Character grows Competence

Character over Competence

“The measure of a great coach is not how many degrees you have or how many book you’ve written – it’s achieving positive, measurable results.” – Marshall Goldsmith, #1 Leadership Thinker & Executive Coach

Great results are achieved through healthy relationships, based on mutual respect and trust. Trust is the confidence in someone’s competence and character. While degrees, books or certifications attest someone’s competence, character can neither be learnt nor certified. A trustworthy character is built from within, based on effective lasting principles such as integrity, loyalty, honesty and transparency – all deeply rooted within us.

While character grows competence, the reverse is not necessarily true. If we trust in someone’s character, we also trust that (s)he will up their competences as needed. 

Competence is accredited through certification, while character is accredited through commendation. For instance, when we choose medical doctors, do we ask for their certification? And if so, do we know the ivy league medical schools we should look for? As we may answer both questions with “No”, we generally choose medical doctors based on their commendation, their reviews and recommendations from other people we know and trust. Since choosing a doctor, in whom we entrust our life, is driven by commendation rather than certification, why not choosing a candidate, a coach or a company based on commendation rather than certification? Business is lead and run by people. Sustainably successful business is generated through healthy relationships between people who trust each other’s character and commendation. Competence and certifications define what we have; character and commendation however, define who we are. “If you are what you have, who are you when you lose what you have?” asked Erich Fromm.

We tend to make rational decisions based on someone’s competence and certification, while we may get further by making intuitive decisions based on someone’s character and commendation. As Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Follow your gift; build your character and commendation – and see those two in others.

Our personality displays who we are on the outside. Our character represents who we truly are inside. While a personality can be faked, our character is what we are really made of.

“Your success stops where your character stops. You can never rise above the limitations of your character.” – John C. Maxwell

In the long run, Character grows Competence and Commendation wins over Certification.

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