Every Training Speaks… What Will Yours Say?

I’m headed to my son’s hockey game…  And, while I love hockey, and of course my son, does it need to be tonight? It’s a Wednesday.  It’s 8PM.  I’m tired.  And, I have other things I need to do. Many other things.

I walk in to the rink expecting the scent of adolescent boys to wash over me, but am pleasantly surprised by the lobby which tonight has tea and coffee and the aroma to accompany. I move into my cold bench seat with thoughts of what I needed to do ASAP upon leaving.  A few other moms join me, and instantly I’m engaged in a conversation. Wait… is this cool rock music I hear? Wait, did that announcer just call my son’s name? It’s pretty special watching the team skate out and proudly hold hands to heart while the national anthem is played. Then action, and what a game! So much fun.  Quickly we are caught up in the cheering for our kids and one another’s.  For a brief window in our day we’re taking it all in, fully engaged and fully present.

Yes, it took some small edits to get me there, but that is exactly my point in sharing this recent experience. Everybody wants to; be at ease among friends, continue to learn, hit the gym, visit with family.  Endless opportunities at every turn, but then come the “not tonight” excuses.  We all need a little coaxing and that reminder to open our minds and think bigger.

In designing a teacher training program, it’s crucial that the curriculum challenges and inspires each individual to present themselves with the excitement they have on day one.  It’s up to us (those offering the program) to build a program that preserves participant curiosity and sustains engagement throughout its duration.  The current pace of life and all those competing demands makes that task all the more challenging today.  Building a teacher training program in 2017 requires a recognition of these shifting sands.  Here’s where getting creative can prove instrumental.  Weaving in surprises and a heightened attention to detail can serve as anchors to the moment at hand – reminders, hints, to fully arrive where our feet stand. Signature details embedded into a teacher training program will tell the story of the compassion, love, and respect you put into your program.

Every Training Speaks… What Will Yours Say ? 

1. Define your vision.

What is your main purpose for creating this teacher training? If your answer is cash, stop reading. Do what you love, and the compensation will follow. What is your belief? Why is yoga important to you? Write an objective, or a mission statement from the get go.

2. Develop a business plan.

Develop a tag line and three main points that communicate to a customer why they should enroll your training. Draft a company description as well as an organization and management plan – also prepare an overview for tax payments and insurance and liability qualifications.

Research!  Before launching, be sure you conduct some market research.  This includes identifying comps.  How many programs are running in your zip code, and when? You’ll need a marketing plan which includes the identification of “promoters”, or influencers who will help you sell out and whom you can in turn support. Define a budget which considers all of your needs such as; teaching materials and props, incentives, books and other educational materials, welcome gifts. Determine if a retail opportunity can be included in your plan.

3. Appeal to all types of learners.

People receive information in four different ways.  A good class, meeting or program will include information that will satisfy everyone.

There are some who like excitement.  Be sure your training answers their question of “what if?” What if we walked in and there were fun gifts, decorations, or surprises?  What if we tried it another way? Consider varying locations for classes, or maybe the settings for lunch or breaks.  Perhaps include a field trip to engage this type of learner.

Our next learner, needs to know “why?” For this participant we must emotionally tie the material to the learner, using personal stories and performing team building exercises. Why do I need to know this?

The next group will ask “how?” Be sure that some of the program’s materials are hands on.  Let this learner employ their senses and explore the materials directly to consider how they will use this information when they one day teach.

Lastly, there’s the group that wants to know “what?” For them, provide plenty of rich factual written information.  Who said it and when? Chart the course, provide detailed agendas and connect the material to something larger than your studio (i.e., the yoga alliance, or a similar association which accredits). What is the information?

4. Be unique.

Why do people come to your studio? In a sea of sameness it’s tough to stand out.  Pay close attention to the attributes that make you, your teaching style or your studio unique.  Let those factors to imprint your teacher training program.


5. Create community.

That same fire you have to build to attract followers or Facebook friends must be lit in building your teacher training team. Your yoga and business friends and alliances may be a great resource for helping to deliver your programming which focuses on the business of yoga.  A local physician might serve as your expert on the anatomy component of your program. Look closely also at your studio staff as well.  Have you considered their strengths and areas of expertise.  Are you including them, those very people you have selected to work at your studio, as potential educators?

6. Treat your teacher training program as an event.

Pay attention to every detail.  Again, everything speaks. If someone were coming to your home, would it be cluttered? Would you take their coat and offer them a beverage? If it was an event, would there be fruit and healthy snacks available? Look at your studio, and be sure it is clean and that the plants are well cared for.  If you were waiting for a doctor’s appointment and there was a dead fish floating in the tank, what would you think of that doctor? Small details, big impact.

7. Provide a strong hello and a strong good bye.

Every great event or experience opens and closes with a bang.  How will you greet, bond and welcome your new tribe?  And upon graduation, how will you celebrate as a team and send participants off?

8. Practice what you preach.

Do you scream passionate about what you do? Do your social media posts represent that? Are you doing and reading things that keep you inspired and fresh? Be ethical, practice patience, display love. Never talk down about anyone or any other studio.

9. Include everything.

A great teacher training is balanced with equal weight given to each topic – even those that you don’t especially love.

10. Share what you have learned.

When you get where to you are going, stop and hold the door for the next person ready to walk in the footsteps you have traveled.

April lyn Graffeo’s background includes owning a Greater Boston-based business of 19 years and aiding in the career development of many special individuals in that capacity. April lyn currently works as an educator for L.A. based, Mitch Stone Essentials and runs a weekly stylist exchange program with one of her proteges. In addition to services provided behind the chair she sends a talented trained team out mobily under the name reFRESH.

April lyn also consults in the business development at PLAY Yoga in Peabody, MA and teaches a monthly Acro Yoga class.