Tag Archives: technical knowledge

Beginning of Competence

“What’s the difference between training and coaching?” I asked.

Melanie was a new manager. “I’ve been to training,” she replied. “It’s scheduled, it has a curriculum, it’s disciplined. Someone thought through the sequence of learning, identified specific skills.”

“And, when you emerged from the training program, certificate of completion in hand, did that make you a high performer?”

“That’s was my impression,” Melanie said. “But, that impression turned out to be wrong. The training gave me insight into the way we do things around here, but I was certainly not a high performer.”

“You seem to be comfortable in what you are doing now,” I nodded. “That wasn’t the result of the training?”

“Not hardly. I learned, possessed some technical knowledge about our methods and process, but I was very much a newbie.”

“Technical knowledge, but not competence? On the other hand, you appear competent now. What happened?”

“Practice,” Melanie smiled. “Technical knowledge will only get you so far. Competence requires taking those first steps, hands on, then practice, lots of practice.”

Two Parts to a Skill, Knowledge is Only One

Hiring Talent Summer Camp (online) starts June 20, 2016. Follow this link – Hiring Talent – for course description and logistics. Pre-register today. See you online. -Tom
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“We were excited about this new hire,” Erica announced.

“Why all the excitement?” I asked.

“We were searching for just the right candidate, with experience on our software. We finally found one, he started last week,” she explained.

“So, why am I here?”

“We wondered if you could help us. Our new hire seems to know all the technical ins and outs of our software, but he can’t seem to solve even the simplest of problems with it.”

“How do you know he that he understands the software?” I probed.

“Well, he has two certifications in it, fundamentals and advanced. During the interview, he walked us through some of the software screens and he could explain what each of the menu items does. I was quite impressed,” Erica defended.

“So, he has the training, he can speak the language, you believe he has the skill. But there is still something missing. You know, skill comes in two parts. The first part is the technical knowledge. But the second part is practice. In the interview, did you ask questions about practice? Not, how does the software work, but what problems he solved using the software? How many problems he solved using the software? How big were the problems using the software? How different were the problems using the software? Did you have the candidate step you through some of the problems he solved?”