Qualities Over Qualifications
As someone who’s spent a considerable part of their life learning, I’ll always be a huge advocate for education, training, and development as a means to do well and to better yourself in some way.
When women come to me to speak about my coaching programmes, they seem to believe that having a rubber-stamped, water-marked, pretty little piece of paper to say they’ve ‘qualified’ in some area or specialism is the key to success and the next step they must take in order to be successful in their career. They genuinely believe that despite having worked (for example) their whole life in marketing, or having been the highest performing salesperson on their team, or having project managed more people and pitches than they’ve had hot dinners, unless they have a formal qualification, degree, or diploma to ‘prove’ it, they’ll never be able to progress.
I don’t judge these ladies for this thought process, because it’s a common and understandable mindset.
It’s a mindset whereby we feel no employer will take us seriously unless we have the paperwork to prove the skills we already possess.
It’s a mindset whereby we feel it’s the only logical step to equip us for moving up that career ladder.
It’s a mindset whereby we feel that if we can get this formal validation, it’ll make everything easier from that point onwards.
They are mindsets I need my ladies to get out of, because progression isn’t in the paperwork – it’s in the practicalities.
Let’s take the Holy Grail of business qualifications that people always seem to want (though it’s not the only one, by any means). The MBA.
If you get an MBA (and those lovely letters after your name) you’re set for life, right? Everyone will give you instantaneous respect, you’ll walk straight into any position or promotion, and you’ll know more than anyone else in the office when it comes to what it means to ‘do good business’.
Generally, most people (and I hark back to the countless people I’ve interviewed back in my HR Director days to back this up) don’t want the MBA for the content. They’re not interested in the learning – they’re interested in the earning; the potential that they believe comes from the network or ‘club’ that they’ll suddenly find themselves in, and from the showing their pretty little MBA diploma from that fancy institute.
Well, I have news for you, ladies. The real piece of the puzzle you need to have to ensure those doors open and you get all the things you dreamed an MBA would get you, however, doesn’t lie in the qualification. It all lies in the skill you have to explain and demonstrate why you’re awesome at what you do, and the way you capitalise on what you have/are/can do to elevate you to a position of power and influence.
That’s what my coaching programmes centre on. Not external validation – but internal strength AND the communication skills to pivot your career in whatever upward direction you fancy.
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