Burch's Four Stages Of Competence

In this weeks' leadership model, we are taking a look at Burch's Four Stages Of Competence.

As a leader your role includes developing the future leaders of your business. With this in mind, it's helpful to take a look at Burch's Four Stages Of Competence.


This model is helpful to share with leaders as they are developing new talent.


Some tips for leaders developing talent

  • Reflect on your own journey

  • How did you move through the stages of competence

  • What were your pain points?

  • What were your highlights?


This is a great exercise for developing empathy with the emotion of those coming through the leadership pipeline.


It's also useful to remember that everyone is unique, so although the leader might have their own journey, they can't be sure of the journey their future talent is taking. So, as with many models, one of the keys to success here is communication. Asking questions and learning about how the future leader is experiencing the transition, holding a safe space for vulnerability and growth to enable the future leader to share where they are and their hopes and concerns for moving to the next stage.


Tips For Using Burch's Four Stages Of Competence


  • Use the model and share your story with your upcoming talent - story telling is a connecting experience, it also shows a little vulnerability from the leader which is great for future leaders to hear

  • Ask the future leader to tell you about a growth experience they've had from unconscious incompetence right through to unconscious competence (driving is one we use a lot)

  • Ask them to reflect on the painpoints and highlights

  • Now connect this to their leadership journey, where are they? What do they need to move forward?

This simple model is so helpful for opening discussions on talent, creating common ground between leaders and future leaders and is a great coaching tool to focus a development conversation.

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