The distinction that a self-help teacher needs to make and that the self-help student needs to know:
Am I (the teacher) sharing my own ideas, speculations, opinions, thoughts?
Am I sharing concepts and ideas that have scientific proof to attest to their veracity?
ACCURACY demands that a teacher reveal whether what is being taught is a theory/personal belief or a scientifically proven fact. ACCURACY also requires a leader to distinguish his/her own ideas from what another has proposed, giving credit to the originator of the ideas.
A gifted teacher who has a charismatic presence and teaches with conviction and authority is often believed without question. While a student may not require scientific verification to believe what is being taught, he/she has the right to know if the lesson is speculative, theoretical, or based on the personal opinions and beliefs of the teacher.
Accuracy simply requires transparency… Is this information fact or an opinion? Has this method been proven to create change through a scientifically tested process, or is the approach only being validated by the teacher and testimonials?
I personally love to hear other people’s success stories and I often find them inspirational. But I also want to know if the information has a basis beyond someone else’s personal experience. People often embrace change when they are ready to act, not solely because a certain idea was presented to them. The adage: “When the student is ready, the teacher shows up” seems to be verified by lots of research about the change process.
Personal change and growth is often based on faith in oneself and faith in an idea that may not necessarily be scientifically proven. There’s nothing wrong with that! But it’s important that we know what is proven truth and what is theory.
Self-help leaders: let us know what you know and how you know it. Let us know what you believe and why you believe it. Let us make up our minds about what we choose to believe, because we have been given accurate information.
Seekers: question your guru! Make the conscious decision to put faith in an idea rather than being told what to believe.