Choosing Your Teachers Wisely

I recently inquired about a personal development training program and spoke directly to the facilitator and owner of the program. During the 10 minute call, I experienced a visceral, strong, negative reaction to the instructor himself. I believe that the program itself would have given me serious benefit, but I came away from the conversation thinking that no matter how good the material
or the experience was going to be, I would be chafing under his arrogant persona. After speaking personally with his references, my suspicions were confirmed. The folks that he placed in his marketing materials as references vouched for the materials he presents, but would not vouch for him personally as an instructor or a person.


Can you and I learn from a teacher who is arrogant and doesn’t “walk his talk”? I think the short answer is “Yes”. But from a discernment perspective, I’ll suggest that you ask the Lord if that individual is someone from who you should be learning. It’s one thing to look at a seminar or training class or book or video series or <insert educational experience here> and say, “I need this content and think it will help me”. But it is quite another to say “this person is someone who should have teaching influence in my life, even if it is only for a few days”. The latter approach, I believe, is more Socratic and more discerning. In every instructional exchange, not only do you learn didactic information from a teacher, but you will also “catch” attitudes and ways of viewing the world. Who teaches you is just as important as what they teach. You will catch the who and learn the what. Some will disagree with me on this point, I understand that.

As I age, I want an instructor who is ahead of me. I want my teachers to be farther along with the Lord than I am. And I want honesty in marketing and humility in competence. I want to learn – but I also want to “catch” at least as much as I learn. Am I asking for too much?

I don’t think so.

Bill English, CEO