Why Career Professionals Should Walk-the-Talk
By Cathy Milton.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
Imagine this…you attend your first appointment with a new dentist. The dentist greets you with a big smile, and the first thing you notice is that this dentist could really use a good dentist.
Or, you visit a cardiologist for a stress test. When you enter the office for your consultation, you can’t help but notice that the doctor is about 100 pounds overweight and there are empty fast-food containers sitting on the desk.
How do you think you’d feel if you were presented with either of these scenarios?
Personally, I’d probably feel that these folks were channeling the old “do as I say – not as I do” philosophy. Certainly, both situations would do nothing to establish any feelings of confidence or trust.
For career practitioners, the same dynamic applies in our interactions with our clients.
For example, an employment strategist strongly recommends that a student get involved in volunteer work in their targeted field. This particular strategist, however, has never personally engaged as a volunteer. Are they equipped to coach and encourage the student if, later on, some of the challenges and frustrations of being a volunteer surface? Perhaps – but unless they’ve been there, can they really empathize and offer expert advice from an insider’s perspective?
This same strategist provides clients with a helpful list of website links for career-related networking and discussion forums, encouraging them to join. Imagine the clients’ surprise and disappointment when, after having excitedly joined these groups, they discover that their career advisor is nowhere to be found.
Think of the many things that career practitioners encourage their clients to pursue – basic training in a new skill, advanced-level training in an existing skill, keeping abreast of technology trends, volunteering, keeping their resume up to date, setting career goals along with a plan for reaching those goals. Many more items could be added to this list.
Career practitioners would do well to follow their own advice.
Benefits of Walking-the-Talk
For a career professional who truly does walk-the-talk, there are many benefits and rewards. And, by default, these benefits also accrue to clients.
For the practitioner, there is immense confidence in knowing, deep down, that they ‘know of what they speak.’ There is no need to speculate or guess – they know because they’ve been there, done that.
When roadblocks or challenges arise, a career professional who walks-the-talk is able to genuinely understand and empathize with their clients. They’re also equipped to offer practical suggestions and guidance based on their own experiences.
Clients will sense whether or not their career professional has hands-on knowledge of a subject. For those who do, the client/practitioner bond will undoubtedly be strengthened. “Integrity” and “respect” will be words that the client uses to describe their career professional.
Most importantly, the client – many of whom engage a professional when they’re in a vulnerable state – will quickly learn that they can trust the wisdom and advice of their career counsellor. Trust forms a strong foundation for any productive and gratifying relationship. What could be better than that?