Being a certified instructor does qualify us to teach but does not succeed we to lead. Dive instructors live and thrive in cutting edge of being role model, an educator and also practitioner. Having said that there is a fine line between those frontiers and we are flirting with it; every single time when we teach or dive.
Offering quality teaching and advising lets instructor develop a higher respect from divers but it does take some time reach that point, especially if we are in an area where social interaction is the rule. Some instructors find that stressing the basics to a higher level, time spend on fin kicks; flutter and frog even an intro to back-finning, a huge emphasis on proper weighting and trim are things that make soon-to-be-diver so different, dragging their dive master interns into way-too-long apprenticeship on same old excuse ‘you still have a lot to learn’. Getting our students diving will give them an excuse to take more classes and recommend us to others. Those are confusing and conflicting from within.
As diver’s life is at some point falls into our responsibility, we need to lead with excellence. Our only real job is to make a diver out of anyone wishing to learn.
To achieve that we’ve got to earn respect from the inside. When a student was startled by fear, we let him try to feel the calculated anxiety, even if it is unsure of how to overcome those dilemma that would allow him to dive again. These leadership needs to be seen amongst the teaching team, earning respect of the team. When leaders earn, rather than demand respect, team members attitudes change. They become willing players rather than forced members.
In diving some training is inevitably risky. There are training programs out there that will teach us the wrong way to lead. Or to sell. Or to do business. “These equipment is cheap so we push?” or “those gears look great so we dilute?” Regardless of any agency we belong, decent leaders would be cautious of some training we take, or such marketing realm we make.
Instructors always find the unexpected in everyday work, no matter how experienced we are. Daily teaching work may uncover unexpected insights. Be watching the signs of unexpected insights. When we see glimmers, it is prudent tracking them down and explore them.
Good instructors must be a good listener. No one gets right at the first time, so were us. Remember the training? We all had been there and it could only do us good remembering how we got into this profession in the first place. Once we get our students rolled down window of listening, we tell them to follow the path.
Young leaders can get stuck, much like most of newly certified instructors. Leadership isn’t always a clear path. There are unknowns we won’t always be able to see. Yet there are leaders who have gone before us. They have experienced leadership pitfalls. They know what we need to be looking out for. It’s then imminent to look up to someone to help us help you for our journey throughout leadership.
Dive Instructors can choose the wrong option, make a mistake and learn from it. We all have to make hundreds of decisions every dive, before or after. There are decisions to be made for everything. We are going to choose the wrong option some of the time. And when we do, don’t give up. Don’t feel bad. Rather, choose to make things right again.
Sometime instructors are looking for clues but we at the same time are missing all the signs. We’d see something obscure and begin following the clues. Whilst following the clues, we could have missed the signs that are right in front of us. Skilled divers are willing to become focused on the signs that matter and not the obvious, that’s how we lead them to be.
Every day, we learn from new things, new people.
Earn that, as we need to show student; the "has-been" impossible.
The Author is PADI IDC Staff Instructor