What is Soft Skills Training?
In the past, Soft skills training and learning was used to refer to manager, leader, influencing, and other interpersonal skills. In recent years the term soft skills is being increasingly used to refer to EQ or Emotional Quotient based training and development.
Can you live on Soft Skills alone?
Hard skills, or technical skills are all very well on their own, but it is widely recognised that to use hard skills effectively, an individual needs finely tuned soft skills.
It has been said that the best way to understand the difference between hard and soft skills:
The hard skills on you CV will get you the interview, the soft skills will get you the job at interview
The difference that makes the difference – why soft skills matter
Many people have the PMI certification, a degree from a well know institute, a chartered engineer or accountant or other qualification or certification. Often the difference between an average performing professional and a great performer is not the hard skills, but the soft skills in applying the harder knowledge or skills. For we rarely work alone, and it is our ability to collaborate, to work with others and get things done with and through others that is the difference that makes the difference
The soft skills gap
In many aspects of a job there are cycles, beginning, middles and ends. These can be the sale through to retention for a sales team, learning needs identification through to having people apply learning in the training world, Effective managers but few effective leaders etc. These are examples of soft skills gaps
Closing soft skills gaps
Unlike “hard” training needs, a short course cannot “fix” a soft skills gap. Certainly a short session can provide individuals or teams with some tools and techniques. But it is the coaching and feedback in real situations that help to grow and develop the soft skills. A kick-start from a soft skills workshop can certainly accelerate the change process, but do not expect a person to “see the light” and change after a 4hr session! They have been developing their current practice for a life time, and habits can take a while to change…. For soft skills are habits as much as skills.
Do habits drive soft skills?
A habit is defined as:
“a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way”
And it is often the application of these skills that is the challenge, not the extent to which we have the skill. For example many of us when young are very confident, are clear at public speaking, can ask challenging questions, can make new relationships (friends), but we lose our ability to deliver them effectively. This is why tools and techniques can help; they give us something tangible to focus our change on, and re-ignite the skills and abilities within.
Soft skills are often considered to include:
- Ability to act promptly
- Ability to lead others
- Ability to learn and update one’s knowledge
- Art of presentation
- Conflict management
- Effective Communication
- Emotional intelligence
- Empathy and E.Q.
- Friendly nature
- Greeting & meeting people (breaking the ice)
- Oral competence
- Positive Attitude
- Problem solving with others
- Respect for others
- Sense of humour
- Sense of responsibility