Teaching vs. Training

I think too many companies focus on training people. When you train people you focus on the “how” of something. Here’s how to use the software. Here’s how to follow the procedures. Here’s how to use this system.

It’s not that people don’t need some of that. It’s just that most of those things change. Software gets upgraded. New procedures are introduced. Then what? More training on how to do it the new way.

I think we need to focus on teaching people not just training them. When you teach people, you guide them not just on the “how” of what they’re doing but on the “why.” You encourage them to ask, challenge, learn and grow. You encourage them to understand – not just follow directions.

So why don’t more companies teach rather than train?

Because it’s harder. You have to invest in people, not just procedures. You have to care about their growth, not just their ability to function.

I’ve worked with people who have been trained. They’re rigid and rote. They don’t adapt well to change. They need consistency and structure because they were trained to operate it those conditions. Change the conditions or environment and they appear nothing short of panicked.

Have you ever heard a child ask a parent “Why” and the parent responds with “Because I said so”? That’s what training is. Don’t ask questions. Don’t do it differently. Do it this way because I said so. Kids sometimes need that. Adults rarely do.

Stop telling people how and start discussing the why.

You train animals. You teach people.

Question: Do you find yourself training or teaching others?