Skills for Success: An Interview with Karen Steckler

March 01, 2016 by Coach Training EDU

Watch the interview here.

One of the biggest challenges that young people face today is not knowing which types of skills are going to be valuable to them once they enter the professional world. Schools focus so much on academics, that the soft skills that young people truly need to be successful in the future are often put on the back-burner or not acknowledged at all. This is why coaching works so well for young people. When students understand the importance of things such as resilience or courage, they are better equipped for challenges that come their way and successes in their futures.

As coaches, we must understand the types of skills that are important for students to learn, and foster those skills in sessions with our clients. John Andrew Williams recently sat down with Karen Steckler, the founder of HALO Partners, to discuss her insights about the types of skills that help make people successful and ask her what types of advice she would offer to students.

Before we dive into her inspiring words, here is a brief synopsis of what HALO Partners is and the type of work that Karen does. HALO is an organization that works with other high-growth organizations to help them foster positive, productive work environments for both employees and their clients. They do their best work during high-growth periods, where the culture and atmosphere of the organization may be challenged. HALO Partners creates programs that take the richness and the goodness out of the culture and help infuse it to create that halo effect within the organization.

The Power of Emotional Intelligence

Karen’s work has allowed her to experience a variety of workplaces, and she know the types of skills that encourage positive growth and success within a company. According to her, the most valuable of these skills is emotional intelligence (EQ). Up until HALO Partners is involved, company leaders have really been successful because of their technical abilities (IQ). In order for them to continue to grow, it is vital that they take time to develop their EQ as well.

Further, Karen identified four very specific skills and behaviors that are important for leaders to have today: 1) have courage, 2) be able to really, intentionally listen, 3) ask provocative questions, and 4) not make assumptions.

When leaders invoke these skill sets, success follows. This is why it is so important for young people to learn the importance of taking risks or the value of curiosity. These skills are the ones that will be translatable once they enter the professional world.

Millennials have found Integration

While different generations all have many of the same work-orientated goals, there is something to be said about the way that Millennials have gone about accomplishing them. Both Baby-Boomers and Millennials consistently want to make an impact at work, and they want to be acknowledged for the work that they do.

However, the latter tend to have more integration of work in their lives. According to Karen, they are more mindful about that in their lives. They value having their off time, and they really work hard within the construct of an organization. Ultimately, they really get integration, and it is high up on their value stream. While the integration of work into one’s life is not necessarily a new skill, it is an important one. Ultimately, it leads to wellness and a more enhanced way of being.

This idea of integration is also partly why Karen started HALO Partners. I wanted to create an organization that I can live my values through, says Karen. Collaboration, connection, creating value for other people, and helping people be at their best, are all things that she says were important influences when creating HALO. We like to end the needless suffering in the workplace, she says, because when people are in a safe and trusting environment, and can be their best, they are their best.

Early Influences Matter

The idea of integrating work with one’s personal life is something that we can teach young people early on. Learning is fun, and finding things that align with one’s values and passions allows individuals to live more fulfilling lives. The earlier we teach students these skills that are so valuable, the longer they have to put them to use in their lives and become successful. One class, interaction, or conversation, could make all the difference. During her interview, Karen recalled one of her most influential moments as a student:

I took a lot of extra credit classes, and one of them was on entrepreneurship and business. That was the most influential because I learned all these natural, creative behaviors and attributes that I have through the class. And I really got a strong appreciation of both business and entrepreneurship.. It really stuck with me, because what I learned from that class is that if you help other people, and bring other people in from a collaborative perspective, there’s no stopping you. You don’t have to do it all yourself.

This class, that she took in high school, has influenced Karen and her success to this day. That is what education and learning is all about!

Some Words of Advice

For parents, look for things that can ignite your child’s creativity, foster trust, and give them freedom to explore their different creative sides.

For students, Karen’s advice is simple; just go for it! Think about all of the possibilities that are out there, and use your time in school to really explore all of those opportunities.

High school and college are pivotal moments for young people, and the experiences they have and the skills they learn will continue to impact their futures. Like Karen, one class could change a student’s understanding of themselves or the direction they choose to take. Teachers, parents, and coaches have an incredible opportunity to help young people develop the skills that will allow students to thrive once they are out of school.

To learn more about HALO Partners the work that Karen does.

You may also enjoy the What to Do When a Client Just Won't Budge blog.

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