Stay at home parents – hidden skills you didn’t realise you had

One of the things that most organisations wish that their people would do is transfer some of the skills that they have OUTSIDE the workplace INTO the workplace. Actually, being able to do this might even open doors in your own career …

I’ve been doing some work recently with women who want to return to work after having a family. Many of them are concerned that they don’t have the skills that they need, or believe that they’ve been out of the workforce for too long.  Yet if they scratch beneath the surface, there are plenty of skills and attributes which they’ve been using for years which can be transferred to the world of work.

Even if you don’t find yourself in quite this returning-to-work situation … how many skills do you use OUTSIDE work that could benefit you within it? Thinking laterally about this could boost your confidence AND open up avenues at work that you hadn’t recognised were there …


The obvious

You don’t have to think very deeply to start to find parallels between what you do outside of work, and what you do when you’re at your desk.

Budgeting is a case in point. I was coaching someone recently who was nervous about the fact that his new role at work meant that he was in charge of a bigger budget than before. Adopting a similar rigorous mindset to his workplace budget as he did to his personal and family accounts made a big difference to his confidence levels.

I’d also argue that if MORE people regarded their company budgets as if it was their own money they were spending, organisations would find themselves a lot more efficient, and a lot less wasteful.

Another example has to be event management: anyone who’s ever organised a family or social event (or even their own wedding) will find themselves well placed to pull together a workplace do. The same principles apply.


The less obvious

There are also less obvious skills and attributes that you’re probably making the most of outside work, but that you might not be capitalising on in your job role.

One example that comes up time and time again in the training room is that of tailoring the message to the audience – something that’s relevant in many workplace situations, from marketing or negotiating to communicating and interpersonal skills.

Thinking about it, this is something that  – outside the workplace – we readily do almost without thinking.

Imagine that you’re trying to convince your kids to tidy their rooms / undertake a task that they are less than keen to do. Your tactics might range from gentle cajoling to outright bribery to threats of punishment. Now, I’m not saying that all tactics are appropriate in the workplace – some of them definitely won’t be – however, the underlying skills of identifying what motivates someone and leveraging this knowledge to encourage them to undertake a task isn’t a million miles away from the skills you need to persuade and influence at work.

Similarly, if you needed to undertake a large scale Christmas shopping expedition, you’d ‘market’ it to your family in different ways. For the kids, it might be a questions of “Hurray! We’re going to see Father Christmas at the Department Store!” For a husband for whom the prospect of such a trip is hell on earth,  you might adopt a more pragmatic approach of “If we get this over and done with now, we’ll not be fighting through the December crowds.”

Whatever the situation, if you think about it, you’ll find that you’re positioning the same situation in different ways to different people quite comfortably outside work. How can you use this skill IN work with your colleagues to improve your interpersonal skills?


These are just a very few examples – to download the full article FREE: “Stay-at-home-mums:  7 Crucial Skills You Already Have And That Every Workplace Needs”, just hop to

Taking time to think about things you do outside work could provide you with some exceptionally useful skills that you can apply in your career. I could never have realised, for example, that a brief but disastrous attempt at a stand up comedy career would provide me with some useful skills in the training room.

What hidden connections can YOU make … and leverage?


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