Some PADI Course Directors and other dive instructors will say that speaking several languages is the best attribute you can have if you want to become a successful diving instructor. This is, in my personal experience, not true and I’d actually say that the most-important characteristic you need to be a successful diving instructor is having a really good attitude.
Multiple languages vs good attitude
Being able to speak multiple languages as a diving instructor can definitely help you in getting a good dive job, but it is also definitely not the most-important attribute to have. I have unfortunately witnessed many diving instructors who can speak many languages but have had a bad attitude, and many of them have repeatedly lost their diving instructor jobs because of this. And worse than that, I’ve witnessed dive instructors with bad attitudes (who somehow manage to keep their jobs) being really bad role models to their diving students and Divemasters in training.
On the other hand, some of the best diving instructors I have met only speak one or maybe two languages. These diving instructors have a good attitude and they keep getting more and more successful in the diving industry. Of course, having a good attitude and being able to speak a few languages other than just English will only help you in getting a dream job as a diving instructor. So, what does having a good attitude as a diving instructor mean?
Good attitude towards diving students
This is by far the most-important attitude to have as a diving instructor. Your diving students determine your success as a dive professional. If you treat your students badly because you have a bad or aggressive attitude as a diving instructor they will quickly let you know. Even if your students won’t tell you during the diving course, they will probably write about it on TripAdvisor, Facebook or any other review website. This can significantly hurt your business and this will most likely result in you losing your diving instructor job.
Having a good attitude towards your diving students will do wonders for your diving career because happy diving students mean happy customers, and happy customers mean good TripAdvisor reviews, which in turn leads to a happy dive shop manager or owner. In almost all cases, a successful diving instructor will be an instructor with a great attitude.
Good attitude towards other diving instructors
Having a good attitude towards other diving instructors, other colleagues and other dive shops will create a much more positive work atmosphere. This will help you enjoy your job as a diving instructor a lot more and you will have more friends in the dive industry. Having a good attitude towards other diving instructors will also help you to form strong working relationships. Customers pick up on this very quickly and will hold you in higher respect because of your attitude towards others.
Diving instructors that have a bad attitude towards other diving instructors will only cause jealousy and negative politics within the dive centre. Sadly this happens because some diving instructors only care about making more money, or having a party lifestyle. Having a bad attitude towards others as a diving instructor might work a little to move up the career ladder, but in my experience these people will not get far. If you want to be a successful diving instructor then it’s vital to be kind to other diving instructors and always be willing to help them in need. It’s all about teamwork in the dive industry and you never know when you yourself might need a hand from a colleague.
Good attitude towards the marine environment
Being a good diving instructor doesn’t only mean that you have a great attitude towards other people, it also means that you care about the environment. diving instructors with great attitudes towards the environment care a lot about conserving the underwater world, not only because it is important to protect their own ‘office’, but mostly because they truly want to minimise their impact on the aquatic environment. They actually care.
Being a diving instructor can be an intense job that takes quite some energy. This diving job is very rewarding but a lot of diving instructors that I know are understandably tired after their work sometimes. Putting extra time in eco marine conservation shows a great attitude that usually means these diving instructors are more successful at their jobs.
It doesn’t mean that you always need to participate in every beach or reef clean-up (great if you can of course), there are many other ways to get involved in marine conservation, for example, by sharing eco blogs on social network websites, integrating eco conservation into your diving courses, supporting eco organisations by promoting them, donating money and so much more. Spending a bit of time during your classroom presentations to educate your diving students on what they can do to help out shows the attitude of a very environmentally aware diving instructor.
Good attitude towards Divemasters and Dive Instructor Interns
This is where you can truly see the difference between good or bad attitudes in the dive industry. There are many diving instructors that treat their Divemaster or Dive Instructor Interns with a bad attitude, treating them like ‘slaves’, making them carry tanks, pack dive equipment bags or just have them around to help deflate BCDs underwater and not much more. Usually these diving instructors behave like that because this is the way they got treated as a Divemaster or Dive Instructor Intern. This shows a very bad attitude and is a long way away from being a role model dive professional.
I do agree that it is important that Divemaster trainees and/or Interns help with the logistics like carrying scuba tanks, packing bags and carrying dive equipment when needed, but only to a certain level. A diving instructor with a good attitude will organise logistics together with the Divemasters and Interns as a team and will always lead by good example. This will then in turn inspire that Divemaster or Intern to be that dive professional with a great attitude towards others in the future. Also I found out that if you treat your diving assistants with a good attitude then your diving students will notice and respect that, resulting in more good reviews, compliments and more business.
Good attitude in diving should be taught in a Diving Instructor Course (IDC)
At Sairee Cottage Diving on Koh Tao in Thailand, I focus on many extra topics in our PADI IDC, such as Advanced Risk Management, Conservation and Modern Dive Instructor teaching techniques. More than anything, however, I focus on teaching and encouraging our new diving instructors to have a great overall attitude which will in turn make them much more successful in the dive industry.
In the PADI IDC at Sairee Cottage Diving, we focus on how to embody this great diving instructor attitude by presenting special lectures on the pros and cons of diving instructors with good or a bad attitudes, and by teaching the IDC candidates how to be an effective environmentally friendly diving instructor and how to be the best overall diving instructor offering the highest level of customer service to their dive students. I also regularly push the idea that treating Divemaster trainees and Interns the right way is vitally important in becoming that great diving instructor.
Becoming a positive diving instructor with a good attitude will truly increase your chances of becoming a very successful diving instructor, please contact me so I can help you achieve that goal.
Marcel van den Berg
PADI Platinum Course Director
Sairee Cottage Diving PADI 5-Star IDC Centre
Koh Tao, Thailand