Any swim school operator knows they can’t run a business without a team of dedicated, professional instructors to help keep classes running smoothly and to keep swimmers and their families wanting to return week after week, month after month, year after year for generations to come.
I’m lucky to be part of a family owned and operated swim school and can proudly say there are some instructors on our teaching staff who taught me as a child and they are still around to this day (some 30 plus years later). That’s incredible, and I feel lucky to have such a loyal and experienced team by my side. The Laurie Lawrence Swim School wouldn’t be in its 50th year of operation without the many dedicated instructors who have donned their togs (bathers, suits, swimmers) year-round, rain hail or shine to help us provide swimming and water safety lessons to generations of families in our local community.
We are lucky in the swimming industry because most instructors are passionate about what they do. They are proud to be providing a lifelong skill to the swimmers who attend their classes – it’s rewarding, they believe in teaching young children about water safety, and quite simply they love to teach.
While most instructors LOVE their jobs, there are some who may need a little more guidance to get to that point and that is where management comes in. It’s unlikely instructors will last long in the water if they feel undervalued or unsupported. As a swim school operator, you have the chance to change that. The chance to shape the future of your teaching team and help guide them to become the best they can be. Hopefully, along the way, a little bit of the love you feel for teaching swimming will rub off on them and they will want to remain part of your swim school for years to come.
Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your swimming instructors:
- Lead by example
Treat your staff as though they are part of a team. The old acronym couldn’t be truer -Together Everyone Achieves More! Yes, you may have different roles within the organisation but make sure you are working alongside them to reach company goals. Don’t expect instructors to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself or haven’t done in the past. Be present at the pool when you can and be involved in the program you provide.
- Provide training, a swim instructor certification and support
It is important to provide instructors with appropriate training for their job description, potentially even a swim instructor certification. If staff members continually put in a position where they are unsure of what is expected of them or given tasks they have not been trained to do, it will make their job stressful and unhappy. We provide feedback for our instructors each swimming block or term throughout the year. This gives us an opportunity to identify areas where instructors need work and we can tailor our in-house professional development training sessions to suit the needs of the team. It can also identify where instructors are excelling and you can give them recognition for a job well done.
- Value their work
Everyone loves to feel appreciated. Make sure your team knows how much you value the work that they do. This can be done through bonuses, movie vouchers or other thoughtful gifts that can be presented at staff training, meetings or personally as you see fit. While a gift can be nice, never underestimate the power of words. If you notice someone has done a great job, immediately. Say, “thank you for your efforts you are doing an amazing job!”
At Laurie Lawrence Swim School, we truly appreciate all our instructors because without them we wouldn’t be able to provide as many lessons to children and connect with as many families in our local community as we currently do. We are proud of their passion, commitment and efforts in the water and on the pool deck to help us share a love of swimming and water safety. We really have an amazing team behind us and can’t say thank you enough. So, on that note… In case they don’t read this, there’s a few thank you emails that need to be sent!
How do you get the most out of your swim instructor team? Please share in the comments below.