Has anyone thought about using professional help to improve your communication skills?
A friend of mine is on the executive track and hopes to be a Vice President of the large highly successful organization he is working for. He has decided to hire a professional image consultant and couch to work on his appearance, communication skills, political skills, and approach. It is not cheap but he thinks it will work in the end because hard work and technical knowledge alone is not going to get him ahead in today's competitive world.
What would you think of hiring a professional executive coach if you were moving into senior management?
Asked By: Jane W - 9/4/2008
Although I don't work in a managerial field or executive field...or for that matter an office, I think, based on my understandings and attitude, that this would be a good idea. Increasingly, more and more emphasis is being placed on appearance and how well you can "sell yourself" - I've been repeatedly told how vital that capacity to sell yourself truly is. It's more seen as a "requirement" to have the knowledge and skills - and the ability to project that and demonstrate it, and the professional appearance are becoming the keys to really scraping further across the line.
I think in such a position too, the training would be useful in his actual job...a lot of demand would be placed on effective communication, political correctness and the appropriate approach - right from the get-go, the chiefs would want to see his ability to do that. Might be an extreme example, but if you have a highly talented and intelligent individual but he has all the tact of a pitbull and swears like a wharfie, he won't get through. Some time ago, for sure, but now days - no way.
I've had a degree of communication and leadership training in my roles.
One of my two (paid) roles is as a pilot and flying instructor. Right from low level general aviation up to the airlines, there is ENORMOUS emphasis on communication and appearance...so much is weighted on these, both in the interview and initial stages and in day to day work. As a flying instructor too, effective communication is vital - there's no point in me knowing my theory inside out and flying like an ace if I can't actually teach it and communicate that information to my students. So, a lot of my training for that role was similar to the above. It's probably a different slant to business communication coaching, but it's a similar thread.
Also, I'm a team leader in the Fire & Rescue service...and in this role (I was only recently promoted), effective communication is critical. I've been taught a lot of the above - communication, politics and the like - a lot of it is so I can face and deal with the media at an incident if I need - and so in that role, can project a professional image of the service to the public if I go on TV or am quoted in a newspaper.
At the same time, I need professionalism and leadership to be able to do my role and maintain team confidence - so people feel safe working with me and under my guidance. My firefighting and technical rescue skills let me do the job at hand - but now that I'm in a leaders role, my portfolio has had to be expanded out to image as well...
So basically to sum up, I think it's a good idea. 20 years ago, I'd have not bothered - but the modern world has such emphasis based on appearance, I believe that at the least it will give him an important edge and at most, be vital to such a role.
Answered By: Bert from Oz - 9/5/2008