Kick-starting a month long look at career management is David Krueger, CEO of MentorPath, an executive coaching practice with his piece on how to continue professional development after the last exam has been taken.
When I coach executives and human relations specialists to develop their success skills, they come to know themselves and others better. As they have worked to learn human dynamics, they have used the following strategies to enhance their growth and continue their education; find out what they are.
Schedule time for learning:
You have to carve out time for yourself to engage in continuing education, just as you would set aside time for a business appointment. I am often asked, “When do you find time to write?” The answer, of course, is that I never find time to write – I reserve time to write. Learn with (and about) your partner. My wife and I do ‘Seminar’ each evening at 9:00, during which we read and discuss, on a rotating basis, what we have selected as some of the great philosophical literature of all time – it generates some of our best business strategies.
The science of human behaviour, especially irrational business behaviour, garnered a Noble Prize (Daniel Kahneman for psychological insights into behavioural economics). Since our emotions rule our minds, study the emotional aspects of business. People create narratives of self-statement according to their assumptions, since brain and emotions are both programmed to ignore facts that contradict beliefs.
Study fields unrelated to your own:
Some of the most promising creative innovations will come from the synthesis and integration of divergent fields of existing knowledge. For example, neuroscience maps the brain to tell us which marketing efforts best capture consumer attention and determine emotionally based decisions. My previous work as a Psychoanalyst helps me apply money psychology in various settings; helping someone become aware of different personality styles can resolve conflict and enhance effectiveness.
Learn to listen empathically:
Our best continuing education will come from empathic listening, one person at a time, to those within our professional orbit: colleagues, clients, and competitors. Empathy involves understanding another’s experience, feeling, logic, point of view, and way of thinking.
Learn to tell a story with brevity, clarity, simplicity, and humanity: All business is conversation. Stories sell. Facts don’t. People buy stories. A stockbroker knows that when a client buys a stock, they are buying a story. Toastmasters offer a wonderful opportunity to develop storytelling. Everyone loves to hear a good story.
Learn from your clients’ stories
Rather than trying to sell or network, ask powerful questions to elicit points of view, opinions, and ideas. When you really hear their accomplishments and meaningful experiences, you will be in a more informed place to co-create new stories with your clients.
Apply self awareness:
Developing your self awareness and effectiveness is the most powerful tool you have. The awareness of instincts, intuition, and emotional intelligence often has far greater impact than facts and logic.
Retain a professional coach
Your most powerful business tool is yourself. A Professional Coach can help you channel and apply your self awareness, as well as strategically address what’s next, how to get there, and how to succeed at what happens after what happens next.
David Krueger, M.D. is CEO of MentorPath, an executive coaching practice tailored to the needs of professionals and coaches. Dr. Krueger is author of 12 books on success, money, work, and self-development. www.MentorPath.com</i