The 4 Stages of Competency | Southwestern Coaching

The 4 Stages of Competency with Ron Alford: Southwestern Coaching Mastermind from Southwestern Consulting on Vimeo.

In this clip from our Southwestern Coaching Mastermind Webinar Series, Ron Alford—Senior Partner and Vice President of Recruiting at Southwestern Consulting—shares an overview of the four stages of competency:

  • Unconscious incompetence: These are things you don’t know you don’t know—or as Ron calls it, the stage of “blissful ignorance.”
  • Conscious incompetence: Once you’re aware that something is missing, you’ve entered the second stage: conscious incompetence. To reach this point, we may rely on external sources (family and friends, coaches, books, etc.) to point out something we’re missing. Introspection can also reveal ways to improve or new skills to work on.
  • Conscious competence: This type of competency is like following a recipe for the first time. You have all the information you need to do the steps and complete the task, but it’s an exercise to focus your attention and get it right. You know what you should be doing, but doing that thing is mechanical and deliberate.
  • Unconscious competence: At this stage, you’ve cooked the recipe so much you don’t even have to think about it. You just do it—no need to refer to a list of ingredients and instructions. This is the stage most people strive for as high performers. You’re in the flow because what you’ve practiced so many times is now just a part of you!

Understanding each stage and identifying where you currently are is essential to developing new skills and transforming those abilities into second-nature habits. This is a long-term process, and as Ron points out in the webinar, repetition is one of the most important ways to advance from one level of competency to the next.

Ready to Learn More?

Sign up for Southwestern Coaching’s Mastermind Program today to access monthly training modules and accompanying videos. You’ll also be invited to attend our exclusive monthly interactive webinar series led by executive and elite-level sales and leadership coaches.

The Monthly Mastermind Webinar Series is also open to all current one-on-one Southwestern Coaching Clients! Current clients who have not yet registered for these interactive, live trainings can email us at [email protected] or contact their coach for more information.