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At Roctopus, our instructors have taught thousands of people to dive.  If you want to become a dive professional, all you need is the passion for it and the bravery to say, “you only live once.  I’m going to go to Thailand to become a diver!”.  However there are two qualities that really set apart a good dive pro from a great one: Patience and Empathy.

Patience:

Honestly, scuba diving isn’t that hard!  You just have to plan the dive and then go down and keep breathing.  It’s not rocket science.   However, some people struggle to learn.  I’d say 90% of the problems people encounter are in their head.  The perfect example is the struggle some people have with clearing their mask.  Can you breathe out your nose and look up at the same time?  Of course you can!  However this is the hardest skill for some people.  It’s just because they freak out about doing it underwater.

The key for being a good instructor in this situation is to have a lot of patience.  Try to break down the steps of the skill into individual components and have the student practice just those parts.  It could be they get it on the second try.  It could take a few hours in the pool.  But they can do it.  You just have to make sure you’re patient and let them keep working at it.  If you show signs of frustration, you’re going to get a dropout for sure.

Empathy:

Empathy is quite simply putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.  For a dive pro who dives every day, scuba is second nature.  It’s like driving.  When you first learned, you kept both hands on the wheel at all times and you were concentrating with your full attention.  Then, you got used to it and now driving is easy.

Same with diving.  When we’re down there diving and we need to clear the mask, we’re definitely not thinking about the individual steps anymore.  We’re just doing clearing it, literally without consciously thinking about it.  However, for new students, they have to think about each step, because it’s not habit yet.

The important thing for an instructor is to remember what it was like when they first learned to dive.  They were very likely a bit scared as well.  By being able to see when a student is stressed, scared or frustrated you’ll be able to put them at ease and prevent problems before they occur.

Here’s a video about empathy that I really like:

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