Golden Visions and Associates | Coaching for Success
Thought for the Week
Your Success Thought for the Week of September 29, 2010

Seven Soft Skills You Need To Win

You've worked hard to get where you are!  You are experienced and highly skilled in your field, yet not experiencing the success you envisioned.  Reviews aren't representative of your efforts.




You are one of the most highly educated professionals in your firm.  Ask any technical question and you've got the answer.  Yet when you meet with clients, things don't go so well.  Why do they always choose your competitor?




You've been highly successful in your chosen endeavor for years.  Now, things are changing quickly.  What worked in the form of motivation or negotiation yesterday no longer works.  What's happening? 


In spite of your diligent efforts, something is missing.


The answer is soft skills, which are not taught in school and a killer to success when missing.


Too many highly educated, technical, type 'A' individuals negate the importance of making people feel great when communicating with them. 


How does one master soft skills?  These invaluable skills are not something that can be faked.  You can't read a book and learn them over night.  It takes time, sincere effort, and practice.


Here are seven soft skills you must have in order to win, no matter your goal:


1.      Curiosity:  A client recently told me that she has difficulty being curious as she already has all of the answers. "Why ask anyone else?" Will this individual inspire creative thinking, cooperation, productivity?  Ask questions with eagerness and seek to learn.


2.      Genuine Interest: Don't kid yourself.  People know when you are actually interested in them or if you're merely after what they can offer.  Demonstrate interest by the type of questions you ask or topics you discuss.  Show that you sincerely want to know more.


3.      Appreciation:  Demonstrating appreciation for even the smallest efforts will help you win big.  People are not used to being seen.  When you show that their efforts are esteemed, you can see them almost rise out of their seat eager to do even more.


4.      Commonality:  This is a small world.  You would be hard pressed not to have something in common with whomever you are meeting.  Instead of differences, look for what you have in common: sports, hobbies, children, passions, goals, education.


5.      It's more about them than you:  When nervous or trying too hard to impress, we share too much data about how great our company is.  What people most want to know is how much you care about them, not how great you are.  Give them a reason to want to know more about you by showing how much you care about them.


6.      Humor:  Carefully placed humor is a welcome gift in today's world.  You'll be long remembered and always welcome if you are known as the person who lightened things up when pressure was building.  Children laugh 300 times a day while adults laugh only fifteen times, if that.  Look for ways to bring levity into surprising situations.


7.      Validation: Everyone wants their efforts to be validated, even those at the very top.  Look for excuses to validate not only those who report to you, but also associates and superiors.  "To build upon Nathan's great idea, let's..." "If Marilyn hadn't stepped up, we would never be as far as we are today!" 


Camaraderie is described as a feeling of close friendship and trust among a group of people.  With a focus on developing or enhancing your soft skills,  you'll create a sense of camaraderie wherever you go.  Now that's what I call winning.


I challenge you to select one of these skills to strengthen this week.  Watch for the surprise and gratitude of those whom benefit from your efforts and willingness to become better today than you were yesterday.

If you are challenged with this concept of 'perfecting your soft skills,' begin with taking small steps.  Hire one of our coaches to guide you.  At GV&A, we have a variety of skilled, talented, certified coaches to serve you. It can be fun and easier than you think to attain the success you are after.


To see more of my published articles, including '"Falling In Love...With Yourself," go to:

Golden Visions & Associates, Coaching for Executive and Leadership Success

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Permission is granted to either reproduce copy or distribute "Your Success Thought for the Week" for Sept. 29, 2010 as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author is attached. The author is Ann Golden Eglé, GV&A, Golden Visions & Associates, Coaching for Success, 541.385.8887, PO Box 1696, Bend, Or. 97709.