As SCUBA instructors, our job functions often include teacher, marriage counselor (for the couples in the class) and therapist (for people taking the class because they once almost drowned). An often overlooked skill set is that of a career counselor. In order to build our programs or dive centers, we need staff, therefore we need to teach as if every student wants to become a SCUBA instructor.
Push Every Student Through the SCUBA System
I’m not advocating that we create barely passable instructor generation machines, but we need to start thinking that every student that signs up for our Open Water SCUBA classes actually wants to become a SCUBA Instructor.
I didn’t know it when I signed up for my Open Water SCUBA course, but on my first pool dive, I knew I wanted to become an instructor. Luckily, I was in an environment that made that dream a reality.
The Ski Instructor Who Hates Their Job
Imagine going to a ski resort for your first time. You’re excited, otherwise you wouldn’t spend the $100+ for the lift ticket and gear rental. You decide to take a lesson so you are less likely to kill yourself. The instructor acts bored, complains about their pay and doesn’t really want to be there.
You probably won’t enjoy yourself very much and aren’t very likely to learn the skills you need.
Now imagine someone who is excited. A little too excited. It’s a beautiful day, they’re going to show you the best parts of the mountain and they invite you back when done. They don’t talk about the money, they simply love what they’re doing.
It would be next to impossible to keep the idea out of your head, “Wow, being a ski instructor would be incredible! Ski every day, meet lots of people, travel to all the best resorts!”
Plant the Open Water SCUBA Instructor Seed Early by Simply Loving Your Job
If you are having a great time while teaching and have a staff that obviously loves what they’re doing, you will see increases in your continuing education ratios all the way to the top of the SCUBA hierarchy.
This Works for SCUBA Resorts Too
A few years ago, I traveled to Cozumel and went diving with SCUBA Tony. Although my wife and I have an unofficial rule of not revisiting the same destination twice, we often discuss returning to Cozumel to dive with Tony because he loves diving. Not only does he love diving, but when talking about the island, we could tell he loves Cozumel. He made the trip enjoyable, his personality showed a passion for his business and it pays off in a steady stream of referral business.
Whenever I visit Hawaii (I have friends who live there, so this doesn’t count in my repeat-SCUBA-trips rule), I try to dive with Keller Laros and Jack’s Diving Locker because they enjoy what they’re doing and share that enjoyment with me.
On the other hand, we traveled to Fiji last year and have less interest in returning because the staff didn’t have the same level of enthusiasm and passion.
Start the SCUBA Career Path Early
The PADI teaching system requires promoting continuing education while teaching. Although it may not be appropriate to promote the Instructor Development Course during an Open Water SCUBA Diver course, why not start mentioning it in the Advanced Open Water SCUBA Diver course?
How quickly do you start identifying potential instructor candidates?
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