When I taught in the classroom, I was always on the lookout for ‘teachable moments’ (I call them Lightbulb Moments)- those times when learning became especially powerful because of connections, relevance, and opportunity.
For example I could teach about math (money, budgeting, measuring) until those proverbial cows came home, but when I had an opportunity to create a Christmas Cookie Sale as a community project, every aspect of teaching math became teachable moments. Students were involved, invested, and eager to learn.
Teachable Moments: spontaneous, serendipitous opportunities to use an experience at hand to demonstrate a skill, concept, or principle when the learner is motivated and engaged in the process.
Teachable moments are not only for the classroom; they are and can be generalized across settings. They are not only for concrete skills, ‘soft skills’ can be deeply embedded as well.
Coaches and consultants use teachable moments (whether they recognize them or not!) to help client breakthroughs and transformations; in fact I believe that knowing and using those Lightbulb Moments separates a good coach/consultant from a great one.
So how can you facilitate more teachable moments in your business and life?
Make connections. Teachable moments are holistic and build upon prior knowledge and experience. We learn much more deeply when our emotions are involved. Find out what your clients are excited about, upset about, worried about, happy about…
Interests- When you can relate content to interests (and strengths rather than weaknesses) learning becomes more motivating and engaging. Know that your client loves to cook or is a fitness buff? Relate your expertise in those terms.
Take the road less traveled. Often teachable moments occur when a tangent happens. You may be discussing one thing and you or your client happens to say something that sparks an idea…go with it!
Listen…really listen to what is being said and unsaid. This goes with the above strategy. Don’t be afraid to deviate from ‘the plan’…carpe diem baby!
Think of yourself as not only a teacher, but a guide open to exploring new paths and trails (both for yourself and your clients).
When One Teaches, Two Learn