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Soft Skills In the IT Environment 'Part 2 of 2

by Carole Nicolaides, Copyright 2002, All Rights Reserved
www.progressiveleadership.com

In part one of this article, we covered the importance of soft skills, especially for those in the information technologies vocations. After qualifying the advantages of implementing soft skills into IT management, we left one question unanswered. Where do you find soft skills training? That will be the topic we focus on during this article.

As a business leader, I'm sure you understand the benefits of continuing education. However, I have no doubt that you also struggle with an overly full schedule that may prevent you from attending workshops and implementing the concepts you have learned.

Richard Boyatzis, co-author of Primal Leadership; Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence suggests that executives who can incorporate coaching into their daily routines have the potential of bringing a metamorphosis in their respective organizations. Coaching is a relatively new, yet proven, form of mentoring/consulting that has brought about tremendous improvements in the professional lives of countless executives over the last several years.

Even for those leaders who have exceptionally full schedules, coaching can be the route that leads to success in a number of areas 'including the implementation of career-boosting soft skills. Yes' I said 'career boosting' soft skills.

According to a July 23, 1999 article in Computing Canada Magazine, '"The single most common requirement (of managers) is to hire individuals with very good interpersonal communications skills and business sense," said David Tighe, Canadian area manager for RHI Consulting Inc.
That's backed up by a recent RHI survey of 1,400 CIOs in the United States. Twenty-seven per cent said interpersonal skills are the most important factor for reaching management levels in the IT field. Advanced technical skills ranked second and customer service orientation ranked third.'

Does coaching really work? Even the most skeptical of people have been impressed. One Associated Press article reports this occurrence: 'When his boss first offered him a coach, Ken Saji, a director for MTV Networks, hedged a bit. "I didn't want anything touchy-feely," he says.

The 30-year-old, who considers himself a bit of an introvert, wanted to show more leadership in meetings. His coach suggested he build on his analytical nature to become an "active listener," who distills what's been said and offers new suggestions.

"I feel I perform 100 percent better in the areas we worked on," Saji says. "I'm now much more confident and more self-aware." -

Coaching can be conducted via telephone, email, or in person, so regardless of the pace of your schedule, there is always time to improve. Considering the results coaching brings to the table, the investment of time and money are both well worth it.

About the Author
Carole Nicolaides is president and founder of Progressive Leadership, Inc., an executive coaching firm. She assists companies in creating high-performance teams and leaders that produce outstanding results. Discover her free ezine, teleclass training and consulting in Knowledge Management, Coaching and Leadership Development when you visit http://www.progressiveleadership.com.


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