Last week, Jimmy Greaves sadly passed away. A footballing legend, Jimmy scored over 350 goals in the old First Division, far more than any other player either before or since, and 44 goals for England in just 57 games. By all accounts he was the greatest natural goal scorer English football has ever produced.

I read an interview with Jimmy, where he was asked how he found it so easy to score. “I don’t know,” was his succinct and honest response, “I just can.” In other words, Jimmy’s unique ability was so wired into him he did not have to give it any conscious thought – he was the epitome of unconscious competence.

In his later life, Glenn Campbell suffered from dementia. I saw him play on his final UK tour. At times it was uncomfortable watching him struggle to remember the names of his band and he even needed help finding his way off the stage. Yet, he played the lead guitar break in Wichita Lineman effortlessly. He didn’t need to think about it at all, it was all wired into his fingers.

Greaves could never have been a coach – he wouldn’t be able to help his players improve their play – and Campbell was not able to teach the guitar. These experts in their field could walk-the-walk, but they couldn’t talk-the-walk; they couldn’t unpack or explain how to do what they did.

If you’re a leader of a team and want to coach and develop your people, you must be able to talk-the-walk, not just walk-the-walk. What steps are you taking to understand, process and articulate your skills and ways of working, so that you can help others improve their performance?

Off The Record: Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell

And I need you more than want you

And I want you for all time

And the Wichita Lineman

Is still on the line

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