I recently listened to an interview with Chip Conley about his book Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder (and subsequently read the book). In the interview he made a comment that resonated with me. He said that his role as a Modern Elder at Airbnb required him to shift his mindset from “Can Do It” to “Conduit”.
It struck me when he made that comment that when you become a trainer you need to shift your mindset and perspective from that of “Can Do It”, someone who has the skills and abilities to execute that task and do the job, to one of a “Conduit” where your mission is to share your knowledge, understanding, insights and wisdom with others to inspire them to learn and to help them develop their competence and confidence.
The people you are training assume that you Can Do It and that is why you are in the capacity as a trainer. The question is can you teach them? Do you care about them as learners? Can you help them to learn? Can you develop their skills, abilities, competence and confidence? Will you help guide them to discover their own insights? Will you help guide them when they are struggling? Will you make training a safe environment for them to strive and struggle and help guide them to discover the learning and growth opportunities when they fail?
Trainers who are stuck in the Can Do It world are always trying to prove to people in their classes how good they are and how smart they are. They do fancy demonstrations to highlight their skill level. They spend the first 20 minutes of a presentation going over their very impressive bio and list of accomplishments. The result usually is that the audience tunes out and turns off.
Two of the Guiding Principles in the Excellence in Training philosophy are “It’s Not About You” and “You have not taught until they have learned.” These are Conduit principles.
You are there as a Conduit to help the people you are training develop the skills, abilities, competence and confidence so they “Can Do It”, and do it well, in very challenging circumstances and environments.
Time for a mindset switch?
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