In the language industry – like in any other sector – different organisations utilise varying approaches to suit their specific model, product and target market. This is good. It means there is enough variation in offering to afford individual students a huge range of choice to suit their specific needs.
But sometimes, as a provider, it also means you receive questions about why you do things the way you do, rather than the way someone else has chosen to do it.
One of the questions I sometimes get is
“why don’t you offer individual, one-off lessons than I can pay for as I go?”
As with so much in life, the answer to this is more complicated and nuanced than it might first appear.
It’s certainly not because we want to trap our clients into never-ending contracts or lock them into packages that they won’t use! In fact, we offer a range of programmes from finite to ongoing, and even provide short intensive courses or bespoke options – just like our coaching, our approach is not and has never been standardised.
BUT. We don’t subscribe to a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” approach. While selling tutoring by the hour works for some providers, it’s not part of our ethos – and for good reason.
Learning a language is not something you can accomplish in a weekend.
(Sorry, I know that would make life easier!) It takes time and dedication. While in a couple of one-off sessions we might be able to inspire passion, provide a few tips and tricks or tell you how to order a beer, we can’t promise real, effective change or transformation.
And that’s what we’re all about! We want to be able to imbue in our students a real joy for the language and a desire to explore it and have fun with it. We want to help encourage a routine and structure that underpins effective learning. We want to help our students pick up positive, lifelong habits. We want to incite genuine transformation.
Reason number two:
The committed students see results
It’s obviously a two-way street, but learning is not just about having a good coach: students also need to take responsibility for their own success.
And student success is absolutely vital to VICI. Why? Well, aside from the satisfaction it brings us as lifelong educators, it’s essential to our business strategy! Successful clients are satisfied clients, and satisfied clients are loyal clients. We want to know our students are thriving and getting the results they want to see because that’s what keeps them coming back or recommending us to others.
A potential client who only wants one-off or sporadic sessions might be disappointed in a lack of progress: and that’s not good for them, or VICI!
So in some ways, not subscribing to the “one and done” approach is self-selecting:
The kind of students who are happy to commit to a programme are also the kind of students who are going to really apply themselves with enthusiasm and focus their sights on success.
And the journey to success varies for each individual:
Some people retain vocabulary quickly
Some have a more analytical mind and are great at grammar
Some will have a better ear and pick up an accent easily.
And the fact that everyone is different brings me to my third point…
Customisation of offering
When our students commit to a programme with us it allows us to personalise our approach. While some learners need to focus more on their listening skills, others require more technical detail or conversational skills. Having more clarity about our clients’ needs means we can tailor our methods – and when we can provide such personal attention, we can ensure better results.
When we start a relationship with a new student, there’s an unspoken pact that both sides are going to do their absolute level best.
For our part, our students are in the hands of coaches who really care, who love what they do and are dedicated to getting a positive outcome. And our students need to bring something to the table too: their complicit agreement that they are present, committed and ready for the challenge!
And as a boutique academy, that really matters to us: we’re not looking to sign up vast numbers of students for individual sessions that peter out over the weeks. We’re looking for a successful partnership between committed students and involved coaches.
And I’m happy to say that, right now, that’s exactly what we have.
To learn more about The VICI and our commitment to excellence, arrange a call with one of our friendly language experts, and start your learning journey today – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01635 444 24.
by Nathalie Danon
Nathalie is the award-winning linguist & entrepreneur behind the VICI Language Academy, VICI Language Dynamics, VICI Languages France and Nathalie Danon Coaching. Her mission is to deliver a lifelong love of languages to everyone: child, or adult in both personal and professional worlds.