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The skills ladder is a neat, three-stage model for introducing skills, and driving performance. We usually use it in a coaching environment, but it’s great for use with your teams, or even working on your own performance.

You wouldn’t take a complete newcomer to the violin, and put them straight into a concert. You’d want to make sure their skills were in the right place to help them deal with the situation, and it’s exactly the same in business. Follow these steps to help equip your people for the task in hand. We’ll use the example of ‘passing a football’, as we go through this example.

1.  Components   

Make sure your team is clear on the fundamentals of the skill, remembering that this could include use of some tools or structure. Explain and discuss these in a meaningful way that they can  relate to.

When passing a football, the components might be to do with their balance, getting their head over the ball, and focusing on making sure their boot hits the back of the ball and follows through in the desired direction.

2.  Conditioning

This is to do with encouraging them to use the skill in a safe, secure environment and beginning to introduce a small amount of pressure. Practice makes permanent, so it’s a good way to start embedding the skill.

When passing a football, this could include practicing and then setting the expectation of completing so many passes in a limited time.

3.  Diversions

Once the skills are practised, it’s time to put them under some pressure to make sure they will stand up in the field.  You wouldn’t start the whole upskilling process with diversions and pressure because this could impact their confidence. But once they know the components and have had the chance to practice, it’s a good thing to stress-test the skill. Diversions happen all the time, meetings don’t go to plan etc and so it’s important that the skills can be used in difficult environments.

When passing a football, this could be the introduction of a defender, who might get progressively more competitive.

To discuss how to create a high performance environment, please do get in touch.