I had a very disturbing phone call yesterday. It came from an Instructor who I would describe as an Indoor Cycling Zealot. The conversation left me feeling very sorry for whoever had to manage this person and the poor people who have to suffer through his classes.
Do you have any Instructors on your team that sound like this guy?
It became obvious that I was talking to a very passionate person just moments into the call. I asked; “what can I help you with?” (this call was preceded by an email asking questions about his ICI/PRO subscription) and he launched into a disconnected rant, rambling on about other instructors that he teaches with including contraindicated movements, broken seat posts, connective tissue damage and a bunch of related stuff I missed because he was talking so loudly that I needed to hold the phone away from my ear. After what seemed like a full ten minutes, he finally asked me*; “so what are you going to do about this?
“Do about what, exactly?” was my response.
“Stop all of these Group Fitness Instructors from teaching like they are… they’re hurting people!” You are an influential voice of Indoor Cycling – you need to put a stop to these contraindicated classes!”
30 years of sales experience has prepared me for situations like this: listen respectfully and then begin asking probing questions. I started with; “have you ever been to a SoulCycle class?”
“No… but I’ve seen a video that showed me enough to know that the riders will be injured”… and then he launched into another long rant about how he tells his participants how dangerous these other classes are and that they should only attend his class because he alone is concerned for their safety.
When he came up for air I explained that I had been to two SoulCycle classes and many others that were similar. I didn’t see anything alarming/dangerous or find reason to feel they need to be stopped – by me or anyone else.
“I’m researching an article I plan to write that will expose these Instructors for who they are and the dangerous movements they teach.”
I explained how his perception of these classes may not be accurate and I don’t believe telling or lecturing riders will be productive. Actually, IMO the effort will probably end up as counterproductive to what he intended.
“How could educating people ever be counterproductive? These people need to know the truth!
So I asked; are you a father… have you raised kids? He had told me early that he was over 50 years old.
He responded that no he hadn’t. But if he had kids, he would want to protect them from these types of classes.
The reason I asked about being a parent was this – parents quickly learn that telling some children; “don’t touch that… it’s hot!” will result in the child feeling compelled to reach up and touch it. They need to learn for themselves that the stove gets hot and they’ll burn their finger if they touch it.
Telling your class that some other Instructor’s, or studio’s, classes are dangerous could have the exact same effect – cause them to be curious about and then want to try those other classes. But unlike the hot stove, these people will take one of those “dangerous classes” filled with “contraindicated movements” and nothing bad will happen to them. There’s a good chance they’ll actually enjoy those classes due to the additional movement and fun they offer – and you may lose them forever as a customer.
I offered him my advice, that he just teach his own class and ignore everything else – which he didn’t like. “So I can quote you saying that you’re for classes with contraindicated movements?”
I replied that that wasn’t what I said – I said his perception of those classes may not be accurate and suggested that he take the time and go take one of those classes before writing any article and re-think the value of lecturing his classes.
“Perception is reality” was his smug response. And then in his best Donald Trump voice he said “I’ve got a class to teach… so you’re fired!” and he hung up on me.
If you’ve had anyone like this on your Instructor team – how did you deal with them?
I know it’s tough to find a replacement Instructor – that’s why we created indoorcyclinginstructorjobs.com – to make finding your next Rock Star Instructor easy.
*I didn’t record the actual conversation, so this might not be verbatim, but close enough to hopefully get my point across.