Expert Spotlight: Paul Unks

With the employment situation in flux in recent years, Paul Unks’ career management expertise has come in handy for many people who need to regain their footing by either clarifying their career objectives or identifying new career options. And because career ups and downs can be the source of so much stress, Paul is also there to help individuals understand how stress impacts our daily lives and what we can do about it to alleviate the potential negative effects. In this interview, Paul talks about the joys of teaching his favorite topics and the mutual benefits that are gained by working together with participants.

What’s your favorite topic(s) to present on? Why?

1) Career Life Transition and Development, 2)Managing Stress and Wellness (“The Joy of Stress”) and 3) Communications and Team Building

I love teaching and facilitating workshops on these three topics.

I get a great deal of satisfaction from helping people to identify and then achieve the careerposition where they will be: fulfilled, very productive and successful, and in the right environment.  Career Life Development knowledge and skills are increasingly important and neededin our world today.Whether someone has been laid off through no fault of their own, if they are seeking a clearer direction and path to a more rewarding career, or if they want to further advance their career proactively in their current organizationthey can benefit greatly from three key areas:  1) Assessment and Goal-Setting: Knowing how to do a clarifying self-assessment that accurately identifies their unique individual strengths and priorities(not artificially force fits them into one category that most traditional tests attempt to put people in)Then they need to know how to use the results of their assessment to see how their priorities best fit into the current job market segments in order to establish goals that are both desirable and viable.2)Research and Confirmation of their top potential career goals;Knowing how to effectively research and conduct the early stages of networking so that they can be at peace with what they choose, as well as that which they choose not to do.

3) Setting up and Executing an effective Marketing strategy to attain the goal: Knowing how toprepare and delivera clear and compelling message to their targeted market through networking, in their resume, letters and in some entrepreneurial cases, their website, as well as interviewing and negotiation. Being good at these aspects and knowing how to leverage key differentiators goes a long way to helping them gain an advantage in a very competitive market.

There are many aspects involved in each of the above areas, but it can all be more concisely boiled down to helping people address three questions:

1) Who am I? 2) Where am I going? and 3) How am I going to get there? It is by effectively addressing these questions that we can become more who we are.

I also love to help people better understand and manage their stress and wellness. I like to help people get a better handle on their most significant sources of stress, the major things, as well as the smaller seemingly less significant things they might otherwise overlook. And then it is important to understand how these different sources of stress impact on us both mentally and physically, how it can negatively effect our thought process, communication, performance and health. Once they have a good understanding of the progressive sequence, or chain, of mental and physical stress reactions, and where they are individually in that sequence, they are in a much better position to effectively manage their stress. We also take a look at the benefits and blessings of stress, and how to use the good kind of stress to combat and defeat the negative effects of distress. Finally we end on selecting from a long list of many things we can do to protect ourselves from the damaging effects of stress, prevent potential problems, or when required; how to get out of and reverse a downward unhealthy spiral someone might be in. Each person in the workshop leaves with an individualized assessment and action plan to protect themselves from their greatest risks and to proactively promote greater health and wellness for themselves. As a result, they have a much greater awareness and control over their unique stress situations and health, and are able to perform better as well.

Teaching and facilitating interpersonal communication and team building I find both rewarding and fun. I enjoy helping people gain greater insight to their own and others’ naturally preferred ways of working and communicating, and how these can present challenges, as well as be leveraged as advantages to the team so they can more effectively achieve shared goals.

I like to teach a simple and successful four-step team building model they can use to clearly see where they are strong and where they are vulnerable. They can also use the same four-step process to more effectively solve problems and mange projects as well. I like to include a key piece in this highly interactive workshop I call “The Power of Active Listening.” Very few people have ever had a class on listening skills. But it is one of, if not the most important communication skill of all. Yet it almost always gets short shrift in our education and training system. Once each person on the team has a better understanding of their own and each others’ main tendencies, what each finds easy and difficult, they are in a much better position leverage their strengths, and better accommodate each other. Where previously they might  have seen a certain team mate’s particular tendency as purposely being annoying, they now understand that he or she just comes by it naturally. There are many ways people can have fun in this workshop and become more enlightened in the process. One of the take aways I like participants to get out of the workshop is an enhanced sense of trust in each other and more enjoyment in working together.

Three words that describe your presentation style:

Dynamic, Engaging and Authentic

Do you have a favorite quote? What/why?

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

I also like, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” – Dr. George Draper, founder of physiological psychology in America. Therapist to Franklin Roosevelt and supreme court justice William O. Douglas. Both of these famous men credit Dr. Draper with helping them overcome their respective phobias and fears.