Being pretty new to this sport I'm obviously not an instructor, but I read these "instructor type" threads with great interest for a couple of reasons. One, being a coach associated with other sports, I see many similarities and, also, one day I may combine my new found love of this sport, with my love of coaching.
I think when you're talking about retention, even though it's discussed in general as it pertains to the industry as a whole, it comes down to each individual as to the reason(s) that they start instructing, and then either stay or leave. As to why people join the instructor ranks to start with, I think it's pretty clear that the common thread is the love and passion for the sport and the desire to share this joy with others. I think we can all agree that it's, with a few exceptions, not for the money.
As to why people leave, I think that many of the reasons are personal in nature (ie. family and other career commitments) that are outside the control of the industry as a whole. I think that these reasons aside, others leave because they feel like they are not getting anything back for the effort they put forward and feel that they are not appreciated by the specific resorts at which they are employed.
Having said this, I'm not surprised that Nolo's resort has overcome their retention problem with the approach that they've taken and I think the reason is simple. When a strong training program is in place, or is put in place, it cuts to the core and parallels the reason that people start instructing to start with. It provides an avenue that both improves the abilities of the instructors, and in turn enables the instructors to provide a better product to the student. I'm don't think that the fact that they're a non-profit resort has any affect on this at all. I see it as an organization that has recognized a problem and attacked it from the ground level. The result is, in my opinion, that instructors are staying because they recognize that they are experiencing personal growth in a sport that they love and the resort is behind them in their efforts to provide quality instruction to their students. It is, in effect, a win-win situation.
I apologize for the length of this and I'll jump back and observe those of you that have first hand experience with this matter. I just thought I'd offer an outsider's opinions/observations.
[ November 24, 2003, 07:02 AM: Message edited by: Coach13 ]