Fighting the Curse of Knowledge

As a manager and leader, you coach. It’s a core skill. In fact, I’d suggest that if you can’t coach, you shouldn’t be a manager and you're not the most effective leader you can be for your organization.

When you get that first opportunity to manage and lead others, it’s not so hard to remember the skills you needed to be successful. That’s because you were there just yesterday, working alongside your team. You vividly remember what it was like to be in their shoes. You can coach your team because you have perspective.

The trouble doesn’t come until later. As you accumulate more experience and knowledge, you forget what it was like to be a beginner. You may even forget what it was like just a few years ago. You begin to feel the Curse of Knowlege: it becomes increasingly difficult for you to relate to those who are earlier in their careers.

When faced with this reality, many leaders will only coach those who are right behind them on the career path, not really making broad use of their experience and wisdom. But by doing so they are squandering a key opportunity to connect with their organization.

But that’s not you. You can fight the Curse. You can become a coach coach. Set yourself up with mentoring relationships at different levels of your organization over time, and help those mentees learn how to coach ... at their level. By regularly helping them improve their coaching skills you can continuously refresh your memory of what it was like to be in their shoes.

Just imagine how much more in tune your leaders would be if they practiced coach coaching at every level.

Give it a try. Fight the Curse of Knowledge.