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What is your objective?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
So what is your skiing objective?

Do instructors ask this question before a class (private or group) begins?
post #2 of 20
Yes. If the student is comfortable as a "rider" and not a"driver", you stress different items.

As a coach, every run has an objective.
post #3 of 20
I like to follow a chain from more general to more specific questions while trying to extract their real lesson purpose:

To decern general reason for taking lesson:
"What is your motivation for taking this lesson?"
"What result would make you feel that today was successful?"
(Ask for more clarification if anser is vague)

To decern new activity goals:
"What do you really want to learn to do that you now can't?"
(Ask for specific example to create a target)

To decern performance enhancement or refinment goals:
"What would you like to have more fun doing, or do better?"
"Are there snow conditions, terrain, types of turns that you would like to be more comfortable with or better at?"
(Ask for specific example to create a bullseye)

Discuss and agree on S.M.A.R.T. goals and have at em.
S. specific (what)
M. measurable (how)
A. applicable (why)
R. realistic (who)
T. timely (when)
post #4 of 20
How can you perform a service without asking what it is?
post #5 of 20
Disski you are raising some good points. I need to definetly be asking questions, but they can be just as easily, or should be, about how they are, how they feel, and what they like to ski as opposed to what do you want to change in your skiing. Now sometimes they might give you that, but it is my job to figure out what direction they may need to go. I spend way more time initialy asking questions about the individual to get to know them, as opposed to getting to know their skiing. I can see their skiing, I can't see into their head. I also try to share a bit of myself which usally comes in the form of their questions. After all, aren't we curious about each other. And isn't building rhaport, the foundation we work from in our relationship. With a good relationship any thing can happen, even if only lasts an hour and a half.

Sure we are providing a service, we know that because they paid money to spend time with us. Many are unsure of their own skiing, so how can they answer the question, "what do you want to learn". What's that old saying, "People need to know how much you care before they care about how much you know". We aren't there to service them, we are there to serve them. Do others see this distinction also?
post #6 of 20
Frankly, I think the question, "Why are you here?" is a fair one, so long as you don't stop at the surface. You have to drill down a bit to get at what is going to motivate the student.

Maslow would say that skiers' motivations come in four flavors: survival, belonging, self esteem, and self actualization. You can assume the motivation, but it creates a better learning environment to get the motivation out on the table right from the get-go. It is easier to create happy ending.
post #7 of 20
Mine don't - they know better than to do that

My instructors are far more likely to ask how I went skiing after they left me or in my warm up that morning. Or 'How about we play in the new snow?' or 'I was watching you yesterday when you were skiing on xxx - how did it feel?' Then proceed to tell me WHY it felt less than wonderful & what we will do about that(if anything - sometimes they just tell me & leave it be if it is an attitude adjustment needed)

I have been asked before 'what do you want to learn in this lesson?' I feel like that is the doctor asking 'What disease would you like to have?' or the mechanic 'What do you want us to do to the car?' when i drop it in. I have come to THEM as an expert asking for their HELP.

I think the bit that REALLY annoys me about it is that I have already had to explain my disability & thus WHY I have so many lessons. What bit of 'I am not here for a QUICK fix' is so hard to get after that.

I would prefer to be asked how I am - or how I am feeling about my skiing at the moment - I know my perspective on skiing- I amy not know what I need to work on.

I also LIKE to be asked what I have been working on with my regular instructors - THAT is easy for me to answer!
post #8 of 20
I have to agree with Nolo. Getting the students motivation(s) for the lesson can make the difference between a successful lesson and a failure. If the only motivation brought to the lesson is because so-and-so said I had to the first step should be to assist the student in becoming self-motivated allowing them to find their own enjoyment.
post #9 of 20
Thanks Ric - yeah that is what I was getting at.

I can tell you about ME & especially about how I feel about stuff. You should be able to tell me about my skiing - I pay for that!
post #10 of 20
I really agree with disski on this one. If an instructor asks "why are you here" isn't the natural response "to improve! To get better!". There are times when you're there for a specific fix, but usually as a student it's difficult for me to articulate what I'm here to work on since I don't know what I should be working on. I often feel that question is a cop-out for the instructor. I'd rather have them take a look and then have them tell me "Well, I think to progress you need to work on such and such"

More pertinent questions might be "How committed are you to improving"? so we know weather to look at more dramatic change, and "What time frame"? then you know how hard to push.
post #11 of 20
I think I understand what you are saying, but when I turn it around it seems rude to assume to know why a person is taking a lesson from me. I would hate to find out halfway through that I had been chasing goals the student had no interest in pursuing.

Personally, when I go in for a hair cut, I appreciate it when my stylist asks, "What are we doing here?" instead of just laying in with the scissors.
post #12 of 20
This is fascinating! It wouldn't have occurred to me that there is any answer other than, "Duh." But apparently there is, and I can see the point.

I think "don't ask, just teach me" IS an objective. If that's what somebody wants, that's fine, but the student has got to tell me--not make me guess.

I have gone into a restaurant and asked the waiter to suggest something because I didn't know what to order. But woe unto the waiter who makes that decision for me without asking! If I visit my doctor, for sure I want him to ask me "where does it hurt" before he starts treating me. I do expect him to have some insight into how to fix the problem, but I don't expect him to be able to divine what it is with no hints from me.

I've had a number of students at the upper intermediate to advanced level with very similar styles and...um...needs (am I allowed to say "weaknesses?"). Anyway, some told me they just want to ski, no teaching, just took the lesson to cut lift lines. Some wanted to do bumps, some wanted to learn to carve better, some to build confidence on steeper terrain, and, yes, some wanted to have me look at their skiing and decide what they most needed to work on. Had I not taken the time to find out what they were looking for, I could have given the same generic lesson to each, and probably would have pissed off every one of them, because none of them would have gotten what they were looking for.
post #13 of 20
Point taken. I guess what needs to happen then is after the intial questions, responses and a couple of runs. The student and instructor need to clarify what are realistic objectives for the student and a time frame.

I've been in lessons where the first thing the instructor asks is goals (and be precise). Unfortunately I don't know what comes next! Should I be skiing more off trail to improve balance and sensitivity to different snow conditions, or work on carving skills (I know, we can always work on carving skills). One of the benefits of having an instructor/coach is to point the way, in other words help you articulate what your objectives are.
post #14 of 20
Please Note - We have already discussed the fact that I'm disabled(stops the instructor looking for the wooden leg - after all the lesson is tagged for ski school as a disabled one) & that nearly always leads into WHAT the disability is hence the fact that I have MULTIPLE lessons is WELL defined ....

so when I then get... 'so what do you want to work on?' I find that annoying... the instructors I liked the best all approached it from a 'Well I need to have a look at you skiing - are you happy to go xxx' OR 'OK - so tell me what you have been working on & where you have been skiing'

Kevin from Whistler had been given the disabled bit from the YES people - unfortunately someone seemed to give him the impression that my disability didn't REALLY exist except in my mind (enough said about YES people) He was good though - when I said I wanted to 'ski better' in response to the standard question he said 'Yes but how?' I told him that was his job - at which point he quickly readjusted & we wnet on to have a great lesson.

Seriously - I have 60+ lessons a year(all privates) - so I am quite happy to be TOLD what TODAYS goal is going to be - if I don't like that idea - I have a mouth & can speak up! Of course having my 'needs' solution expressed in a manner that allows me to say 'NAY' is useful
post #15 of 20
As an example - here is how I would answer arcmeister
Originally posted by Arcmeister:
I like to follow a chain from more general to more specific questions while trying to extract their real lesson purpose:

To decern general reason for taking lesson:
"What is your motivation for taking this lesson?"
To ski better!

Originally posted by Arcmeister:
"What result would make you feel that today was successful?"
(Ask for more clarification if anser is vague)
Not to need lessons from you any more(or to ski as well as you) - I think that goal is unlikely to occur(but maybe they gave me a lower level instructor & it CAN happen :shrug

Originally posted by Arcmeister:
To decern new activity goals:
"What do you really want to learn to do that you now can't?"
(Ask for specific example to create a target)
Ski as well as the examiners I know....

Originally posted by Arcmeister:
To decern performance enhancement or refinment goals:
"What would you like to have more fun doing, or do better?"
Are we talking skiing here? ( or Do better - skiing!)

Originally posted by Arcmeister:
"Are there snow conditions, terrain, types of turns that you would like to be more comfortable with or better at?"
(Ask for specific example to create a bullseye)
All of them....

[ November 07, 2002, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: disski ]
post #16 of 20
I like Nolo’s idea of asking why the student is here, and I try and find out. Sometimes you find out that the reason is because, 1. My husband made me come. 2. My parents made me come. 3. I don’t have anything better to do. 4. I’m here alone, and I don’t like to ski by myself. 5. I like meeting new people. And if you asked about learning something, some of these folks will say if they get a little something out of the lesson and coaching, then that will be a plus. But the main reason they showed up for the lesson is the reasons listed above from 1-5.

Of coarse if you have let’s say seven students in the class, then maybe one or two might fit into the categories above. But on the most part, all of the folks in the class are there to learn something and improve their skiing. But if you didn’t ask, then you might be wondering all day why this one person doesn’t seem to be getting it. Doesn’t seem to be motivated or show any interest in listening or doing any of the drills. So if you ask, you might save them and yourself a long day. What should we as ski pros do when we come across someone that fits into the 1-5 categories? 1. Try to motivate them into skiing? 2. Tell them to go to the bar? 3. Try to contact mom and dad and tell them that little Joey is being a real pain in the ass and to come and get him? 4. Tell her to go and max out her husband’s credit card for making her suffer so? I’m glad that this isn’t the norm. But it does come up every once in awhile. And to know up front what is going on with someone works better for me and for them. I personally prefer category 1. Try to motivate them into giving it a try. But if they are dead set on not having any fun, and don’t want to be there, then let them go. At least they will be a happy camper, maybe.-------------Wigs
post #17 of 20
Wigs, I understand. This is useful. So when I am next asked the question I can respond that I'm eager to take a lesson and would like to improve my skiing and so will need guidance on setting objectives as well as specific techniques.

I've often thought that there must be days for instructors when they'd rather be having their teeth pulled out than coddling some of us students. Well, as they say, patience is a virtue.
post #18 of 20
Funny I never ask the question why are you here? Seems like I already know the student is here, I am assuming a private lesson at this time, to improve or change something, or gain some further knowledge. I really want to know about the student the person. Somehow I think that is the bond I need to move us forward together. Then I want us to make a fun run as “normal” as it can be knowing I am lingering to see what I see and do constructive BS on the lift about everything under the sun including a few observations I had with our fun run and where we might think about going next. I always but always like to discover the comfort zone of the student and their fears but of course fear is not a word one would use. From that point polite chitchat and a personal pact between us on what we might accomplish on the next fun run. I like to give my student a simple goal on this run. Then I like to build with the student from here always keeping in mind the student’s needs, desires, wants, and yes psyche. From here we can probably agree on a few things to “play” with as we explore the mountain and learn in the process.

Then again I am a pretty simple person when it comes to teaching. Nothing fancy for sure! Well not so as you would know it anyway.
post #19 of 20
Oh fear is fine with me- great word - sort of accounts for the screams as I ski...
post #20 of 20
Interesting discussion.
I don't think any instructor (at least that I am aware) says, "what are you here for" as the first thing they say.

It seems that most instructors I know, first ask the name, where they live, and maybe what they do. And somewhere after that ask what would you like to get out of the lesson. And sure, most say something like "Parallel better", "ski better", "ski bumps", "to stop", etc. It seems like a no brainer perhaps. "duh, why are you asking me. Your the instructor, you should know." What I as an instructor am looking for, is a desire. And a little specific knowledge. Is this your first time on snow this year? Lessons in the past? etc. I view one of the jobs of an instructor, is to create a road map (via excercises, example, guided mileage) that will lead us in that direction or to the achievement of the desired outcome

Here is a true story you may find amusing.

Jackson Hole- (one of my favorite places to ski in North America)
My wife MADE me take a lesson (I was a Lvl 3 instructor at the time), and I was looking forward to it. I did not tell them I was a Full Certified instructor, nor was I asked. I am placed in the Lvl 9 lesson. 15" of fresh had fallen the night before. The instructor took us to the nicest groomed run on the mountain and we began to learn carving. I went along willingly, and had fun. Except I was longing for the fresh stuff though. At the end of the morning we made it on the tram. About half way down as we were heading down to the lodge. I asked the instructor if I could ski the 2000' vert of untracked fresh. Fortunately he said YES, but the rest of the group didn't follow, but I met the group for lunch.

After lunch, the instructor asked another instuctor to join the group. The New instructor, asked me if I would like to have a Lvl "10" lesson. We bid a friendly farewell to the group. He asked me "What would you like to get out of the afternoon". "Ah, now your talking". I answered, "I want to ski where you ski on your day off". Up the tram we went. After a top to bottom, he asked is that what you are looking for? I answered, "yep, but could you show me how you introduce a lesson of which the objective is to jump into Corbet's?"
He then led me through a 4 jump progression with coaching specific to jumping, landing, and skiing out of Corbet Couloir.

Great day. A cash tip for both instructors. The tip for the first instructor was for putting his ego aside and notice I had different goals for the lesson. And a tip for the second, was for asking me what I wanted to do today. And lastly, a smile and a fond memory for me. Because I relized I need to know what I want to get out of the lesson, even though I didn't know how to get there. Well done, JH ski school.

Best Regards,
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