Looking Back At 2017
Seriously, I’m in the future and I’m looking back at 2017. My top Strength is called Futuristic®. Futuristic® translates to Visionary. I’ve always seen down the road further than most people. This skill serves my coaching clients well when I'm working with them on developing a career road map that will impact their career future.
Look at a few "C" level job descriptions. Leadership job descriptions routinely ask for Visionary, Strategic, Leadership.
To make this delivery even more powerful, I slip in my number 2 Strength, Strategic®. When I add this strength to my Futuristic®, I’m able to not only see down the road, I’m also able to build strategic paths to get from here to there.
Futuristic® IN Dallas, Texas
Four years ago, I spoke at a technology event in Dallas, Texas. Following my talk, a "C" suite executive came from the back of the room to speak with me. He recognized my Futuristic® message and said: "I need that". When I asked what it was that he needed, he replied, "I need all of that and whatever you might have in your back pocket."
I've been privileged to work with this "C" suite executive in a coaching capacity ever since. This is where he is today after working with me to understand his Strengths, to improve his Self-Awareness and to improve his Emotional Intelligence.
Just to be fair, it turns out that the person who made his way from the back of the room is also Futuristic® and Strategic® as I am. We've worked hard to achieve what you just read above. This is not how the "C" Suite leader was thinking when we first met.
Futuristic® in Denver, Colorado
Just over three years ago, I stood in front of a group of smart cyber security professionals as their invited speaker. I talked to this group about the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) or sometimes called, Emotional Quotient, (EQ) and how working with a skilled Emotional Intelligence Coach to develop higher EQ would become a career differentiating decision.
Futuristic® in Las Vegas, Nevada
Three years ago, this month, I stood in front of a group of “C” Suite executives in Las Vegas as a speaker. I talked to this group about moving past sole reliance on their high IQs to develop high EQ as well. Did anybody hear me? Yes, a few people did.
Articles I’ve read recently predicting the future in 2020 and 2025 suggest that Emotional Intelligence is a hot skill to possess in the future.
Experience the Future Now!
The 2020 and 2025 articles aren’t wrong. I became trained and certified to coach Emotional Intelligence skills in 2014 because I saw EQ becoming a must-have set of skills not for 2020 or 2025 but for now. Right now, in 2017.
Yesterday, I received a message from someone I originally spoke with in August of 2015. I distinctly remember the 2015 conversation. I recall that the person on the other end of my phone resonated with what I was sharing at the time but he didn’t take immediate action. Our conversation centered around Self-Awareness, Strengths, and Emotional Intelligence topics.
Yesterday’s message to me from this person read like this:
Do It Now!
The issues referenced in this email include this person’s Strengths, Self-Awareness and his need to develop more polished Emotional Intelligence. I can help this person today. I could also have helped this person two years ago and he likely would have been able to skip some of the lessons he has learned “the hard way”.
Looking Back From the Future
As I look back at 2017 from the future, I’m 100% certain that those high IQ professionals I’m privileged to serve today, where we’re working to develop stronger Self-Awareness and stronger Emotional Intelligence, will already be ready for action when 2020 and 2025 arrive.
The truth is that those who engage in this type of coaching today will be well-ahead of the curve when 2020 and 2025 arrive.
Don’t wait for tomorrow to do what you could do today. That’s my Activator® (Let’s Go) speaking!
The term “emotional intelligence” was coined and formally defined by John (Jack) Mayer of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey of Yale University in 1990.
Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey define Emotional Intelligence as “the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional meanings, and to reflectively regulate emotions in ways that promote emotional and intellectual growth.”
Research has shown that there is no difference between emotional intelligence in men and women. Women do however frequently score higher in some emotional intelligence skills than most men.
Men are more likely to dismiss the value of emotional intelligence than women.
A “C” suite coaching client of mine who has been working with me as his coach for several years now, shared these ideas with me yesterday.
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
- “I’ve become much more efficient in my relationships.”
- “I now pick up on other people’s behaviors that I didn’t notice before because I was too busy focusing on myself.”
- “When you understand emotional intelligence, you learn to break through other people’s acts. It’s as if you learn how to decode other’s sincerity or lack thereof.”
- “Knowing my emotional intelligence has caused me to make a lot of behavioral adjustments that I could have never made before when I was unaware of how I was coming across to others.”
- “Developing EQ has pushed me to learn how to leverage my gift as a Strategic leader and I no longer feel the need to convince others that I know everything. I stick to the strategy and delegate the details to people on my team who are more capable of carrying out detailed assignments.”
- “My recent presentation to the Audit Committee was a 10 on a scale of 10. My presentation to the Board of Directors was a 9.5 on a scale of 10. These ratings came to me from my boss.”
This was one of my most favorite conversations of all time. To have worked with someone for several years to improve behavior, the most difficult task on the planet, and to learn about these kinds of results was priceless. Then the feedback got even better from my perspective.
While these are not the only benefits to be gained by understanding one’s emotional intelligence, these are benefits that came to my client’s mind in one conversation.
This “C” suite executive’s life has changed because of the work we’ve done together to improve his emotional intelligence. No, I’m not guessing at this. I’ve been told on many occasions by this same client that the work we’ve done together has impacted him professionally as well as at home with his wife and his son.
It’s never too late to learn the current state of your own emotional intelligence. It's also not too late to learn how to improve your emotional intelligence. The benefits of doing so are virtually endless. The sooner you get started the more time there is to create lasting impact.
Top 10 skills required in 2020 according to the World Economic Forum report
All of the top 2020 skills listed above can be measured with the combination of the Clifton StrengthsFinder and the EQi-2.0 Emotional Quotient Inventory.
Your Unique Strengths
In the hands of an experienced Strengths Coach, the results of the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ can be interpreted to show a coaching client exactly and precisely how they are internally wired. The 34 traits represented in the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ are broken down into Strategic Thinking Traits, Influencing Traits, Relationship Building Traits and Executing Traits. How a person's traits uniquely line up determine whether they'd be a better Engineer or a better Engineering Manager, a better Accountant or a better Chief Financial Officer and so on.
Notice in the chart above for example that People Management, Coordinating with Others (Collaboration) and Emotional Intelligence are all people-oriented topics. People skills or Soft skills are, have been and will continue to be highly valuable skills moving into the future.
The EQi-2.0 Emotional Quotient® Inventory is an assessment used to measure a person's Emotional Intelligence. This assessment can only be purchased and interpreted by someone who has invested in training and certification through the assessment's owner.
Through this assessment, a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach can show their client where their Emotional Intelligence stands relative to other people who do similar work. The good news is that the 15 different emotional intelligence skills measured by the EQi-2.0® can be improved upon when working with an experienced coach.
The business wants, needs and expects job candidates who have a blend of Strategic Thinking skills and Emotional Intelligence skills to name just a few. It takes time to fine-tune and polish the traits found in the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ into Strengths. It also takes time to fine-tune and polish the skills found in the EQi-2.0 assessment.
Those who invest themselves to learn about their natural Strengths and those who invest in themselves to improve their current level of Emotional Intelligence are the individuals who will earn the best jobs of the future.
Psychological research suggests that a person’s IQ (Cognitive Intelligence) is worth +-10% of career success. The same psychological research also suggest that EI / EQ (Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient) could be worth +-60% of career success.
If you want to progress in any career, what initially gets you going and what gets you to a certain level of success is frequently going to be a different skill set than the skill set you need to continue progressing.
What is the skill set required to progress in any career?
Here are some specific examples. This is what the business is currently asking for from the Director to the “C” Suite in technology job descriptions. Every trait or skill mentioned below that can be measured can be improved upon if a person is naturally gifted with a specific trait.
For some skills or traits, you either have them or you don't. We're all wired differently and we all have potential to deliver a great performance. It's simply a matter of figuring out how a person is uniquely wired and then aligning them with the right work to maximize their performance.
Notice that most of the traits or skills mentioned below are people skills or soft skills.
- Leadership Presence (can be developed)
- Leadership that is both Visionary and Strategic (can be measured)
- Leadership that inspires people (influencing skills can be measured)
- Thought Leadership (can be measured)
- Deep Problem Solving Skills (can be measured)
- Complex Analysis Skills (can be measured)
- Excellent Verbal Communication Skills (can be learned)
- Excellent Written Communication Skills (can be learned)
- Excellent Collaboration and Partnering Skills
- Superior Presentation Delivery Skills
- Integrator of People, Process and Technology
- Change Management Skills
- Consensus Building Skills
- Budgeting Skills
- Business Analysis Skills
- Contract Negotiation Skills
- Vendor Management Skills
- There's more...this list just gets the discussion started!
It is a person’s cognitive skills that gets them into an engineering degree program. It is their cognitive skills that gets their technology career started. Cognitive skills are the skills the brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, calculate and pay attention.
What you see in the list of employer requirements above require some cognitive skills. Most of what is required to move beyond leaning almost purely on cognitive skills are emotional intelligence skills, soft skills or people skills.
These are the skills that when developed, enable us to lead, influence, persuade, mentor, manage, collaborate, build partnerships, negotiate contracts, manage vendor relationships and more. Additionally, beyond what a person learns in engineering school, the further up the ladder one wishes to climb, roles require much more emphasis on business skills than on technical skills.
What if you don’t want to be a manager, director or “C” suite technology leader?
At the Analyst, Engineer or Architect levels, development of the soft skills mentioned above will provide exponential return on investment to your career. Not everybody is built to lead, guide, mentor and grow other people and you shouldn't feel as if you have to move in a managerial direction in order to progress in your own career development.
In addition to people skills, there are also business skills mentioned above. Business skills in this case include the ability to read and interpret financial statements. The ability to present one’s case for technology in terms that a business audience can clearly understand without having to bring in an interpreter. The ability to speak to a CEO, COO, CFO, etc. in their language rather than your technology focused language.
When you invest in yourself to master skills that go above and beyond your IQ or cognitive skills alone, your career progression will go places.
What Is Strengths Coaching?
The Strengths Coaching I’ll refer to here is what happens after a person takes a Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. The report that comes from taking a Clifton StrengthsFinder shows a person’s totally unique human makeup or wiring as I like to call it, based on how their 34 traits line up.
The results of this assessment don’t throw a person into a box or category that someone else created. This assessment brilliantly shows a person how entirely unique they are. As a Strengths Coach, I get to show my clients what to do with their uniqueness. I’m passionate about this work.
“Millennials love not being put into a box by the way”
Traits / Strengths
The traits at or near the top of someone’s Clifton StrengthsFinder report are generally thought to be someone’s Strengths. This is true if a person is aware of their dominant traits and if they’re actively working to leverage their dominate traits to create the best possible version of themselves.
I spoke in front of an audience of approximately 75 people. I asked the audience to raise their hand of they had ever taken a Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. My best guess is that as many as 60 out of 75 hands went up.
I then asked those who had raised their hand to keep their hand up if they had done anything with their StrengthsFinder assessment results. Again, my best guess suggests that approximately 10 hands remained raised and as many as 50 hands went down.
This was an eye opening experience for me. At that moment, I began to understand why so many people I encounter think they know their strengths. In reality, these people might know the words that sit on an assessment report but if they’ve never gone beyond the word descriptions on the assessment report, they likely don’t know their unique personal strengths and more importantly, how those strengths operate.
My Strengths Coaching Process
- Begins with my client taking a Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment.
- What: In our first session together, I help my client to understand what their report says, how to read and interpret their report and we set the ground work for our second meeting.
- Why: In our second session together, my focus is on interactively taking my client on a deep dive into their unique top traits. My goal here is to help my client see how and why their unique traits cause them to operate the way they do. Simultaneously, my client will learn how their unique traits could be coming across to other people. It is during this second meeting that “Ah Ha” moments and “Light bulb” moments frequently occur. This is when my clients start to see not just what dots are sitting on their report but they start to see how their dots work together to make them the unique person they are.
- How: In our next meeting, this is when I build our meeting around the homework my client worked on after our second meeting. During the homework stage, I find that many of my clients start to develop clarity around what they uniquely have to offer. Once the switch flips in my client’s mine, it is now time to start working on how they can leverage their unique giftedness to create their best performance.
- Leverage: In our fourth meeting, this is where I apply my 26+ years of experience as a professional recruiter to help my clients to create a personal strategy around their unique Strengths. By strategy I’m referring to what my client will do with their new-found understanding of how to create their own best performance. For some of my clients, this means making course adjustments in the job they already have in the company they’re already in. Some of my clients come to the realization that they might be in the wrong job or that they might be in the right or wrong job in the wrong company. Other clients who had been scratching an entrepreneurial itch now have the clarity to see that stepping out to start their own business of some sort is the right personal decision.
What matters to me is that each and every Strengths Coaching client I’m privileged to work with is able to move forward with enhanced Clarity, Direction, Confidence and a Strategic Plan to know how to get to their next destination.
Many of my Strengths Coaching clients learn so much about themselves through the Strengths Coaching experience that they stick with me to work on improving their Emotional Intelligence. In addition to being a Strengths Coach, I am also a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach. The work I do around Emotional Intelligence Coaching is the most deeply impacting work I’ve been privileged to do with other people in my entire career.
The combination of Strengths Coaching and Emotional Intelligence Coaching is what moves my clients from “Good to Great” and I’m fortunate enough to go along for the ride.
IQ is Cognitive Intelligence. Cognitive Intelligence involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.
EQ or Emotional Quotient (Emotional Intelligence) is a set of emotional and social skills that collectively establish how we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and how we use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.
A conversation I shared a while back with one of the smartest people I know shed light on a topic I set out to master a few years ago. I have a friend who has a PhD in Math. He was once a college math professor. He has worked in academic, government and private industry roles.
We got into a conversation one day where I learned about the early part of my friend’s career. As a young college math professor, he learned the hard way that his high IQ wasn’t enough to make him successful.
My friend told me that he wished I’d come along to teach him about the value of people and relationships long ago. He learned the hard way that strong emotional intelligence is a requirement and not an option.
This amazingly smart former professor encouraged me to stick with my mission of wanting to help gifted, high IQ technology professionals to get to the next level in their careers by addressing their people skills, social skills, relationship building skills and for some, their leadership skills.
In my Inbox yesterday was an email from the Harvard Business Review. The subject line read like this:
“Unleash your emotional intelligence for a leadership advantage”
HBR was offering a collection of books focused on Emotional Intelligence. This is the real deal folks. There is nothing in my portfolio of work that is more important than the Emotional Intelligence Coaching work I’m fortunate to do with people who are ready to improve.
Jeff Snyder Coaching, 719.686.8810