In a recent Mashable post Tim Cannon listed a handful of reasons why training juniors is beneficial to your own career. I completely agree with him: helping someone else understand something you already know is a challenge that takes a great deal of skill deal with on a regular basis. If anything, I have always found that if I didn’t wholly understand something, explaining it to someone else helps me have a firm grasp of whatever it is.
Furthermore, sharpening skills on the training delivery spectrum (communication, presentation, summarising etc.) are great skills that will carry you beyond the classroom/training room and make you better at presenting to peers, project groups and boards, increase your confidence and your knowledge.
Cannon also mentions the research-certified benefits of contributing to a positive psycho-socio environment and how helping others raises your profile, makes you valuable and more promotable.
Here are two extensions of Cannon’s canon:
Training a subject you are passionate about tends to re-ignites your passion. Talking about a topic you care about, tends to remind you how much you love it. If you are an aficionado or guru who constantly learns and augments their field of knowledge, you will be creating a reputation of a Master with newbies and peers.
The Outbreak Factor
The beauty of passion is that it is infections. Having a single passionate member in a team makes such a huge difference. This difference could be in the dynamics of the team as well as the speed of work and achieving milestones.
If the passionate person are the charismatic kind, they tend to rally everyone up. These people have the power to turn even the most spent of burnouts around. If they are the annoying kind, they are like a nitro boost to the engine, increasing momentum simply because they truly care about what they are doing.
Irrespective of which kind you are, you will find that your passion will infect others
The Network Factor
Training exposes you to a lot of people. In fact, it exponentially grows your network and makes you visible to people and places you may not have even considered.
You may think “but they are juniors. What/Who do they know?” and the answer to that is “You will be amazed”.
Remember that these are people who people. But you may not be aware of who all these are. You don’t know who their parents, siblings, best friends are. You may not know who their boss is now, or who their boss will be in 6 months’ time or 2 years’ time.
If you make a lasting, positive impact – these people will remember you for a long time and build your reputation for you.
The power of Reciprocation
You can learn something new every day. Gear your approach training and coaching as a two-way channel, you will find that every day your trainees will teach you something you didn’t know.
And as I believe that training, coaching and mentoring is beneficial with peers and supervisors (e.g. upward training) too, the amount of what you can learn grows faster than your network.
(and so will the Passion and Outbreak Factors in your team).
This week’s challenge: coach your leaders
Training, coaching and mentoring is even more powerful when it is done with peers and superiors. True, not all organisations are geared for that. In fact, some environments are almost too competitive to allow peer coaching and training.
This week, then, I challenge you to find someone on your org chart that is your equivalent or higher. Discuss with them the opportunity to develop your coaching/training skills by working with them.
(The obvious disclaimer here would be to do this diligently, as to be gentle with not making them feel bad about their abilities…).
See where this road takes you!