I have 36 soft skill courses in Pluralsight… kind of. Some are “retired” and one is a 6-session job search course. I started in 2012 with a LinkedIn course and have done many job search, career, professional development, and soft skill courses in the last 9 years. I’ve spent the last year and a half updating these soft skill courses and have a few more to update.
For years I’ve recommended various soft skill courses to various audiences, whether that was on this blog, in a live presentation, or on social media. Instead of recommending all of my courses I’ve had to think, “What are the two or three courses I would really recommend to this audience?” This morning I had a similar thought, but instead of “to this audience” it was more “to anyone.” So, without further ado, here are the top five of my soft skill courses I’d recommend to anyone:
Hands down, this soft skill course impacted me the most. I went into this course thinking “okay, what is this emotional intelligence stuff? Is it fluff, or is there real substance here?” When I was done I thought “if everyone watches this, and starts to implement just one or two of these ideas, we could change the world.”
Literally change the world. Becoming more empathetic, understanding ourselves better, striving to understand others better… these are things that really can change the world. First, by changing ourselves, and being better to ourselves, and then being better with others around us. Can you imagine how much better your workplace would be if you had a boss with high emotional intelligence? What if YOU had higher emotional intelligence?
I set myself on a lifelong journey of improvement, and I invite everyone to join me. This soft skill course was a turning point for me.
This is my most popular soft skill course, with 677 ratings and over 320 comments in the discussion area. I honestly didn’t think this course would resonate with anyone. I remember getting ready to dive into this course thinking “come on, we all know how to listen!” I was wrong. I learned a lot while I researched for this soft skill course and have since learned a lot from the comments in the discussion area. Listening is a soft skill we take for granted but just about everyone can improve. The thing that stands out the most to me, after all these years, is learning more about “active listening,” and the tactics that go into real active listening.
I continue to try to improve my listening skills. Becoming a better listener is a life-long journey.
This soft skill course was fun to put together. It gave me a chance to really dive into the Myers-Briggs and DiSC personality assessments. The Myers-Briggs assessment was super popular in the 1900s but there are other assessments that corporate America likes. Regardless of which assessment you use, or gravitate towards, the idea is simple:
We have different personalities, and even so, we can work together.
I have been frustrated by people at work. People who think and work differently than I do. It’s frustrating for someone with a lot of energy to go into a meeting with people with little energy, and vice versa. It’s frustrating for people who talk and make decisions quickly to work with someone who is more methodical and likes to think deeply before responding. It’s frustrating when they are your boss, or when you are their boss.
I’ve learned these differences don’t mean that we necessarily dislike one another. Differences don’t mean we are right and they are wrong, or they are right and we are wrong. Understanding differences in how we think, act, react, communicate, make decisions, are motivated, etc. are important to understand.
I’m reminded of a quote I heard from someone I worked with years ago: “If knowledge is power then knowledge of human nature is a superpower.” I love that concept! Notice each of these three soft skill courses I listed dive deeper into knowledge of human nature.
One more thing… I think it’s absolutely critical that we, ourselves, understand our own personalities and tendencies. When we understand ourselves, and those around us, we have a better chance of higher workplace satisfaction, performance, etc. That’s one thing you’ll get from these soft skill courses.
I am a nut for personal branding. If I heard about it before 2006 I don’t remember. But in 2006, during My Big Fat Failed Job Search, I learned I didn’t have a brand, which meant I spent a lot of time educating people on who I was and why that was important to them.
Personal branding changes your self-marketing strategy from a push strategy, where you are constantly educating people on these things, to a pull strategy, where people gravitate towards you because, as they say, “your reputation precedes you.”
Since 2006, when I figured this stuff out, I’ve been hired because of my brand. I’ve had people come to me. I’ve had people vet me online and realize they want to work with me, or could trust me, etc. This is a 180 difference from back in 2006.
Also, in my job search I learned that two things I had neglected, which impacted my effectiveness as a job seeker, were my personal/professional network and my personal brand. I talk about that in this important soft skill course that was inspired by hundreds of on-stage presentations, titled Career Management 2.0 (ha! I snuck in another great soft skill course!).
This is one of the soft skill courses that was pivotal for me. There was a period where I wasn’t doing Pluralsight courses, and even took a job because of the time I had freed up. That job lasted 10 months. It was an awesome, amazing job at an awesome, amazing company.
One of the books their leadership talked a lot about was on difficult conversations (it might have been Crucial Conversations, I can’t remember). Anyway, I had to have some very difficult conversations (which I can tend to shy away from) and made a study of this topic. Then, I found myself in a really weird place.
On a particular Wednesday in late October I was on a call with Pluralsight talking about doing more soft skill courses. The very next day I went into my boss’s office for a one-on-one with a particular challenge: My family had planned a two-week trip, but I didn’t have two weeks of vacation. I was hoping she’d let me borrow against future vacation so I could take this epic trip.
Alas, that wouldn’t be an issue because her single agenda item on that Thursday was to lay me off. I was given five weeks notice, which was a kind gesture, but it was a bit of a shock. I decided, that day, that I was going to work as hard as I could to get one of my new soft skills courses out in five weeks (after hours, of course), and launch it before my last day at work.
And I did.
I focused on this course, this topic, and got to work. This course, which covers such an important topic in and outside of work, was turned in before my last day and launched just a few days later. That’s a fun story, right? It was great to get back into doing soft skill courses. But more important, the topic is critical for us to be better people, better communicators, better team members, better leaders, and happier with ourselves and our work.
Soft Skill Courses Are Professional Development Courses
There are other soft skill courses I could have listed here, but these are the five I picked. I hope you spend time digging into your own soft skills, career, and professional development. This is how you invest in yourself!
If you need a 30 day pass to watch any of my soft skill courses simply use the Contact Us page and ask if we have any available.