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ATD Blog

Empowering Success: The Lifelong Journey of Acquiring Power Skills Through Continuing Education

Thursday, April 4, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the modern workplace, the concept of continuing education has transcended its traditional boundaries, becoming not just a means to enhance one’s academic qualifications but a crucial strategy for lifelong learning and professional development. This paradigm shift underscores the increasing importance and value of acquiring what are now widely recognized as “power skills.” These skills, often dubbed soft skills, encompass a range of competencies, from critical thinking and emotional intelligence to communication and leadership. The term power skills aptly redefines these abilities, emphasizing their significant impact on individual performance, career advancement, and organizational success.

The Rise of Power Skills

The acceleration of technological advancements and the digital transformation of workplaces have significantly altered job roles and requirements. While technical skills remain indispensable, the ability to navigate complex interpersonal dynamics, think critically in the face of challenges, and lead with empathy and insight has become increasingly critical. Power skills such as adaptability, collaboration, and problem solving are now at the forefront of what employers seek in their workforce. These skills enable individuals to leverage their technical expertise more effectively, fostering innovation, driving change, and contributing to a positive organizational culture.

Why Power Skills Is the Preferred Term

The term power skills reflects a broader recognition of the substantial influence these competencies have on a professional’s success and the overall performance of an organization. Unlike the term soft skills, which may imply that these skills are less critical or somehow secondary to “hard” technical skills, power skills conveys the strength, necessity, and value these attributes bring to the table. It acknowledges that these skills are not merely complementary but central to achieving excellence in any role and industry. This rebranding is part of a larger movement to elevate the status of interpersonal and cognitive skills in the workplace, highlighting their role in empowering individuals and teams to meet their full potential.


Acquiring Power Skills: A Lifelong Endeavor

The journey to acquiring and refining power skills is a lifelong endeavor, necessitating a mindset of continuous learning and self-improvement. Unlike technical skills, which can often be quantified and taught through specific training programs, power skills are developed through experiences, reflection, feedback, and a conscious effort to apply learning in real-world scenarios. This process is iterative and ongoing, with each new experience providing opportunities for growth and development.

Continuing education plays a pivotal role in this journey. Through formal courses, workshops, seminars, and even online platforms, individuals can gain insights into the latest research and best practices related to power skills. These educational experiences provide a structured environment for learning and practicing new skills, receiving feedback, and reflecting on personal growth. Moreover, continuing education offers the chance to connect with peers and mentors, fostering a network of support and collaboration that can enhance the learning process.


The Future of Professional Development

As the importance of power skills continues to grow, organizations and educational institutions are increasingly incorporating these competencies into their training and development programs. This integration signals a shift toward a more holistic approach to professional development, one that recognizes the complexity of the modern workplace and the diverse skills needed to navigate it successfully.

The emphasis on power skills and the commitment to continuing education reflect a broader understanding of what it takes to thrive in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing work environment. By embracing the acquisition of power skills as a lifelong endeavor, individuals prepare themselves not just for the jobs of today but for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. As we move forward, the ability to continually learn, adapt, and grow will distinguish those who lead and succeed from those who remain stagnant. In this context, continuing education is not just an investment in one’s career but a fundamental aspect of personal and professional development in the 21st century.

Examples such as Lewis University’s Continuing Education portfolio exemplify the dedication of educational institutions to support professionals in their journey toward upskilling and career advancement. Whether you aim to specialize, progress in your career, or stay current in the field, these educational offerings provide a pathway to success.

About the Author

Dr. Sheila Boysen is a leadership professor at Lewis University, a Master Certified executive leadership coach, facilitator, author, and TEDx speaker. As a thought leader in the coaching field, Sheila has held global and local board roles with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO). She has created and accredited numerous ICF coach training programs and has trained hundreds of coaches both internally for organizations as well as through graduate-level academic training programs. Sheila served on the international task force that conducted the three-year research study and data analysis process to reimagine the ICF Core Competencies, further professionalizing this important work.

1 Comment
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Hello Dr. Boysen!
Excellent article. I took note and will add this to weekly quotes that I hang in my office,
"As we move forward, the ability to continually learn, adapt, and grow will distinguish those who lead and succeed from those who remain stagnant"
Thank you and have a wonderful day!
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