The Telling Myth

by Daryl Daughtry, Publisher

Most education or training delivery methods have historically been offered in a lateral or horizontal form that really doesn’t work well.

The typical helping process of horizontal development is basically about transferring information from one person to another person. It is expressed through teaching, mentoring or many other types of advice giving. But in the wise and also humorous words of the great Les Brown… “If information alone could change people, everybody would be skinny, rich, and happy.”

However, most people around the world have bought into this highly ineffective form of horizontal communication that I call “The Telling Myth.” It goes something like this… “If I tell people what to do, they will eagerly take my advice and take immediate action.” Now, how many times has that really happened?

Children in schools are typically horizontally taught for many years with only a small percent of graduates emerging equipped for life in the real world. Faith leaders pour into their congregations at least weekly and fail to see significant growth over time. Personal development conferences are great at gathering throngs of receptive people around powerful speakers with life changing information, but the act of transferring that information from a stage to a mostly passive audience is not changing many lives.

Let me ask you a simple question. How many books have you read in your life where you loved the advice they were giving, and in turn, you immediately started applying those goodies to your life? I would guess very few, if any.

Knowledge you consume is mostly horizontal, passive, and offers no accountability at all. On the other hand, vertical development or communication is about real personal transformation coming from highly-involved education. While people do need skills and competencies to get things done, they also need to be able to process what they’ve learned in a way that turns that information into action and application.

Benjamin Franklin summed up the superiority of vertical development like this… “Tell me, and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

When a person becomes involved or invested in their quest for information, they become more of an active partner in the process. They commonly take a form of ownership in the application of the information to produce a desired outcome. It becomes more personal and more relatable which, in turn, motivates them to apply it to their life.

So how do we involve people with adaptive ways of thinking and get them to take action? Well, the most effective way is to utilize the techniques of modern life coaching. Coaching, in a conversational way, uses interaction and accountability to help folks move towards new action or behavior.

I, along with my training team, have trained hundreds and hundreds of professional life coaches in over 50 countries throughout the world. This real-life proving ground has resulted in seeing countless lives changed and major goals accomplished. Our graduate coaches have delivered the very involvement and accountability that Benjamin Franklin was speaking about.

Coaching helps a person see the connections between decisions and outcomes. It helps to make sense of behavioral patterns and assists in breaking down a problem until clarity is achieved. Coaching is about helping people learn and practically process their learning rather than just teaching them. It can unlock a person’s potential for new ways of thinking that ultimately lead them to taking consistent action. After all, having good information is really useless if it’s never applied. Am I right?

By asking strategic questions, coaches help clients process their thinking, make informed choices, and move forward. It has been proven over and over again that everybody needs a good coach in their personal life or their business life. It’s an investment that pays priceless dividends and I highly recommend it.

So, if you find yourself on either the giving or receiving end of instruction or advice-giving, please remember that involvement and accountability are key to sustainable learning and change. The receiver must be interested, convinced that it’s relevant to their life, clear about the information, and held accountable to take action.

Just telling people what to do (The Telling Myth) really doesn’t work that well, unless you’re in the military.

personal growth