If you’re not giving or getting feedback in your studio, you’re living in a bubble.
“Any culture functions well with a good set of standards for feedback. Different people, different cultures, call it different things. But I think it’s essential, especially in the yoga community, because otherwise you live in a bubble,” said Mark Drost, the co-founder of Evolation Yoga.
Since the beginning, Drost said they have worked to build a feedback culture within their studios. It started internally, however, in Evolation’s teacher training. Having never done a teacher training before, Drost said they made it a priority to ask for feedback from those who went through it. From there, it has permeated their studios as well.
In terms of what the feedback looks like, Drost said they don’t focus on positives or negatives. “The way we put it is, you’re always giving people how they served in any particular case, or any particular environment, first, and then how they could serve better. So it’s always from a sense of a place of service, not positive or negative, but how you served your students and how you could, next time, serve your students at a higher level,” he said. “We do that with the teaching, or interacting with the students at the front desk or whatever it may be. It’s pretty all pervasive; it’s throughout the whole culture of studio and the training.”
While Evolation doesn’t have a structured system for feedback, Drost said the feedback culture allows a space for open communication to happen continually. This in turn helps teachers grow faster and serve students at a much higher level. He explained if feedback isn’t happening, you won’t see much growth.
But the key part of having a feedback culture means teachers accept feedback from every direction, not just from the owner but from junior teachers, too. While sometimes personality conflicts can hinder someone taking feedback well, Drost said ultimately if you approach feedback with the person’s best interest at the center, it will be received well. “The moment somebody sees you’re more about self-interest, they’re not going to take it so well,” he said. “There’s times that happens, and try to just restart it from that different perspective.”
Even though building a feedback culture might be hard, Drost said it’s necessary. “I think the best advice for any studio owner is to make sure there is some form of regular feedback, opening the feedback from the students and the teachers,” he said. “There should be a lot of listening, a lot of open communication. We just call it conscious communication.”