Who is the best leader you know? What makes them special? Perhaps they somehow build trust with anyone. Maybe they listen exceptionally actively and attentively. Or communicate their presence with more than just words. Whatever the answer, we're willing to bet it involves people rather than technical skill.
Interpersonal skills have always been important, but never more than now. Technology is replacing not just mechanical work, but also basic people-facing tasks like ordering a burger. Those lacking more advanced people skills that are impossible to automate - building trust, active listening, non-verbal communication - risk being out of a job.
Young people face this with two formidable challenges:
Time in school is entirely focused on written exams - teachers recognise the importance of interpersonal skills, but have no time to teach them;
Time out of school offers less practice than ever: teenagers literally spend more time interacting with their phones than with each other.
Meanwhile employers find new recruits less engaged than ever in their work, and more likely to leave after a short time. The two root causes are:
Young staff need help with interpersonal skills, but traditional training is either theory-based or offers practice only in artificial situations (e.g. trying out skills on colleagues).
Young people seek purpose and meaning in their work. 3/4 say they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.
Circl directly addresses all these challenges. Each business professional coaches a school pupil 1:1 in 4 carefully structured sessions over a year, with the options to continue with 3 further sessions in the following year. They take responsibility for helping the student build trust, listen actively, and understand non-verbal communication.
Because it is a very real situation, with the student coming into the office and relying on the professional for their learning, the professional gets a level of practice with these skills that no conventional training programme can offer. The sense of purpose is equally real: if a professional can equip a young person with the skills of the future, they will literally have transformed their life.
Need for Interpersonal Skills: Supporting Research
Employees seek purpose: Supporting Research