Mastering The 4 Stages of Learning

Written by on June 22, 2014

Last week we talked about the 4 Stages of Learning.  This week we will talk about what your team needs from you, as a coach, to be unconsciously competent in their performance.  They need 4 things from you to get to stage 4.  They need a vision, a plan, repetition, and a cheerleader.

1.  The Vision.  This is simply crystalizing what they bring to the organization.  It is not a mission statement or a daylong seminar.  It is helping people see themselves as an integral part of the team.  It’s creating a picture of what it looks like when they are “up to speed”.  It is also called “futuring” them.

2.  The Plan.  What exactly is needed for them to be more proficient in their position?  What do they need to be better at? What action is needed for their growth? Is it research? Talking to other employees? Studying? Talking to clients? Reading a particular book? Reading internal memos?  Also, what is a reasonable time line for their learning curve?  That should definitely be part of the plan.

3.  Repetition.  Let’s add feedback as well.  Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. I heard Cindy Bristow, founder of Softball Excellence, once say “only perfect practice makes perfect.”  So true!   If you don’t meet regularly with your people and give them the feedback, they will just get better and doing it wrong.  You must provide constructive criticism and have the crucial conversations needed to move people to stage 4.

4.  Lastly, you must be a cheerleader.  What?  You didn’t sign up to be a cheerleader?  You don’t have the time, energy, or the patience to get people up to speed? Then you have 2 options.  1. Surround yourself with very competent people that can serve as a buffer and help you or 2.  Continue to lose great people to other opportunities.  I know this might seem harsh but the most important job of a leader is to develop other people.  Spending time helping other people grow in their position is the true job description of leadership.  The payoff?  Parlaying your knowledge and finding the right people that will be able to grow the company or team has infinite possibilities.  It will provide exponential growth.  Not doing it, is one of the reasons leaders and companies fail.