Meet People Where They Are
Coaches and Instructors have a common expression to capture how best to share knowledge: Meet People Where They Are.
Helping people learn requires an understanding of what they already know before offering new information and instruction. Leaders who fail to grasp this idea often stifle learning by glossing over critical understandings and basic skills.
In order to develop a team member’s skills, a leader must start at the current skill level, not where they want it to be or think it should be. By gauging the current proficiency of those they develop, leaders are able to calibrate their coaching to match where people are.
When leaders begin at the same starting point as team members, understanding and skill development accelerates. When leaders skip over important insights team members have yet to obtain, they suffocate learning. Because no one wants to be seen as a knucklehead, team members feign that they understand when they really don’t. This frustrates everyone.
Coaching others to success demands leaders accept the current reality. This means the reality of others, not the leader’s sense of things. Understanding what people know and are ready to hear and learn is the key. The best leaders accept where others are first and start the race from there.