Do you have a plan for a career make-over or a complete change? I know that many people are looking to change jobs, start a new career or just get away from the current job they have. I wanted to encourage you all to make sure when you are looking at doing this that you remember that the skills you learn from one job can be useful in the next. The skills can even make the transformation easier. I want to share with you how the transitions in my life have followed the same pattern even though they were very different results. What I learned from being a substance abuse counselor will take me from counselor to Job Coach and Trainer via ex-offenders.
There are a lot of skills that a person needs to have to make a transition and I feel my path is shaping up well for my next transition and hopefully landing me into the final transition. What are the skills that I learned I had to make this transition work?
1. 1. Learning to read people is the first and foremost skill I developed. If you do not know how to read people either in person or on the phone you might not be able to make the transition into the place you want to be. I learned to read people when I was a counselor, I took that skill and it has helped me read the ex-offenders I deal with today. Learning to read verbal and non-verbal language is a key aspect to learning what is expected of you from others. Helping individuals while being a trainer/job coach will utilize that skill to make sure the information being presented is being understood and internalized by the other person. I developed a strong “gut feeling” year ago and it succeeds more often than fails.
2. 2. Communication is a major key to life. When I am providing my trainings I try to make sure I am walking around keeping eye contact with everyone, talking loud enough to be heard and communicating the information using life events that most if not everyone can understand due to personal experience. I have been to trainings where the presenter stands in the front of the room, just flipping through slides and they put no humanity into it. Make a training/job coaching session almost like a counseling session, bring real life experience into it, ask the participants what experience they have had with the topic. Engagement through communication is a Win-Win.
3. 3. One thing I have learned through being a counselor is that everyone makes a mistake. That has come in handy when working with the ex-offenders. People make mistakes on the job and can benefit from some good strong job coaching. If everyone in the world refused to give another human being a second chance, there would be no one in our lives, we would all be hermits living under our solitary rock. Mistakes can be fixed and individuals can be remorseful of the mistakes, which leads to a better employee or trainee, but once others see that individual as a mistake, the damage is done and getting back in the good graces is nearly impossible. Just look at the ex-offenders I work with, without a chance to show life changes, they will re-offend just to get back to a safe place.
4. 4. I have heard of this concept of six degrees of separation, mainly around Kevin Bacon, but I truly believe that we are all just about 6 degrees of separation from each other. We all have similar life experiences; we can draw off the experiences of another to make a point. One example I use is about anger management. Who has never been angry or let down. Reaching a group and bringing a group consciousness around a topic while making it personal enough to make sense to everyone is a talent I developed which I know will help me become a great trainer/job coach.
5. 5. Coaching the coach is a lot like training the trainer, but my concept is around everyone has a story to tell, everyone has a lesson to learn, everyone has a lesson to teach. When I started out in the counseling field, all I had was a degree, no experience, but a desire to help individuals. The lessons I learned while being a counselor helped me develop my skills, learn from those who had been there and done that. Listening to the life lessons of others will help you in your own life, as long as you listen.
6. 6. I learned over and over again to listen for the meaning under the meaning, sort of like the question under the question. Dissecting the discussion before I respond helps me understand the true meaning of what another person needs. Looking into the reasons a person does what they do is one of the greatest life teachers an individual can run into.
Looking at your skill set’s from past jobs, and the skill set’s you use with those closest to you, I know you can find a way to better your job search, better your career and enhance your life.