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Chapter Four - Stop Telling, Start Teaching - Heather vonOesen Dean

June 05, 2023 8:24 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

"We Wish We Had Known: Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business.

Stop Telling, Start Teaching"


Creative Across the Curriculum, LLC
Founder, President

creativeacrossthecurriculum.com  heatherdean@creativeacrossthecurriculum.com

Most consultants are hired to solve a problem, address a pain point, or improve the current outcome. This type of guidance requires more than tell’em what you’re gonna tell’em; tell’em; and tell’em what ya told’em. It requires teaching them to make lasting change rather than a band-aid, short-term solution.

      The first step to Taking a Teaching Approach in your business is to identify the INFO that the client does not currently have. What do you want them to know or be able to do that they do not know or cannot do yet? Be specific here. Identify the exact facts, detailed tasks or new process to be taught. Break down each fact into the key vocabulary terms, the smallest portion of each task, and sequentially order each step. Be as clear and concise as possible. You might think the information seems elementary or obvious, but the client does not possess your expertise. It will be new to them, and their understanding of this knowledge will be crucial to their long-term business success.

      INFO REFLECTION: Think about an upcoming meeting. Write down what they need to know. Define each key word and how it is successfully used. Write down what not to do and the problem it creates. Write any tiny detail clients unintentionally miss or skip.

      The second step to Taking a Teaching Approach is to allow the client to EXPLORE. This is where you select a real-life example or experience for the client to see this INFO in action. This step shifts the factual learning to real-world application. Clients should hear powerful professional stories of your own failed/successful attempts, or testimonials from previous clients who now apply this INFO in their own practice, or experience simulation opportunities to use the new knowledge/skill in low-risk situations.

      EXPLORE REFLECTION: Building from the INFO REFLECTION, create a before/after visual or chart. Write down the who, what, where, when, and why this INFO worked.  

      The third step to Taking a Teaching Approach is to allow the client to CREATE. This step includes your professional analysis on how this new knowledge/skill could successfully be used in their specific work. With each creative suggestion the client is encouraged to evaluate these possibilities to select where to start. Implementing smaller individual changes to their daily work life builds buy-in and motivates the learner to continue as they experience success. As more individuals apply their new knowledge/skill in useful and meaningful ways, the professionals begin to own the INFO rather than just following directions.

      CREATE REFLECTION: Continue building on these REFLECTIONS, and list the best-case, worst-case, outlandish, individual, small group and companywide scenarios where this INFO could be used in the short- and long-term.

      The final step to Taking a Teaching Approach is to SHARE. This is a crucial step in a learning process, and it involves the teacher being present along the journey to listen and mentor. Designing specific opportunities and setting the expectation for learners to SHARE questions, updates and risk stories with you, pushes the experience to the highest levels of teaching and learning. During this time consultants can quickly identify misconceptions, provide expert tailored advice, and assess clients on the continuum of understanding. Those clients that are ready to move on to the next steps can do so; those that need a quick reteach can receive it; and those that are floundering or resisting can be given mentoring to bring them along.

      SHARE REFLECTION: Finally, make a list of predictable pitfalls or blockades connected to using this INFO. Predict additional confusing key words/concepts and common misconceptions. Develop tools or techniques to support these: If client struggles with ___, then I can give them ___. Track clients’ needs, tools provided and growth.


Taking a Teaching Approach [INFO, EXPLORE, CREATE, SHARE ] encourages the client to invest in their own professional knowledge, increases motivation and satisfaction with the learning experience, and allows for deeper understanding of work skills needed for business success. If you are interested in attending the three-part workshop series, head to:

Taking a Teaching Approach Business Workshop (creativeacrossthecurriculum.com)
to learn more, to find dates/times, and to register!

Creative Across the Curriculum, LLC offers educational and curriculum design support to business professionals to create or improve the quality of their trainings for their employees or clients. Heather’s methodology focuses on allowing the learner to take risks, think creatively, problem solve and integrate ideas. Heather has over 20 years of teaching experience with a B.A. in studio art/art history, a master’s in education, and currently holds her National Board Professional Teaching Certificate.

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