Episode 9: Finding Confidence As A Newly Certified Instructor with Melissa Coley

Melissa Coley

When you first become a newly certified instructor, the excitement can wear off fast when the daunting reality of actually teaching in front of others presents itself! How do I tap into confidence when I don’t have any yet?

Melissa Coley

Fitness Professional

When you first become a newly certified instructor, the excitement can wear off fast when the daunting reality of actually teaching in front of others presents itself! How do I tap into confidence when I don’t have any yet? How do avoid internalizing apparent judgments from my students because I’m new? Is it ok to use notes? When can I be spontaneous? If you have these questions- listen to this unique episode. One of FCM’s very own listeners Melissa Coley asks me all of these questions in a “coaching call” and I give her advice on how to move past fear and anxiety and how to begin gaining confidence in class.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  1. “Now what” after getting your certification
  2. Find confidence when you don’t feel any
  3. Make wise financial decisions about pursuing further training

Here’s the Complete List of Tips:

(7:30) How do you approach teaching with confidence as a new instructor?

Develop a persona that separates who you are as a person and a new instructor. Make the class focus on something larger than you, to distract you from the thoughts of, “Is this good enough?” If you are too attached to focusing on their experience, you will not be able to focus on the class intention that would provide the experience. If you are focused on serving that focus, it will relax your thoughts and provides more natural confidence.

Think about the performance aspect of teaching. It isn’t much different than participating in a show – no matter what happens, you have to put out the best performance possible. It is important to remember, however, that you are not this performance. You are not this class. Creating a separation is important because we are so invested in the class that it can sometimes block our main focus of delivering the class intention.

(20:00) Where do we start as new instructors – honest, vulnerable and authentic working our way towards confidence, or with a strong persona and overtime allowing more of ourselves to come into the class?

I think it’s important to note that developing a persona doesn’t mean that you’re not vulnerable or not real in the room, or you’re just a robot or just going through a performance. It’s a specific delivery and it is something that comes with time. It’s something that you feel more comfortable with as you read the room and read the people in there. You can begin to tell what they’re going to be comfortable with and what they’re not. Until then, trust yourself.

(35:00) How do you make wise financial decisions about future trainings?

I am a firm believer in experience being more valuable than training. Before you take the physical, mental, and financial step to decide to move towards something more specific, I suggest having experience in practicing it first. This is where you really learn what working in that realm looks and feels like.

(39:40) What is your opinion on incorporating music into yoga classes?

This depends on your definition of “stillness” and “silence.” In meditation, I encourage participants to create space to be aware of their thoughts. This doesn’t necessarily mean “silence” them. While someone is meditating, there may be a lot of noise in their head, but it is okay because they are aware of it. I find that music is helpful because it gives the participants something to fixate on. Their internal thoughts alone may feel a lot louder and cluttered without this. Music can also cause a distraction effect, which distracts them from negative thoughts and allows them to work further than they could have otherwise.

(44:30) What is your opinion on new instructors using notes?

Until you have built up an internal script that you can run without even having eyes on your class, notes can be a helpful assistant. If you’re relying too much on these notes, then of course this may be a problem.

(46:40) How often do you demonstrate in your class?

What I’ve learned from client response is that if you demonstrate the whole time, your focus is not on them – it is on yourself. They also are not able to pay attention to themselves because they are watching you. For this reason, I try to demonstrate as little as possible. This will be different for every group that you teach, based on their experience and the ways that they learn (visibly, audibly, etc).

(53:40) Any last advice that you wish you had when you were first getting started in the fitness industry?

There is never a moment that you arrive – meaning, there is never a moment that you feel that you have all the experiences and resources that you will ever need. You are always learning and growing. You have to enjoy the journey!

Other References in This Episode:

The effect of music distraction on pain, anxiety and behavior in pediatric dental patients.

Effect of Music on Anaerobic Exercise Performance

Music Reduces Perceived Physical Exertion While Exercising: Is Your Playlist Impacting Your Workout?

Let’s Get Physical: The Psychology of Effective Workout Music

Simon Sinek on Training Your Mind to Perform Under Pressure

Show Note's Index