Skip to content

The Four Stages of Competence

December 28, 2014

Whether choosing to learn an additional skill, develop a new habit, or embark on a new career, there are phases we all go through –– stages, up until the point when there is ease and things simply flow. This model (below) was taught within my NYU coaching program/training and it is something I often share with my clients. PLUS, I can relate, have first hand experience with this model and the stages within my career as a coach (the early days), with the tea business, and many other new things––I have experienced all stages of competence. And I can say, it has been humbling up until, of course, the phase of Unconscious Competence.

Here are The Four Stages of Competence – from the beginning to the point when we feel competent, unconsciously, when the new activity is an absolute breeze.

1) Unconscious Incompetence

The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage.[2] The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.[3]

2) Conscious Incompetence

Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.[4]

3) Conscious Competence

The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.[3]

4) Unconscious Competence

The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

To learn more, or to manage change and new beginnings with ease, give a call or send me an email,

~ Connie Pappas

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: