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    Instructor insights

    Level-up Instructors to give your club the edge

    As competition in the fitness market continues to intensify, your people have never been more integral to giving your club the edge. So how can you develop them into a team of world-beaters? Les Mills Qualifications (LMQs) have been designed to drive up standards and help your group fitness Instructors take their skills to the next level.

    It’s fairly well-established that your people are the only USP that rival clubs can’t copy. But one of the more surprising outcomes of a pandemic that saw digital fitness offerings explode into the mainstream is that our people have become even more integral to our success. Now, they’re also one of the only USPs your digital competitors can’t copy.

    And it’s your people who hold the key to a roaring club recovery. While so much has changed, some principles remain the same. Your people inspired members to join your club in the first place, and it’s your people who will now be key to bringing them back.

    After months of isolation for much of the world’s population, clubs with great Instructors are ideally placed to meet the yearning for community and human interaction we’ve all felt during lockdown. As markets have reopened, dialing up the social experience has been key to re-engaging members and building back better.

    So how can clubs double down on their biggest asset and develop a world-beating team of rockstar Instructors?

    Introducing Les Mills Qualifications

    Les Mills Qualifications (LMQs) are a brand-new assessment framework to help your group fitness Instructors reach their full potential and raise standards. They’re designed to objectively recognize and reflect the ability of an Instructor, and provide a personalized development plan based on their strengths to support continuous improvement. Ultimately, LMQs will enable your Instructors to pack their classes and enjoy long and rewarding teaching careers.

    The qualifications focus on the 5 Key Elements of teaching Les Mills programs. (Choreography, Technique, Coaching, Connection and Performance). Instructors receive a grade for each of the 5 Key Elements and a combination of these produce an overall outcome – a level. For example, if an Instructor achieved Grade 1 in Choreography, Technique and Coaching, they'd pass Initial Training and be a Level 1 Instructor. The focus is on the grades and as Instructors move towards higher grades in the 5 Key elements, their level will increase accordingly.

    Why have Les Mills Qualifications been created?

    This new system has been designed to raise Instructor standards and support a culture of continuous development. By bringing in an objective grading system, clubs can understand the value of their Instructors, support their progression and ensure every class contributes to a world-class member experience. It takes the guesswork out of developing your team, providing a consistent and scalable system to enhance Instructors’ standards across your club portfolio.

    Why are you changing the old assessment system?

    There was a certain amount of ‘box-ticking’ in the original assessment system. Instructors attended Initial Training, they either passed or they didn’t, and, for most Instructors, that’s where the ‘official’ development ended, with only 20 percent of teachers progressing (in assessment) past the first three Key Elements.

    Experienced operators know that Initial Training is only the beginning of the Instructor journey – the ‘training wheels’ if you will. Once they’re out in the real world, that’s where the actual development begins. Les Mills Qualifications will be accompanied by further development opportunities, including complementary self-directed toolboxes and personal development plans so your Instructors can progress through clear learning pathways.

    Why grades and levels?

    This system has been chosen to mirror the recognition shown to other performance disciplines – such as learning to play the violin, ballet or martial arts – where grades and belts are indicative of individual skill. Les Mills Qualifications recognize that group fitness instructing is an art, and the levels and grades represent the teacher’s progression towards teaching mastery. As leaders in the education and training of group fitness professionals, this is the next step in the Les Mills gold standard of development and recognition.

    From ‘one size fits all’ to personal development plans

    Les Mills Qualifications recognize that Instructors all have different strengths. For example, having a high grade in Connection will enable an Instructor to pack their classes – even if they have a lower grade in Technique. There are tools to help them continue to elevate their strength of Connection, while also developing their skills in the other Key Elements. With Les Mills Qualifications, Instructors select the development pathway that best suits them and how they can develop as an Instructor.

    How do you know it works?

    To test the efficacy of Les Mills Qualifications, trials were conducted with the Les Mills team in the Middle East. 46 Instructors were taken through Initial Training for BODYPUMP™, BODYBALANCE™/BODYFLOW® and LES MILLS CORE™, conducted over five trainings. 22 of the trialists were brand new to the Les Mills training system, while 24 were experienced Instructors already certified in one or more Les Mills programs.

    All of the trialists said the Development Form helped them to understand the value of setting goals and knowing their strengths. Every single person found the grades and progression helpful and informative, and they understood their next steps to getting certified.

    “The new assessment system will give Instructors the progression they are looking for,” says triallist Dave Mendoza, an experienced Instructor who is certified in multiple programs. “It provides clear direction on what’s next, especially for those who are more ambitious! It helped me identify my strengths as an Instructor, as well as those things I need to work on. I know it will ultimately help my participants to have an even more amazing experience in my classes.”

    For Tini Adams, a novice Instructor brand new to the Les Mills system, Les Mills Qualifications provided clarity on her next steps towards certification: “The grading system is clear, easy to understand, and showed me what I can improve on. I think the Development Plan will be a great guide on my journey towards reaching the standard of teaching that members expect from a Les Mills Instructor.”

    How are Instructors assessed?

    Instructors’ level and grade changes based on the development of their individual strengths, which can be enhanced by following their personal education pathway and participating in Advanced Training. Levels are given through assessment and Instructors are welcome to submit assessments for review at any time. For an assessment, Instructors will submit a video of them teaching and each of the 5 key elements will be assessed to a certain grade and the combination of those grades is what creates a level.

    How much will assessments cost?

    This will be confirmed in each country when launched and the cost of assessments will be kept as low as possible. As we launch LMQ, many countries will be offering low cost or free assessment for Instructors who have already completed Advanced Training, AIM 1 and AIM 2. Assessments can be paid for by Instructors, or by their clubs if they wish to do so.

    When will Les Mills Qualifications come into effect?

    Les Mills Qualifications will begin launching this year in the United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, New Zealand and China with BODYPUMP, LES MILLS CORE, BODYCOMBAT™, BODYBALANCE/BODYFLOW, with RPM™, LES MILLS GRIT™ and BODYATTACK™ to follow shortly after. Then we’ll continue to add each program as created. All other markets will follow with launching later in the year and into 2022.

    Look out for further information on when Les Mills Qualifications will be available in your country. And for further detail on what LMQ means for Instructors, check out this article from LES MILLS INSIDER.


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