Years ago, I identified career rust-out as a real career killer that allows competencies to become obsolete and talents to grow stale. In my work, I have pointed out that rust-out results from the development of valuable competencies and knowledge that the coach or consultant fails to utilize successfully. The rusted-out coach or consultant becomes stuck, and the relevance of their service offerings declines.
Maintaining a vibrant coaching or consulting practice requires “acquisition-to-adoption” strategies to avoid placing newly acquired skills “on the shelf”, to be used at a later date. To avoid rust-out it’s important to remain current in your industry and your profession; regularly hone your skills, market new concept acquisitions, and network with colleagues who have also adopted new processes. By doing so, your life-long learning will become one of the cornerstones of your cutting-edge coaching and consulting. And you’ll likely avoid rust-out.
How many certifications have you acquired but haven’t figured out how to market them or use them with your clients? Why?
Here are three ways to put newly acquired skills to use that will help you move from acquisition to adoption:
- Develop a Delivery Plan – You likely made a conscious decision to attend a seminar or course to learn a new skill or methodology. Take the time to plan how you will integrate your newly acquired the skill in your practice. Just like with “SMART” goals, it is important that your plan focuses on being specific and time-bound.
- Deliver Your Newly Acquired Skill, Now! – Whether you use all or part of your new learnings, it’s important to put them to use right away. Is this the time to offer a pro-bono session to increase your comfort with delivery, or reconnect with a current client to discuss some “new ideas” that may help them?
- Convert Your Skill to Other Media – A good way of gaining comfort with new skills and strengthening your ability to adopt them into regular practice is to apply them in different ways. If you are a writer, can you share the highlights in a blog post or article. If video is your thing, you can create a short video that explains the concepts and invites your viewers to learn more.
There are many reasons why a new skill may not be immediately used, but not doing so may lead to the loss of that skill. In any case, you’ll prolong the status quo of your coaching or consulting practice, and valuable abilities and knowledge will be “put on the shelf” to rust out. Maintaining the status quo may also stunt your career and the growth of your client organizations. ake action, and give your clients the best you have to offer.