Popular and effective instructors are worth their weight in gold. The better your instructors are at their job, the more clients you’ll see walking into your studio.

By doing formal staff evaluations, you will not only ensure your studio is providing the best fitness experience for your clients, but you can also foster an environment that encourages professional growth and improvement.

Evaluations open the lines of communication between you and your instructors. Providing positive and constructive feedback to an instructor is critical to making them feel empowered and appreciated. Feedback also sets clear expectations for your staff and helps you to enforce standards.

This process also means you are setting time aside from your daily to-dos to work with your instructors on improving the classes.

FACE-TO-FACE
Consistency is critical to delivering effective evaluations. Creating a standard form offers an objective way to evaluate all of your instructors fairly, despite differences in personalities and styles. Everyone gets measured against the same criteria.

If you want to make your evaluations even more objective, rate the performance on a scale of 1 to 5 for each of the standards, then average the score. Leave space for open-ended comments and notes for each standard.

The evaluation form should include criteria for performance of an instructor before class, during class and after class.

BEFORE CLASS

  • Did the instructor arrive at least 15 minutes early to set up the room and turn on music?
  • Did the instructor check the registration to see how many people signed up for class and what regulars were expected to attend?
  • Did the instructor set up any necessary equipment?
  • Was the instructor welcoming and personable with clients?

DURING CLASS

  • Did the instructor clearly explain the class structure and then follow that structure?
  • Was the instructor’s attire clean and professional?
  • Did he or she treat all members with respect?
  • Did the instructor carry himself or herself with confidence and leadership?
  • Did he or she portray an attitude of service to his or her clients?
  • Did the instructor operate the equipment with care?
  • Did the instructor coach the clients with inspiration or did they coach by yelling?
  • Did the instructor give articulate and effective cues?
  • Does he or she apply scientific fitness principles in class in way that was understood by everyone?
  • Did the instructor use metaphors, analogies and creative language to evoke a mind-body connection?
  • Was the instructor able to deliver appropriate guidance to the varying ability levels of the clients?

AFTER CLASS

  • Did the instructor thank clients and make studio announcements?
  • Did he or she promote a studio event or next class?
  • Was the instructor available after class to answer client questions?
  • Did he or she leave the studio clean and set up for the next instructor?
  • In general, does the instructor practice what he or she teaches and train for health and fitness?
  • Does the instructor participate in continuing education and keep their certification current?
  • Does the instructor work as a team with other staffers?

PREP THE INSTRUCTOR
Detailed performance standards and an explanation of the feedback process should be made clear to instructors when they are hired. Set the evaluation date, and let the instructor know. At that time, remind your staffer of the criteria. Also, set a date and time to review the evaluation with the instructor.

DURING THE EVALUATION
Typically, you will attend an instructor’s class or training session. While you may want to participate in the class to put yourself in the position of a client, it is usually best to sit on the sidelines so you can take detailed notes in real-time. Ideally, you will sit down with the instructor within a short period of time—a day or two—so that your observations are still fresh in the minds of everyone involved.

DURING THE REVIEW
Provide the instructor with feedback that gives specifics on not only what needs work but also how they can get better. Make clear, succinct suggestions for improvement. Set measurable and attainable goals together with the instructor, and give him or her a timeline for achieving those goals.

FREQUENCY
Detailed formal evaluations should be done at least once per year, but could be more effective if they are done every six months. If you don’t have the time to conduct several formal evaluations through the year, you can still create an atmosphere of continuous improvement by conducting 10-minute spot evaluations. At impromptu times, pop into your instructor’s class, quickly make notes on three great things the instructor did or suggest three areas for improvement.

ASK STAFF TO EVALUATE YOU
Everyone can benefit from constructive feedback. Ask your staff to give you periodic evaluations. Give your staff topics to evaluate you on, such as:

  • How well do I organize the class schedule?
  • Do I make myself available to you for questions or concerns?
  • How is my approach to customer service?
  • Do I clearly clear communicate my expectations?

By asking instructors to evaluate your performance, you create a more level, fair and balanced culture in your studio.

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