Understanding the needs of your clients while they are under your care is one of the most important tools you can develop as a professional in the health and wellness field. To help your clientele feel safe, supported, and nourished, while feeling independent and capable, is essential in aiding your clients. I’ve practiced and developed the finesse in dealing with all sorts of people throughout my 17,000 hours of teaching Pilates. The nature of teaching Pilates requires razor sharp communication, the awareness to realize if your client understands, and the insight to know what the client needs at any given moment. Here I’ve listed a few concepts to help interpret how to impart the information you believe your client needs.
Hear Your Clients
The most important communication tool is to listen. As an active listener you can quickly gain the trust of your client. As an example, if I have a client practicing an exercise and they tell me they aren’t sure they feel the correct muscles engage, I ask them what they feel instead. Then I have them show me exactly how they do the exercise. I give corrections on how they might be able to activate the correct muscles and have them perform the exercise again trying to incorporate the new information. Then I’ll ask them if they feel it differently. Regardless of whether they feel the muscles, I have proven to them I am actively listening and they know that I am there, hearing, engaged, and working on their behalf.
Support Your Clients
To deepen connection with your clients it is necessary to confirm you are sensitive to their experience. Try to recognize what it might be like to be them. Understand they might not know what to expect from your session together. Be compassionate, kind, and gentle when your client might be recovering from an injury. Be aware that making changes can be difficult and scary, so respect that they have already made a huge step just by showing up. When you keep these thoughts and feelings fresh, it is much easier to be compassionate. They will feel this and do the best they can.
Encourage Your Clients
By now your client trusts you and it’s vital to give them the push that they came for. With more than 2,000 hours of Pilates education, I’ve cultivated the technique of layering skills, strength, flexibility, and coordination so I know when a client is physically capable of taking on certain tasks. Sometimes the client isn’t quite sure. That is when I know when to give a gentle push. Whatever your specialty, it is vital you know when to encourage your client to the next level so they can continue to progress.
Part of being the professional is to hold a strong belief in your practice, your own expertise, and the capabilities of your clients. When your client feels your conviction, they will make progress because you will reflect your belief onto them. When a client executes an exercise at a lower level of competence than normal, I can see when they don’t feel completely confident in what I am saying. If I truly believe in my expectations, intentions, and my client’s ability, they will more likely give it their all. Isn’t that all that we could hope for from anyone?
Give Space to Your Clients
To solidify the trust between you and your clients, as well as prove to them you believe in their capabilities, you must step back a little and allow them to be independent. Know when it is time to step back, to give room for your client to have their own experience. In Pilates, I layer the information necessary for the session and give them the space to do the work with and without hands on partnering, verbal and visual cues, and back and forth dialogue necessary to perform the skills at the highest level possible.
Knowing when to listen, relate, encourage, believe in, and step back will help you and your clients get the most out of your sessions together. You will help create a foundation you can both work from to deepen your trust and understanding to have a successful journey towards health.
Bridget Crowe is the owner of Body Essentials Pilates in Dillon. She has over 2,000 hours of training from the Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado and works extensively with her mentor Kim Haroche. Bridget has completed her Master training and is a host advisor for the Pilates Center. In 2014, Bridget was trained as a Ballet Barre instructor and in 2016 became certified to teach Aerial yoga. Pilates, Ballet Barre, and Aerial yoga have helped shape Bridget’s unique and comprehensive teaching style.
About Bridget Crowe:
Master Pilates Instructor, Certified Aerial Yoga Instructor, Certified Ballet Barre Instructor
We are proud to provide the most excellent instruction of Pilates for every body. Whether you’re an athlete dealing with an injury or just looking to be healthy, Body Essentials is perfect for you. In 2015 we brought Barre Body to Summit County, Ballet Barre classes to up the energy and intensity in your workout, and now we are excited to introduce Aerial Yoga! An amazingly gentle yet powerful way to stretch and strengthen your body while relaxing your mind and rejuvenating your spirit.