So you want to make an online course (or coach, or teach online in any other way). Shouldn’t you have a university degree and at least five years professional experience before you have the right to call yourself a teacher, trainer or coach? Do you need qualifications to create an online course?
Nope. And in this post I’ll explain why.
Before I go on, I want to let you know this is something I’ve struggled with myself. I still do struggle with it from time to time. And I do have teaching and training qualifications (yes, go figure!) But there’s always something you aren’t technically qualified to do and if you let the qualifications gremlin have his way your confidence will take a beating. Plus you might never get around to helping those people that need what you do know.
Teaching, training or coaching online is different from ‘traditional’ teaching in that people want solutions to problems rather than a well-rounded education. Yes, having some professional experience and qualifications will give you credibility, but what really matters is that you can enable people to solve their problems.
There have been times – before I taught online – when I’ve taught a class and have been only a few pages ahead of my students. Two examples come to mind, the first when I was a new teacher and had to teach electronics to a class of fifteen-year-olds – something I hadn’t done at that level in years. The second was the first time I taught an Excel advanced course and spent the previous day cramming so I survived the day! True, neither were exactly my finest teaching experiences and I didn’t do this unless I really had to, but both groups came away being able to do things they couldn’t do before. They learned what they needed and wanted to know from those sessions. My point is that even qualified professionals have to ‘wing it’ sometimes.
Qualifications won’t protect you from ever having to leave your comfort zone. Nothing can do that.
If you’re like me you live in a culture where education and qualifications are highly prized. Before I do anything new that involves earning an income I feel I need to get a certificate to prove I’m capable. And sometimes that’s true, after all you wouldn’t want to see a doctor who’d never been to University! But for many of the courses we sell online, our students and clients are more likely to want practical, actionable information. To learn from our experience.
If our clients wanted ‘book learning’ they’d just buy the book.
What might your clients/students want from you? A shortcut? To save time? Help to get past the mental blocks that are derailing their plans? A listening ear? To know that someone believes in them? Confirmation that they are on the right track? A community of like-minded people? To pass an exam? Whatever it is, it’s a whole lot broader and more complex than ‘someone with a certificate’.
So next time the you-aren’t-qualified-to-do-that gremlin pops up, grab a nice, heavy hard-backed book and swat him with it! 🙂
If you’ve found this post helpful I’d love it if you could share it with someone who is battling their own qualifications gremlin!