Some time ago I was giving my oldest granddaughter a bike lesson. She was only 6 years old at the time and beginning to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels.
I would steady her bike with one hand by the back of the seat as she rode. I would tell her, “keep your body straight”, “don’t look down”, and to “take it nice and slow”. I would then let her go and she would continue to ride the bike without my help.
As I thought about this teaching session I began to make a connection to my professional life as a leader. If you are going to teach someone a skill, you must have a process to follow.
1. Be patient. If you are going to teach someone a skill it is going to take a lot of your time, and you have to be willing to put up with the frustrations that are sure to come. Remember that someone once taught you a skill and chances are they were very patient with you. Also, if you become frustrated and inpatient so will the person you are teaching.
Ephesians 6:4, ”Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
2. Break down the lesson into small chunks. If you are teaching someone a complex skill, you might need to break it down to smaller manageable parts, and then be able to bring them all together.
Isaiah 28:9-10 “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.
3. Reinforce the skill. Teaching someone a skill is not a one-time event. You’ll need to schedule time to ensure that you are reinforcing what you want that person to learn.
4. Allow for demonstration of the newly acquired skill without any interruptions from you. This will show both you and the person you are teaching that they have learned the skill, and that you have been successful at teaching.
2 Timothy 3:17 “That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
5. Encourage. When the skill is acquired and done well, you have to encourage. When you encourage someone it will make them want to do it correctly. They will feel the joy of being able to do something well. And you will have the pride of knowing that you shared your skills and knowledge with someone else.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
How are you teaching those that depend on you?