Yes. That has happened to me.
I was covering a spinning classes for someone who was away for a couple of weeks. The group happened to love their spin instructor. Well, anywho, they were complaining about how it wasn’t challenging enough.
Initially, when I heard it I felt pretty bad, however, I realized that they had become accustomed to their instructor.
How did I dissolve it?
I came around the side of the lockers where they were dressing and apologized directly to them that the class wasn’t sufficiently challenging for them. I then let them know if they wanted me to seek out someone else to teach the class for them I would be happy to do so.
I was so surprised with their response. They started to say, that it wasn’t me personally, it was that the class was not difficult enough. I continued to extend my offer and let them know that I was not personally offended. I just wanted their experience at “their gym” to be a positive one and I would do whatever I could to make that happen.
In the end, they said it was okay, they would do the class until their spin instructor came back from vacation. Some continued, others didn’t do classes at all.
I found the response to not come at all silly because even the easiest of spinning classes is better than no class at all.
I got a complaint about one of my Zumba classes from a gym member that had been taking my class for months. I had tried all new choreography -and she had yet to get down the previous. After class, I asked people what they thought. She told me that she didn’t like how I taught (yet continued to come), she didn’t like the dances, I should face away from the class, do this, do that, do whatever other instructors do. So my next class (seeing other members said maybe TOO much new chorey at once) I threw some older chorey in and I noticed the lady that had nothing nice to say to me last class … while EVERYONE else is faced toward me- she was facing the corner or the BACK of the room!!!!! She complained to the owner of the club that she didn’t like my class (and continued to come) because she didn’t pay enough attention to my numerous cues or really anything going on in class to get the moves down. I just had to let that one go. Nothing I said or did was to her approval. We can’t please everyone every time I guess so, I didn’t take it very personally. I accomidated her requests, thats all I could do to try. She still complained.
In general to answer this question, I make sure I am always approachable, ask if anyone has any questions before class, suggestions or feedback after class. This gives them an outlet to bring issues to me instead of making negative remarks elsewhere.
Over the years I have learned to not take this personally. Everyone is entitled to the expression of an opinion. If I heard the complaint in an environment that I could address it I would,mostly out of curiosity and information gathering purposes.
The “funniest” was when two women were talking to a third participant and they said “Sue’s really good and she has a really fit legs but her stomach is kind of big”…. Well, I was 7 months pregnant!
My husband attended a cycling class I subbed one time and heard some comments from the participants about me and how they didn’t think the class would be a good class (I don’t look like a “traditional” cycle instructor). He said at the end of the class the participants were talking about how much they liked my class and that they would welcome me back as a sub anytime. I let my work prove how good I am.
I also subbed for a cycle class for a friend one time – they were pretty hard core. I didn’t hear anything negative after the class however my friend hasn’t asked me to sub again. Each class is different, participants are different. You can’t please everyone all the time 😉
Great answers. I’ve been a coach for long time, and even if you’re winning you will have detractors. Don’t take it personally. It’s just human nature for spectators and participants to criticize the leader. Just do the best that you can, and recognize that if your students come back, that’s the best feedback that you can ever receive.