Are You Up to Speed on Soft Skills?

By Mary Verstraete

Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center has concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills).

While soft skills are increasingly becoming the hard skills of today’s workforce, many people continue to come to organizations without them.

The National Careers Service advocates the following soft skills that employers want:  

  • Communication

What makes it important? Skilled communicators get along well with colleagues, listen and understand instructions, and put their point across without being aggressive. They can change their style of communication to suit the task in hand, whether it’s handling conflict or collaborating with a client. Good communicators should be able develop constructive working relationships with colleagues and be able to learn from constructive criticism.

  • Team Player

Have the ability to work with a team to achieve goals and have the qualities of being open, honest, and listen to others.

  • Compassionate, empathetic, sensitive, and human, creating a safe psychological space.

Did you know that this combination is sought after by companies like Google? Google recently commissioned a three-year study called Project Aristotle that attempted to determine the factors of a productive team. Findings were:

High-performing teams had high social sensitivity characterized by trust, mutual respect, and real connections.

Additional soft skills listed include:

  • Personal accountability
  • Teamwork
  • Negotiation skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Flexibility
  • Problem solving
  • Interpersonal relations (mentoring, coaching, etc.)

Since soft skills are important for your personal fulfillment, professional development and success, assessing your soft skills is an ideal place to begin identifying the areas that would be beneficial in your personal and professional development.

Filling the gap in your soft skills. Did you know that coach training is an ideal step in the direction of developing soft skills? A high standard of coach training will help you develop understanding of:

  • The nature and structure of a conversation to help you navigate in collaboration, conflict, and decision-making situations
  • Questions that generate rapport
  • How to establish trust that creates an environment of openness and honest dialogue
  • The tools to build team synergy that promote innovation
  • Giving constructive feedback that is received with appreciation
  • Values that envelop and create a compassionate, empathetic, sensitive, and a safe psychological space for conversation

Key phrase in this suggestion is “a high standard of in-depth coach training.” As with any profession, mastery is developed over time and is fostered through skilled trainers facilitating information, application, guidance, and investment in your personal and professional development.

Your future is important and pursuing the development of your soft skills will serve you well in your future endeavors, not only professionally, but also personally.