How to teach others when you're still learning

I’ve met and coached so many people who thought they weren’t ready. They feel they haven’t learned enough, don’t have enough certifications, or don’t feel skilled enough to teach others.

I’ve been there myself too, thinking “Who am I to help others?”, “What do I know?”, “Why would someone even listen to me?!” 

But this mindset and questioning can all be boiled down to one thing: fear.

One of my favorite quotes illustrates this point perfectly:

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure” - Paulo Coelho

If teaching/coaching/facilitating/leading ANYTHING is your dream, why aren’t you doing it? 

If, when you ask yourself that question, reasons why you’re not prepared or good enough or any other reason comes up at all, call it out. Call out the fear. Name it. If you don’t identify fear, then you certainly can’t work on it. So first name it, then do it anyway!

What’s the next step?

You conquered your fear. Now you’re teaching others. But you’re still on the path to self-development yourself?

Quick! Run for the hills before anyone finds out your a fraud! Just kidding! But not about the fraud part. There are days when I still feel like a fraud. When I feel like I don’t have the answers my clients are coming to me for. Or that I don’t practice what I preach. 

What can you do about it? 

Tell your clients the truth. Tell everyone the truth, actually. Instead of coming up with a BS answer or pretending that I know something I don’t, I just tell my clients the truth. “I don’t have an answer for that” or “that’s something I’m still working on myself.”

I’m the best teacher BECAUSE I’m still learning, not in spite of it.

The most insightful coaching sessions I have with clients are the ones in which I bare my truth and get vulnerable about myself. And my truth is that I don’t have all the answers. 

If you’re in the position to be teaching/coaching/leading someone, that’s a huge responsibility. Treat it as such by giving the client what they really need - an honest answer, and a connection. Your clients don’t need you to be all knowing, they need you to be real. 

How can you get real?

One of my favorite methods in sharing my truth and getting vulnerable with people is completing this sentence:

“What I don’t want you to know about me it…”

Here are some examples you could use in the moment:

“… I don’t have the answer to that.”

“… I’m still trying to figure that out myself.”

“… I’m nervous you’ll judge me for not having the answer.”

“… I feel I’ve let you done by not having the answer.”

“… I’ve made that same mistake too.”

“… I’m not perfect.”

Every time I’ve taken a risk by getting real and using this tool, the results have surprised me in a positive way. Bottom line: never let fear stop you from doing something you love. Harness it to create greater connections.