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Communication Coach: Business leaders are teachers

September 1, 2021 -  By
Photo: Mykyta Dolmatov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: Mykyta Dolmatov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Business leaders bring diverse talents and experiences to their companies. Some are good with numbers and budgeting. Others have a knack for streamlining workflow with systems that produce efficiencies. Yet most have a gift for teaching, a talent that seems to rise above the rest. Innovative ideas or a brilliant vision will not amount to anything if you cannot teach people how to put them to good use.

When I launched my landscaping business, I was able to sell my ideas to our earliest customers because that’s what I had been doing for the previous 10 years. Making the leap from enterprise sales to entrepreneurship was indeed scary, but the path was familiar. I only needed to adapt the playbook to different types of buyers.

As my business grew, I discovered my true talent wasn’t sales or marketing or even landscape design. It was teaching others how to develop their talents, which greatly surpassed mine.

Make teaching your superpower

Making the shift from what you consider to be your superpower, to teaching it, demands that you acquire a deeper understanding of it.

Think back to your days in the classroom. What were the qualities that made certain teachers your favorites? They cared about you, were patient, forgiving, smart and probably made you smile now and then. Most importantly, those teachers somehow inspired you to think bigger, and that’s what all of us should be doing. Thinking bigger may be about business growth, but it can also be about greater community involvement and more meaningful working relationships.

In other words, it can be anything you want it to be. Revisit your business goals to discover what you would most like to reinvigorate.

Teaching adults is a collaboration

Adult learning is different from what many of us experienced in the classroom. I’m told that nowadays, college students will walk out of a lecture if the professor does not engage them from the start.

It turns out the key to effectively teaching adults is backing up your curriculum with why they should care. Let’s take buyers as an example.

Our company’s goal was to take our design-build buyers further than they thought was possible. The secret to doing so was pretty simple – involve them in a collaborative process that puts them in control of their destiny.

By showing prospective buyers how our process worked, we earned their trust. They willingly took actions that were in their best interest because we taught them why they were necessary.

Nearly every business challenge can be fixed by adopting a teaching model. This may be teaching customers how to buy from you. It may be teaching talented people why your organization is the right one for them at this stage of their career. Many of us do not have formal training in sales, marketing or human resources. But we’ve all had teachers that made a difference in our lives. And we can pay that forward.

Teach people to care and you will grow your business.

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Jeff Korhan

About the Author:

Jeff Korhan is the author of Built-In Social, founder of Landscape Digital Institute, and a Duct Tape Marketing Certified consultant. Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms. Learn more at

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