Sometimes we’re interested in furthering our horizons in areas that don’t offer degrees and where teachers cannot easily be located. How can you find the right help, while weeding out the fakes and wannabes?
People tend to be eager when it comes to bestowing labels and titles upon themselves that they have neither earned nor even remotely represent. Sometimes the “unconventional” instructors or teachers tend to be even more ego-driven than one would expect from those who should “know better.” Many claim to be an expert and have “years of experience,” which can neither be substantiated nor really proven.
So here are a few ways to discover those who are worth to be sought out and deserve the fees they may charge.
It’s easy to build a website and dazzle people with stories of success that cannot possibly be validated. Sometimes, less is more! If someone claims to have 20 years of experience, find out where and with whom. Look for testimonials (the more the better, preferably over a longer time span) and shop around! Know that some of the most gifted people do not advertise and get most of their clientele via word-to-mouth and referrals. If someone is excellent in their field, others will make sure to spread the word.
Any teacher, instructor or adviser should be able to walk the walk; and in some areas it is absolutely necessary to lead by example; if you want to get in shape, you don’t pick a trainer who is totally out of shape. It is difficult to respect someone who instructs you to do a certain thing and claims lots of knowledge in a field, when they can’t demonstrate how their knowledge actually works in their own life.
Yes, I am well aware that some people are great in giving advice and are absolutely incapable of following their own words, but generally, that type doesn’t charge you tons of money for their wisdom and doesn’t claim to be “an expert with a proven track record.”
Some areas don’t require that you walk the walk, i.e. people like Laura Schlessinger! However…I would argue that any type of knowledge that is supposed to show results requires someone who can SHOW you how and INSPIRE you to do the same!
The “real deal” tends to have a certain air of quiet confidence around them. They don’t have to state mastery, because there is something that makes you sense that they are truly gifted. In other words, if someone is “the s***” you’ll know it! Think Mr. Miyagi in the “Karate Kid.”
A gifted coach, trainer, teacher, instructor, etc. will make it about you! This is how it has to be if they charge you money. A therapist who starts talking about their own issues or stories while counseling you is a huge red flag. A proper teacher will give you the tools to do it yourself, without becoming reliant on them, without making it about themselves and without boasting about their own accomplishments, while charging you for it. Pay attention to their written and spoken word, as it usually holds the key to whom a person truly is.
I am all about getting help for one’s issues. As a matter of fact, the more helpers, the better. I am firm believer in coaches, instructors, teachers, masters or whatever else one may want to call them. I have learned that the proper ones will instruct me, not do the work for me. They listen and advise, but don’t make excuses for me or let me get away with my stuff. They demonstrate with their words, actions and whole being why I should be doing the same and therefore inspire me to keep going, while really noticing results.
The best teachers/instructors were those who had a lasting impact on my life, the way I view the world, the people in it and myself; and they inspired me to keep going, even, or especially, when I felt like giving up. They pushed me to surpass and overcome my own stopping points and continue aiding me in becoming the person I aspire to be, inside and out.