Got Style? How To Cultivate Your Fitness Instructor Persona

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Way back in 2008 when I was running my first dance business I got a customer complaint.

You know what it said?

“I’d like my money back because although your instructor is absolutely lovely and a great dancer, it’s more like being taught by your best friend rather than a professional dance instructor.”

Oops. Epic fails by us to identify the gaps in our teachers' skills and help them to truly step into a leadership role.  

Since then creating great leaders of dance classes, barre classes and group fitness classes has been at the forefront of our training programs because of this one client complaint that I will never forget (I’m so grateful they actually shared their feedback as in most cases, a client will simply walk away than tell you what’s wrong.)



When you teach dance fitness or barre classes you better be ready to become the authority in the room so it’s up to you to find a way to confidently connect with your class, to lead, guide and inspire.

Every single teacher you’ve taken class from probably has a unique style. We all have our favourite teachers and we also have people that aren’t a good fit for us.  It doesn’t make them bad instructors, it simply means that we don’t connect with their leadership style or persona.

(INSIDER TIP: Not everyone is going to like you. You’ll want them to, but you can’t be everything to everyone, so it’s up to you to find your leadership style and be confident enough to embrace it.)


Want to know another secret?

I am not the same person teaching class that I am in everyday life. I have ‘stage’ persona that comes out when it’s workout time and I feel like every hour spent in the studio with clients is time to perform.

This helps because firstly you can fake it till you make it. You might feel silly saying powerful affirmations at the end of every class, but your leader persona “Celine The Barre Queen” is a fearless affirmation-loving-woo-crew wonder and you get to channel her, not you to help you get over parts of the class you lack confidence in.


How can you create a leader persona?

Have a think about what the unique aspects of your classes are. Are you someone who likes to give hands on attention, are you softly spoken and want to provide a calm oasis or are you a science geek who loves to educate as you teach?

How do you think your students would describe you?  A great way to look at this objectively is to film your class and watch it back. Imagine you’re the student, take your own class, or have a friend take the class.


Each of the following areas blends to create your leader style:

DRESS: How do you present yourself? We would all know a Zumba instructor if they walked into the room because they’d have neon pants and one leg rolled up right?  Dressing as a professional in your leader style is key to playing the part

CONTENT: What do you teach? How is the pace and style of your class?

VOICE: How do you express yourself? Are you a shouty Bootcamp style instructor or are you a funny instructor, maybe you’re more thoughtful...all of this can be expressed by your tone and message



Creating a leader persona is a great way to help you stand out from the crowd and to build a tribe of loyal fans. Not everyone is going to be down with your way of doing things, but if you’re bland in a land of hundreds of certified dance instructors or brilliant barre teachers then you’ll never truly find your vibe.

Your persona doesn’t mean that you become someone else - you can be yourself and clients will love the authenticity of that. Simply make sure that each element of your class emphasises and reflects back x 10 the attributes of your leadership persona and your dance fitness class or barre class will be one in a million.

Become a certified dance fitness or barre instructor online with The Corio Academy and you’ll not only get your training program, you’ll also get access to a complete year of insider business support, materials and professional training for the boutique fitness industry.  Email us for more information about The Corio Academy today.

Elle Kealy1 Comment