No one likes to make mistakes.
Unfortunately, mistakes are a great training tool
Over the last few weeks I have been learning a lot. Between learning a new test at work, developing my painting skills, and learning new songs for my band I am spending a lot of time trying to develop new skills. Which means I am making a lot of mistakes.
I HATE to make mistakes. When I am training someone in something new I remember how I started, and how many mistakes I made at the beginning. So I am very much aware that the person I am training has little to no experience with something that I am very comfortable with. Since I myself have such an issue with mistakes I try to be realistic. I expect that they are going to take some wrong turns, and I make sure to focus on the positive so I am not shutting them down.
The problem with mistakes is the shut down afterwards. That initial reaction to someone’s mistake or our own is, in my opinion, the tipping point between scaring someone and invigorating them to continue. If their is an immediate strong negative reaction when a mistake is made the likelihood of that person being as invested in whats they are learning decreases. But if the reaction is supportive and leading then they are more aware of the issue in a positive way.
Associating a mistake with a negative reaction will generally stop someone from wanting to continue. Obviously, this type of reaction is good for things like touching a hot object or running with scissors. But when its applied to learning a new skill like riding a bike. A slip and fall met with an angry outburst is not all that encouraging. It takes all of two seconds to take a deep breath and react with patience while someone is learning. Remember that its not the end of the world, and the next time you are teaching someone try to make the experience fun! They are more likely to stay invested if they feel excited versus frustrated.