder cover template” I mentioned above. I promise you this folder will become your no.1 marketing tool.
A years ago I also started giving a personalised folder to all my yoga class students. They love them. I mean who doesn’t like receiving a freebie?…especially one that has their own name on it. Everyone loves seeing their own name in print.
Giving away a ┬ú3 folder to students has dramatically increased the LTV (Lifetime Value) of a student. I would like to think my students keep coming back each week because my teaching has become better, but deep down I know it’s mainly due to a ┬ú3 folder!
Hope that helps a bit 🙂
BWY Yoga Teacher
Free yoga lesson planning tips & tools | http://GeorgeWatts.org
Great tips!! Adding/emphasizing one– Remembering that you are ‘the expert’.
Not in an egotistical way, but in a ‘people listen to you when you truly act like you know what you are talking about’ way!
Would you sooner listen to a confident, warm teacher, or one who quietly ‘suggests’ an exercise rather than instructs it, perhaps saying something like “You’ve probably done this before, but…” or “Sorry if you know this already” etc. If someone speaks with a mix of authority and kindness, I listen!
Best of luck to you!!