What is an Expert? …Asking the Right Questions

Have you noticed that there are a TON of  “experts” out there (particularly in the Social Media universe)… and that the term COACH has been overused, spat out and spun around?

I know from experience that I have have naively not asked the right questions lately, because of the old addage “I don’t know, what I don’t know”…. although the experts and self proclaimed coaches out there are counting on part of that to sign on the bottom line… which I have sadly and frustratingly done because of these self proclaimed “titles” versus actually doing the research.

Here is a well written by a Lorelle VanFossen, “What Gives You The Right To Tell Me” , with regards to defining this question: http://www.blogherald.com/2008/03/31/what-gives-you-the-right-to-tell-me/…. as well as a 5 point list on being an expert http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-be-an-expert-and-find-one-if-youre-not.html):

Knowledge: Clearly being an expert requires an immense working knowledge of your subject. Part of this is memorized information, and part of it is knowing where to find information you haven’t memorized.

Experience: In addition to knowledge, an expert needs to have significant experience working with that knowledge. S/he needs to be able to apply it in creative ways, to be able to solve problems that have no pre-existing solutions they can look up — and to identify problems that nobody else has noticed yet.

Communication Ability: Expertise without the ability to communicate it is practically pointless. Being the only person in the world who can solve a problem, time after time after time, doesn’t make you an expert, it makes you a slave to the problem. It might make you a living, but it’s not going to give you much time to develop your expertise — meaning sooner or later, someone with knowledge and communication ability is going to figure out your secret (or worse, a better approach), teach it to the world, and leave you to the dustbin of history (with all the UNIX greybeards who are the only ones who can maintain the giant mainframes that nobody uses anymore).

Connectedness: Expertise is, ultimately, social; experts are embedded in a web of other experts who exchange new ideas and approaches to problems, and they are embedded in a wider social web that connects them to people who need their expertise.

Curiosity: Experts are curious about their fields and recognize the limitations of their own understanding of it. They are constantly seeking new answers, new approaches, and new ways of extending their field.

From this, maybe others can learn from my mistakes.

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