Build a Bridge, Don’t Burn One

Due to my own current life situation, I felt compelled to share a personal experience with you, in hopes to bring enlightenment and perspective in times of studio transition for the fitness professional.  As an instructor/independent contractor, our career can pull us into many different directions, teaching in many different locations, doing side jobs, teaching workshops, etc.  What happens when your job leads you in a direction that causes you to have to choose between one or the other??

Recently, I had to choose. Changing studios can be a very bittersweet situation.  After all, you have built relationship bridges with people who can potentially be life-long friends/colleagues, and now you’re about to start another chapter in your career.  How you part ways from your current situation can be threatening to these bridges if you’re not careful.  So is there a proper procedure to studio/location change? Here are my 3 take-aways:

  1. Honesty & Patience = The Best Policy: The last thing you want to do is blurt out to all of your clients that you’ll be parting ways.  If you know you are leaving, ALWAYS speak to the owner of the location first to see how they would like to proceed, before disclosing this information to your clients.  And allow a grace period for transition.  Some studios may need time to fill your space.  As you know, most places ask for 2 weeks notice.  In the Fitness field, it isn’t always easy to replace an instructor.  If you know you may be leaving prior to 2 weeks notice, give your studio owner a heads up to get things in order and be patient with the process.
  2. Walk with Integrity: Most places have a “no compete” clause in their contract. Never ever have a conversation with your studio’s clients about your studio transition, unless it is a conversation you would have in front of the studio owner.  If what you’re about to say to your client could deter on stealing them away from the studio, chances are, that’s a conversation that could potentially cause more harm than good, unless they are technically YOUR client, then gab away!
  3. Remain Grateful & Humble: You have been able to do what you love at this particular location and now you’re about to move on, leaving so many relationships behind.  No matter the situation, be thankful for the opportunity to teach there and appreciate what you learned while you were there.

Remember that we are part of a community of educators.  We can all learn from each other.  I have met many wonderful studio owners that I hold in high regard and will continue to learn from them for years to come. Every person you can become a bridge of new knowledge, take advantage of that and don’t burn that bridge!

Heidi Coles

About Heidi Coles

Heidi Coles is a BASI Certified Pilates Instructor as well as a Pre & Postnatal Pilates Specialist under LiveLife Pilates. She has 8 years of teaching under her belt, alongside 14 years of practice. Recently, Heidi underwent a new studio transition to Konnect Pilates in Mission Viejo, CA in order to continue to grow as a Pilates educator and advance in her own practice. With a dance, acrobatic, and aerialist background, Heidi’s attention to form and detail as well as the energy she brings to each session often leaves her clients feeling encouraged, stronger and more empowered. Find Heidi here: Instagram: @pilateswithnrg YouTube: Heidi Marie Coles Twitter: @LittleMissNRG