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Today, I will end this post with a blatantly stolen question from a Seven Habits workbook – from version 1, pre-1997. I am proud/ashamed (delete as applicable) to say I have a copy of all four, progressive versions of the said workbook, plus their one for policing. I am a Seven Habits nerd. And proud of it.

Trainers. Occasionally pointed at with the comment, “Those who can, do, while those who can’t, teach.” What an arrogant and incorrect paradigm.

In my experience, yes, there may be some who go into training to avoid work. Of course, having done so they realise the amount of work they have to do in order to teach.

But the motive for many must be, “I enjoy what I have learned and what I am doing, so I want to teach others for two reasons. Firstly, to make them better and secondly – to make me better.”

Stephen Covey was the author who introduced (at least to me) the concept of Third Person Teaching. And what a powerful idea.

He proposed that the best way to learn by far, is to teach. Which means when we learn, we must prepare ourselves to teach others what we are learning. This requires attentive listening, a probing mind – and a willingness to stand by what we have learned if we wish to teach it. For example, I couldn’t and wouldn’t have sought to teach teenagers and colleagues The Seven Habits if I had not believed in them, and if I did not wish to live by them. (Okay, I’m still trying…….)

If you listen or watch one of Covey’s lectures on YouTube, you may see or hear the one where he tells the audience on round tables that the person sitting at 6 o’clock will be expected to teach his next concept when he finishes talking, at which those at 6 o’clock desperately squirm and wriggle their chairs towards 5 and 7.

Teaching is hard if you don’t know what it is your expounding, but it is exceptionally hard to teach something you don’t believe in. But when you do believe in it, the information flows, and queries are answered with clarity and aplomb. When you live it, half the lesson is planned and presented even before you pick up a pen or start talking.

So have some respect for trainers who have lived what they are teaching you. They have learned what works and what does not, and they are willing to put their character on the line to show you the better way.

On the other hand, beware trainers who just regurgitate what someone else has told them to say. I recall several ‘debates’ with trainers who tried to instil blind obedience to ‘their’ input, when I could show them they were wrong. It seemed in that particular organisation that a questioning mind wasn’t a prerequisite for a trainer, and it wasn’t welcomed in a student. Unfortunately, I have one, and I also back it up with professional qualifications. Which, for someone training ME, can be a minefield. 😊

I think it soon becomes evident when a trainer is regurgitating, and when a trainer believes in what they are teaching. Learn to spot the difference, and always be mindful that the easier it looks – the harder the effort that was put in to make it that way.

Now, that question. Who will you teach about Three-Person Teaching?

Now, go teach someone about this and see how quickly you go back to Line 1……..


What I teach.