First, calling people and emotional skills “soft” has always been a misnomer. Nothing soft about them, but they are a bit harder to measure, so the business world has been calling them that.
That said, I came across this post yesterday and immediately saw myself in it.
Diane is so right. Being a good trainer requires the development of skills that are absolutely transferable to any job. When I consider the different roles I’ve been in, technical roles, training roles, and consulting roles, the one constant was the need to communicate information to people. When I made the move to consulting the one skill that I saw consistently needing support with the technical folks we brought in was the ability to present information to clients. After six years of full-time training, that wasn’t an issue for me. That was the easy part. I had technology to learn, and project management skills to improve upon, but presenting information to clients was not a problem because training had already taught me how to do that.
I was comfortable facilitating meetings, breaking down complex concepts into plain English, reading people, responding to feedback, etc. because I was doing that on a regular basis. There’s no replacement for practice when it comes to those kinds of skills, and I believe there’s no better way to get that practice in the workplace than to offer to train your peers. As Diane wraps her reasons she says this:
Becoming an internal corporate trainer is a transformative career move. This role’s continuous learning, enhanced communication skills, growth mindset, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and networking opportunities pave the way for self-development and career advancement in the modern, dynamic workplace.
If you want to challenge yourself to learn something deeply, start figuring out how you would train someone to do it. If your employer doesn’t have an opening for a full-time trainer, create some opportunities to cross-train with your team, to reach out across teams and help teach them some of your skills, or to introduce them to some new technology that is coming. The skills you develop with come in handy, and you’ll be showing off some serious leadership skills as well, something that is probably in short supply in your industry. It is in most, anyway.