We need to stop — employees aren’t empty vessels to be filled with skills

by Dominic Atkinson

Although many organisations acknowledge the importance of reskilling and upskilling, they often need to pay more attention to the most significant challenge — agency.

In this article, we’ll explore organisational tunnel vision when it comes to reskilling and upskilling, what’s left out of view, and how we can open the blinders and foster personal growth and collaboration.


Reskilling and upskilling: you could be doing it wrong

It is widely known that employees often feel frustrated and stagnant when they perceive limited opportunities for advancement within their organisation. This frustration can lead to dissatisfaction and decreased productivity. Once brought to the attention of management and team leaders, employees are typically extended the opportunity to skill-up.

Of course this should be seen as a chance to expand their personal portfolio, acquire new skills, and even enhance their chances of promotions or pay rises. Sound familiar?

While reskilling and upskilling are vital, they’re more akin to sharpening tools for a craftsperson. Instead, we need to teach them to see the masterpiece within the raw material.

This means aligning individual growth with organisational goals, ensuring that employees are not just equipped with new tools but are also inspired and motivated to create their best work. A recent employee development survey underscores the importance of aligning training with personal and professional goals to maximise impact.

Source: Clear Company



What’s needed is a shift in focus from merely filling skill gaps to fostering a deeper understanding of one’s innate strengths, personal goals, career aspirations and how to achieve them. This approach leads to more engaged and motivated employees who are better prepared to take on challenges and lead.


Which begs the question, how do we make that happen?


The key to aligning individual growth and business objectives


Let’s not beat around the bush, like any change within an organisation — someone must be responsible for its implementation, keeping tabs on results and adjusting to new changes and challenges. If your eyes are widening, thinking ‘not me, not me’ then you’re correct. Team leaders and managers don’t always have the skills or time to do this.


So let’s recap:

  • It’s still vital to reskill and skillup our teams
  • We need understanding of personal strengths & goals
  • Set & achieve meaningful goals
  • A strategy to combine these
  • That strategy needs to align to business objectives
  • The catch, someone needs to make it happen.



The solution, perhaps you’ve already guessed is the career coach. A facilitator who goes beyond simply equipping employees with new skills. Who’s job is to craft the structured approach to personal and professional growth, that awakens ambitions, and sets meaningful goals. Qualified coaches facilitate self-discovery and reflection, which are essential for developing leadership qualities and building resilience. It’s also a safe space for employees to explore their aspirations and develop a clear career path without fear of making things worse for themselves.


More uniquely qualified career coaching ensures that development efforts are aligned with the individual’s goals and the organisation’s strategic objectives.


How career coaching plugs in


Organisations are complex machines, made up of diverse modular components that work together. Ideally, career coaching plugs into this machine with customisable modules, each designed to address specific business objectives and team needs. Additionally, as we’ve covered earlier it has to ease the burden and take responsibility over the career development journey of each team member.


Which means these coaching modules must be quick to install and easily tailored, to the needs and wants of an organisation. Such as; book any time unlimited coaching sessions so employees can schedule sessions at their convenience, and digestible real-time monitoring and progress check-ins for management.


Ensuring that the organisation’s career development process is efficient, adaptable, and always running at peak performance.

How AI is amplifying career coaching


With Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) lead foot on the accelerator, change is happening at the rate of [insert your preferred science fiction term for very very quick]. So any new solutions need to plug-in with minimal fuss, and be nimble enough to adapt to the unique goals and objectives of the organisation.


Career Coaching (at least for us) has now added another string to its bow.


The synergy between AI and human coaching is paving the way for groundbreaking approaches in career development. Expert coaches can use AI to disseminate their innovative ideas and methodologies widely, reaching millions. This combination of digital scalability and human touch creates a powerful tool for enhancing individual and organisational performance.


Using this dual approach ensures coaching is accessible and tailored to diverse preferences. Some may start with AI for quick feedback and turn to human coaches for complex issues, while others might begin with human coaches and use AI tools for additional support.


At Stay Nimble we’ll soon launch an AI copilot of our own which uses data and information that is 100% written by trained career development professionals. While you might be able to get something out of the box with Chat GPT, the reality is that it could be using a lot of ideas that maybe aren’t coming from experts. It’s our belief that if you really want to have a qualified experience, then you’ve got to use an AI that is being managed and run by experts in career development.


Things to remember


Enhancing Agency and Motivation

Mandating skill development without considering individual motivation can be counterproductive. Employees are not merely vessels to be filled with new skills; they are unique individuals with their own aspirations and potential. Coaching respects this individuality, promoting a sense of agency and self-efficacy.

Leaders aren’t born, they’re coached


Incorporating career coaching into your leadership development strategy is not just a trend; it’s a necessity. Coaching equips future leaders with the skills they need and provides the support and guidance necessary for their overall development. By investing in coaching, businesses can ensure that their leaders are not only ready to meet current challenges but are also prepared to drive future success.


Some inspiration for your day

(Curated resources from our career coaches)


Neuroscience for Learning

Listen to the episode:
Motivating Minds and Bodies” by Mind the Skills Gap.


The High-Performance Podcast

Listen to the episode:
The importance of adaptability with Neil Fachie
by The High Performance Podcast.


Take Action!


Do you need support to support your team? Let’s chat about how Stay Nimble can ease the brain bandwidth and set out a framework for your team to flourish.

Book a consultation today.

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