“It’s easier to just do it myself.” Have you ever heard that said? And be honest: have you ever said it?
It can feel true. Teaching what you know takes time and energy that are hard to spare from the everyday demands of your job. And teaching what you know isn’t part of most people’s job descriptions. So why not just do it (whatever “it” is) yourself, rather than teaching someone else?
There are many reasons – and here are three questions to consider if you’ve been saying “it’s easier to do it myself.”
- How many times will you need to do it yourself?
Yes, it’s true that coaching someone through the process of becoming good at a task is time consuming. And it can be stressful. On the other hand, if you can hand off a task that’s currently yours to do, isn’t it worth the price of some time and patience to get it off your plate?
- Are you seeking recognition and promotion?
Let’s face it: as clichéd as it may sound, being viewed as an engaged team player who supports and motivates others really is a factor in your success. Taking the time to teach what you know to someone who needs that knowledge is a strong indication of good leadership skills.
- Did you know that coaching hones your skills as well as the learner’s?
Teaching what you know brings new insights. When you truly dive into sharing your expertise with others, you’ll find out just how much of an expert you are (probably more than you thought). Even more exciting, you’ll discover new perspectives that will help you grow, and possibly even find new applications for your knowledge.
Helping others learn something you already know can be boiled down to 5 steps:
- Prepare the learner. Put them at ease. Empathize. People learn best when relaxed.
- Demonstrate the process. Present it one step at a time. Begin with familiar information, then move to the unfamiliar.
- Establish and maintain a positive atmosphere. Reinforce success. Believe in people; it will help them believe in themselves.
- Have the learner perform the process. We learn by doing, not by observing.
- Follow-up. Check back regularly to insure progress.
Recommended Resource: A great tool for demonstrating how to teach something you know to someone else is the training video When the Coach is You!. (Healthcare-specific and Government-specific versions of this video are available.)