by Hilary Opheim
Looking for someone who can guide you in your Pilates journey in this very moment of your Pilates career? Does it make sense for you to seek someone out to be a Mentor? Are you feeling like something is missing from your teaching that is keeping you from progressing or from being where you want to be as a Pilates teacher? There are some specific things you should look for and think about as you begin your search for that person to help you in your Pilates career.
Over the years many teachers have come to me feeling that they are missing something or wanting or needing a guide in their teaching. Some are new teachers, others ave been teaching for maybe 5 years and many have taught for over 10 years. However long you have been teaching that feeling of being a little lost or looking down your teaching path and not quite knowing where you are going or why is not a good feeling. Finding someone to Mentor you or guide you and be that sounding board for you is truly a gift but, how do you find that and is it worth it for you?
My teaching journey has led me to different moments along the way where I have felt I needed something to get my Pilates teaching or path more clear in my mind and body and finding that someone for myself has always been something that has been very organic. Sometimes I have just been going along teaching my clients, running my studio and doing my thing and then I meet someone or take a workshop and something sparks in me that this person has something that will help me find my way or take me further. There have been other times where I have felt lost or confused or wondering what next? is this it? Those times I have actively looked for that answer and how and who can guide me and help with this path. Each time my teaching is recharged, my passion for the work refueled and I get to pass that on to my own students and clients.
I know I’ve talked about it before and you can check out my blog on my own personal mentorship journey HERE but I have found for me it’s been as I’ve been traveling down my path as a teacher suddenly I see something in someone or meet someone or maybe I read something they wrote or watch them teach in a workshop but, something about them spoke to me in that moment at that exact time. It may have been I didn’t even realize that that was what I needed or who I needed to kind of step in and guide me a little bit in my journey. It’s always been finding that person that speaks to me in terms of being in a place that is supportive with someone that’s going to give me that to give me that positive feedback and really nurture in terms of whatever it is I feel may be a little lost or maybe a little confusing at the moment or maybe it is just not knowing where I want to go and maybe just needing someone to give me that feedback and letting me know, you can do this!
One thing I have found with each of those mentors that I have been lucky enough to have in my life it isn’t about who taught them Pilates how they came to Pilates or even how long they’ve been teaching but, it’s really about what they have to offer in terms of Pilates that speaks to me in those moments and how their thought process speaks to me.
It can be a confusing time when you’re feeling lost and needing someone to help you and mentor you. You see things on Instagram and Facebook and you’re not quite sure how to go about finding someone to work with that fits you. I have some tips that I’ve used for myself and also have helped others that have come to me looking into my Mentorship and Bridging Programs. These tips help you understand what it is you are looking for, what you need and how to start that journey.
1. What is the environment like or what environment do you need?
Is this Mentor or Program a positive space where you feel comfortable asking questions, you can be supported and learn in a way that guides you where you want to go or helps you see where you can go. An environment that lets you teach as you teach but enhances your gifts, skills and confidence as a teacher.
2. Is it individualized or a group setup?
This is something to look at in terms of how detailed or deep you want to go for yourself. Also, what type of feedback and specific attention are you looking for. Do you want a Mentor or Program that is geared to you or more of a group that covers certain topics?
3. Are they asking you questions?
What you are wanting or needing should be a question that is quickly asked because what you think is missing or what you are needing for your teaching or practice should be the key discussion before anything begins. You want someone who is asking what they can do for YOU. How can they help YOU.
4. Does the Mentorship Program or Mentor have what you are looking for in terms of what you need at this moment?
What is it you are wanting out of your teaching right now and how can you get guidance from a Mentor? is it to learn exercises or go deeper? Refreshing your teaching? how you verbalize as a teacher to your clients? Maybe it is how to take care of yourself as a teacher. You want your Mentor to be able to guide and nurture you with a specific need or goal, even if it changes as you go it is something to base your program on with them as you begin this journey.
5. Do you like them?
It seems simple but, don’t base it off Instagram or social media, who they studied with or how long they have been teaching. Do you like what they represent? Do you like their energy and style of communication? Do they have a similar thought process or a way of looking at the work that speaks to you? You want to feel that they also understand you. You want to feel as if they hear you and are listening to what you are wanting for you.
6. Talk to Pilates teachers that have worked with them.
Get feedback from students that have studied with them, worked with them or know them on a personal level. Get to know who this person is and what to expect in working with them.
Teaching Pilates is a constant journey and I tell my students all the time we continue to learn and grow just like our clients. Just this month a teacher joined my Mentorship Program and she has been teaching for years and years but, she realized that teaching in different studios had made things seem a little cloudy for her in her teaching. As we chatted she got more and more excited and said it reminded her of that feeling when she decided to become a teacher.
Isn’t that a feeling we always want in our Pilates career. For her, she wants to refresh, go through the work of Joseph Pilates for herself knowing it will then, in turn, come out for her clients in the same way as she takes it back into her teaching.
As all teachers are different so are those Mentors and Mentorship Programs out there. Choose carefully and think about what YOU want or need. Follow that path and I promise it will be a time of lightbulb moments, community, sharing your passion and growing more and more like the teacher you envision and know you want to be!
To find out what you may want or need in your Mentor or Bridging Program click here for a FREE 30-minute discovery call that will help focus and guide you on your path!
Hilary Opheim has been teaching Pilates for over 25 years and owned her studio for over 15 years. A native Houstonian in 2020 she moved to Los Angeles, California and opened her studio there in Santa Monica/Brentwood area of LA. She has had her Pilates Teacher Training School for over 10 years and is a PSAP Approved School. She also offers Pilates Weekend Retreats for teachers looking for a weekend of full immersion into the work of Joseph Pilates.
Hilary has been a guest on Pilates Unfiltered, presented at the PMA conference, been featured in Pilates Style Magazine and written articles and blogs for many outlets. She is a Heritage Training Graduate, a Pilates post graduate program on the work of Kathy Grant.
Hilary teachers Traditional Pilates and is known for her positive and supportive teaching style with clients and students who go through her Teacher Training or Mentoring/Bridging Programs she is also always a student herself and feels Pilates is a constant journey of learning and growing.
Info on Teacher Training – click here
Hilary Opheim Pilates Teacher Training is a true personal Mentor-Apprentice style of training. Just like her boutique studio each student is in a fully supportive and positive environment to learn the Traditional exercises, anatomy, how to break it down for clients and develop your teaching skills. The fully Comprehensive Program gives the student the time, guidance, knowledge and freedom to dig deep and truly experience the work of Joseph Pilates. Schedules all year for those living in the Los Angeles area as well as those who come from out of state. PSAP Approved School.