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Sharing the Dream: Recruit Instructors from your Open Water Divers

Humans are social creatures. Sure, we all value some silence and time alone. But nearly everyone wants to belong. We all want to be a part of a community that gives us fulfillment, purpose, and drive. We want to find a place that helps us be the best versions of ourselves.

That’s the real purpose of a dive instructor. Instructors provide the gateway to the diving community. So, when you embody a dive culture that gives your students that sense of belonging, you unlock something deeply human that will keep them returning again and again. Read on to learn how to build a dive culture that turns Open Water Divers into dive professionals.

The Value of a Dream

No one gets certified to dive by accident. Learning to dive requires an investment of time, effort, and money. Therefore, every student has some reason for taking the course. They each have some dream of what they want to experience even before they take their first breaths underwater.

Recruiting future instructors starts with identifying each diver’s dream. That dream is what compels a diver to begin their training and drives them on to future courses. Ultimately, you aren’t offering dive training, equipment, or travel. Instead, you are providing the fulfillment of that dream. Training, equipment, and travel are merely the means to actualizing that dream. Without a dream, divers have no reason to learn to dive and will not continue.

Identify each student’s dream at the very first meeting. At the beginning of orientations, ask your new Open Water Diver students to imagine their perfect dive. Share your own as an example, and then ask them to share theirs.

Make a note of each dream in each student’s folder. A student’s dream may not be “to become an instructor” – yet. But it will motivate that diver to continue training beyond the Open Water.

Craft the Road Map

Now that you know your diver’s dream, help them find the road there. Sit down with your new diver and map the steps toward their goal. Include more than just the courses they will need to take. Include fun diving for experience, travel, events, books to read, and anything else to help them achieve their ultimate goal.

This map will change over time as the diver learns what they love about diving versus what they thought they would love. So, keep coming back to this map with your student to make changes as necessary – and to remind them how far they’ve come.

Celebrate Every Step

The journey from Open Water Diver to Instructor takes months, if not years, to complete. So, make sure you take the time to celebrate your students along the way. Make each certification a big deal and invite others to recognize your students’ achievements.

There are a million ways to celebrate your students. You could publicly recognize them at your next dive club meeting. You could recognize them on your social media page. You might even create a social media badge for your students to share on their own social media page. If you aren’t sure where to start, think about what makes you feel celebrated. Then start doing that for your students.

A Place to Call Home

Dive culture is about the people, not the physical location. But the dive shop is where your dive culture calls home. You don’t need to have breathtaking decor. But make the space inviting.

You want your divers to spend time here. So, make it a place where they want to hang out. The more time divers spend at your shop, the more steeped in the culture they become. They get to know the staff, hear their stories, and realize they want to be a part of that inner circle of dive professionals.

If you have the space, a lounge area is a great idea. That area could even be the classroom when it’s not in use. But even if you don’t have floor space to give up, add touches that encourage divers to linger. This could be as simple as offering coffee and tea.

All About Attitude

As any Course Director will tell you, teaching is about having the right attitude. And it’s never too early to cultivate that attitude in your divers. Different divers will learn different skills at different rates. Encourage your divers to help teach each other.

For example, you might have a student who struggles to remember the steps of the pre-dive safety check. Buddy that student up with another who has mastered the check. Encourage those divers two work together on their pre-dive safety checks. Then stand back and watch how the second student helps the first.

Remember to praise the second student later, so they feel seen and appreciated. Positive reinforcement of a proper teaching attitude goes a long way toward making “Open Water Scuba Instructor” become an Open Water Diver’s dream.

Recruit Your Ideal Divers

So how do you find the kind of divers you want to recruit? That is all about marketing.

The first step is to create a diver avatar. A diver avatar is the profile of your ideal diver. This imaginary person exemplifies every trait you want in a new Open Water student. Make them real by giving them as many human traits as possible. There are many worksheets for this online (search “customer avatar”). So, find one you like to get started.

Next, plan your marketing to target your diver avatar. Every email and social media post should be written to appeal to this imaginary diver. Use them as a guide to figure out what to include and leave out. For example, if your diver avatar has kids, highlight junior diver friendly dives and give less time to more advanced sites.

Motivate Your Staff

Your staff is a vital part of recruiting future professional divers. To be effective, they need to value this recruitment and understand the importance of mentorship for growing divers. This can be tricky. Many businesses struggle to motivate and engage their staff. But really the best way to motivate your staff is to apply the same topics we discuss above. Each staff member is a person with their own goals and ambitions. Learn what those goals are; take an interest in helping them achieve their aspirations. Give your staff the same mentorship you would any diver and watch them flourish.

Make It Your Own

Recruiting Open Water students to instructors is all about culture. And your dive center culture starts with you. Take the tips above and make them your own. Weave them into your teaching style and embrace the people who resonate with it. In the end, you’ll have a shop full of divers who can’t wait to take that next step with you.

Acknowledgements: PADI would like to extend their sincere gratitude to Sairee Cottage Diving and Crystal Divers Bali, who contributed their decades of experience to this article.

The post Sharing the Dream: Recruit Instructors from your Open Water Divers appeared first on PADI Pros.

Business Support, Instructor DevelopmentPADI Pros


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