Soft Skills Do Matter.

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When you applied for your first job as a PADI Scuba Instructor you probably listed all the courses that you have done, what skills you have mastered, what courses you have attended, even your accomplishments at school. And these are all important to get a job. Just as you as an Instructor needs to have the knowledge and skills to dive, so do as an example dentists need to know how to fill holes in your teeth and perform root canal treatment.

Beyond the technical skills expected from a dentist, which dentist do you go to? The one who is pleasant and takes time to answer your questions; or the one who treats you like a number in a long line of numbered mouths?

In these situations, and all the others like them, it’s the soft skills that matter.

While your technical skills may get your foot in the door, your people skills are what open most of the doors to come. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills that are crucial for career success.

With these soft skills you can excel as a leader. Problem solving, delegating, motivating, and team building are all much easier if you have good soft skills. Knowing how to get along with people – and displaying a positive attitude – are crucial for success.

The problem is, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued, and there is far less training provided for them than hard skills. For some reason, dive centres seem to expect people know how to behave on the job. They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly, and producing high quality work.

However, when you look around your own dive centre, it is usually fairly easy to find those employees lacking soft skills. They are the ones unwilling to accept any kind of change, the ones unable to properly manage subordinates, and the ones constantly upset about one thing or another (whether in their professional or personal life).

What should a manager do with employees lacking these skills? Fire them? Just put up with them? Why not help them develop the skills?

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Assuming that soft skills are universal leads to much frustration. That’s why it’s so important to focus as much on soft skills training and development as you do on traditional hard skills.

Soft skills can’t be learned by just studying about them. They have to be learned through a process of change that can be difficult and uncomfortable at times, but it can have dramatic effects on your company’s bottom line. The following six-step process is a basic overview:

1. WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE

While this isn’t a big step, it is an important prerequisite. You cannot force people to become more self-aware; they must be willing to begin the process of change themselves. If this basic building block is not present, there isn’t much that can be learned through this process. If this is the case in your dive centre, there are many good resources available for creating “readiness for change.”

2. EDUCATION

While learning soft skills is not simply “book learning,” there still must be an aspect of education on best practices. Reading books like Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There are great starting places for learning the basics.

3. EVALUATION

It is one thing to know the best practices—it is another to know how you measure up against them. Assessments help to evaluate where an employee stands (areas of strength and areas in need of improvement) as well as to describe the natural tendencies an individual has. It is important to include both self-assessments and assessments that include input from others as both types give important feedback. Does your dive centre even do staff assessments?

4. SELF-REFLECTION

Once employees have learned more about themselves (strengths, faults, tendencies, etc.), it is necessary for them to reflect on what they have learned. Are they humble enough to realize they aren’t perfect? Are they willing to put in the effort to grow even though it may be difficult and uncomfortable? Can they understand their natural tendencies and see how they interact with others?

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5. GOAL SETTING

Defining a clear vision for the future is an important next step, which should involve choosing three to five tangible goals to work toward. These goals should be developed from the information learned through the process (especially feedback from others), and then should be shared with others (supervisors, direct reports, peers) so observers are able to notice the changes and hold the employee accountable.

6. PRACTICE

Soft skills do no good in a vacuum. They have to be put into practice in “real life” over a long period of time. Some failure is inevitable, but growth will come. After a few months, employees working toward change should revisit the goals with coworkers to gauge the progress being made.

This process can be done on an individual basis or in groups; it can be completed internally or with an outside facilitator; it can be used at work or at home—but the key takeaway is that it is a process. It’s different than book learning and can take some time, so be patient. In the end, the time invested will be worth it—both to the employees involved and the dive centres bottom line!

 

Open Water Touch Affiliation Links Available in More Languages

Add links to your website and automatically affiliate Touch or eLearning students with your store so you generate revenue around the clock. Use the link below and plug in your store number along with the corresponding course ID.

Affiliation links are now available for Open Water Diver Touch in these additional languages: Spanish, Polish, Korean, German, French, Italian, Arabic, Dutch, Japanese and Portuguese.

For Touch, Certification Paks and eLearning use:

https://www.padi.com/elearning-scuba-registration/default.aspx?irra=StoreNumber&courseid=CourseID

For ReActivate use:

http://apps.padi.com/scuba-diving/shopping-cart/product/productAffiliation?ProductId=B4956EA2-9985-4356-A9DA-42BEF212D8D8&StoreNumber=StoreNumber

Here’s the full list of available affiliation links:

Make sure you check your Courses Offered preferences under the My Account section in the PADI Pros’ Site so you can use the corresponding affiliation links. If the proper courses are not set up in the Pros’ Site, your store will not be auto-affiliated.

Implementing the Updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course

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There’s a lot to like about the revised and updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course: the obvious and necessary content updates, the new Thinking Like a Diver section, the cool new PADI Advanced Open Water Diver materials and, from an immediate implementation perspective, the fact that the new course is at once new and exciting yet still essentially familiar. Perhaps the neatest benefit and the greatest opportunity is the streamlined relationship between the Adventure Dives and PADI Specialties.

Now’s the perfect time to review the specialties you (and your staff) teach and seriously consider expanding what you offer. Evaluate the specialty dive opportunities in your area, and those you are particularly passionate about, which you couldn’t link to the previous Advanced Open Water Diver course. This is the perfect opportunity to create your own special course that reflects your unique area and benefits, and which excites divers.

Now, the first dives of all standardized PADI or AWARE Specialty Diver courses may be offered as Adventure Dives. You can offer these “new” Adventure Dives – for example, an Ice Dive or a Dive Against Debris™ Adventure Dive – if you’re certified as an instructor in the specialty, and the student diver meets the specialty prerequisites. (Also, while the PADI Rebreather Diver course is not a PADI Specialty Diver course, the first, task-intensive, confined water dive counts as an Adventure Dive.) There’s a complete list of the revised Adventure Dives and the standardized PADI Specialty Diver courses, and a lot more information, in the 3Q2016 The Undersea Journal.

AOWDebris_Catalina_0416_033A few obsolete Adventure Dives are gone, but you can offer more than ever before. A great example is the Digital Underwater Imaging Adventure Dive, which replaces both the Underwater Photography and Underwater Videography Adventure Dives. This new dive focuses on modern cameras that shoot both stills and video, and develops basic skills and knowledge in both – though you and your student divers may favor one or the other. The dive still credits as the first dive in the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course, even though it differs from the specialty (which will be revised in the future).

The opportunities are nearly endless: Depending upon your location and market, you can get divers started in sidemount, ice, cavern, full face mask, delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB), diver propulsion vehicle (DPV), enriched air or any other standardized specialty using existing specialty materials.

Tie in the new Adventure Dives by having the PADI Specialty Instructor ratings for the new opportunities, and grab this unique moment to make your new Advanced Open Water Diver course truly special.

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Thomas Baum, PADI Course Director

thomas-baumThomas Baum, PADI Course Director and owner of PADI 5 Star IDC Center Fuldas Tauchertreff, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2015 earlier this year – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world. 

We spoke to Thomas to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to him, as well as learning about his achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?

I always wanted to give something special to others in form of training and courses – and to have my ‘office’ out in the natural world.

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?

The PADI system is the best in the market. If you use it correctly, you do not work for a system like most people – the system works for you. Therefore you have a more successful and enjoyable ‘working’ life.

Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?

I still love conducting the IDC the most. This program has the most detail and facts, and I enjoy introducing others to the PADI system. To see that they all of a sudden can teach theory and skills that was, for most, not possible before. This development is always fascinating.

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What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?

I believe my greatest achievement within diving was to become a PADI Course Director. Also, to be part of the development of some PADI courses (i.e. Digital Underwater Photographer, business programmes, the new Freediver course) as well as building up a nationwide network of PADI Instructors and Dive Centers.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?

The freedom, the peace, and the weightlessness underwater.

Do you ever feel like you have reached the limit of your diving career?

No, I always evaluate the market very thoroughly, looking for new potential and using it. There are many unused opportunities, so there is always enough to do!

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?

Of course – once someone learns to dive and enjoys it, their whole life turns positive. You become an ‘astronaut’ when you are weightless underwater, and you can enjoy the beauty of the underwater world without any stress. While diving – versus other sports – you don’t have to compete; you don’t have to “beat” someone to achieve results. People have enough pressure in their daily life, other sports and even in their private life. Diving is different and you don’t have any stress. That’s why so many people do this wonderful sport.

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Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?

Most people want to enjoy nature in their leisure time, have no pressure and do sports with a lot of fun – diving supplies all of this. With the Discover Scuba Diving program we have a fantastic opportunity to get people into diving.

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognized as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2015?

It is a good and nice feeling, and it reinforces you to do even more every day, and that you are sure you are doing the right thing.

What does “my PADI” mean to you?

“My PADI” is for me, to ‘stand behind’ the system and the association, and to support the most innovative and most successful system in the Industry.

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?

“Carpe Diem“ – use every day to plan how you can get people into diving. Without written down goals you only get a part of the results that you could do. You should know your strengths and promote the courses you like best. Then everything will move forward!

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Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Giuliana Prosdocimo, PADI OWSI

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Meet Giuliana Prosdocimo, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (354973). Giuliana works for PADI 5 Star IDC Center Bluetribe Moofushi Maldives. Not only is Giuliana one of our 2015 PADI Elite instructors, but she’s well on her way to smashing her amazing 2015 certification record in 2016.

Watch the video below to hear what it means to her to be a PADI Diver, Professional and Elite Instructor.


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

PADI eLearning Performance Improvements

This June, PADI partnered with Akamai, a global leader in content and media distribution, to turbo charge the PADI eLearning® experience with cutting-edge server technology. People the world over have become increasingly accustomed to fast, high-quality, online experiences, and it’s vital that the dive industry continues to stand out in this ultra-competitive landscape.

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Akamai works with companies (including Apple, Verizon, Sony, Disney and Yahoo) who distribute massive amounts of content globally. Their vast network comprises 216,000 servers housed in data centers spread throughout 120 countries around the world. Somewhere in the region of eighty-five percent of the world’s Internet users are within a single network hop of an Akamai server.

They will host PADI eLearning courses in a local data center, which means that divers in London, Sydney or Hong Kong won’t have to wait for a US-based server, they’ll pull content locally. This dramatically speeds up eLearning course performance. Some users could potentially see a several hundred percent improvement in speed. The most notable improvement will be video load time.

This technology is deployed in the background and is now fully propagated around the world; you will experience the improvement immediately on login to any eLearning course.

More improvements are in store later this year when PADI will upgrade the Learning Management System (LMS) that powers eLearning. This will enable features such as mobile-first responsive design, which fully supports mobile devices, phones and tablets, including iOS devices which are currently only supported by the Touch product line. This upgrade supports larger video resolutions so that divers using eLearning products on a desktop or laptop computer can size video all the way up to full screen in most cases.  In addition, reduced file sizes will make PADI digital products load faster on mobile networks, and later in 2017, courses will run even when devices are not connected to the internet.

PADI eLearning courses will migrate to the new platform from late 2016 throughout 2017. Keep an eye out for details closer to the launch and make sure to let your divers (and potential divers) know about the state of the art learning experiences that await them.

Is Freediver Right for You?

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By now you’ve likely heard about the PADI Freediver™ program; there’s a bunch of information out there (especially in the first quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal® and, of course, on PADI.com). Some PADI Pros have taken to it like ducks to water, while others may be a bit hesitant about leaping in and still have questions.

For those in the latter camp, here are a couple of big reasons to consider, if not leaping, then at least sticking a toe into freediving waters.

First, it’s fun. You almost certainly already enjoy casual freediving and the freedom of diving without scuba. While you probably have above-average freediving skills, you may not be interested in intense competition or breaking records. Perfect. Taking the PADI Freediver course is an obvious first step and a great way to fine tune your skills while taking a good look at the program and its support materials from a professional’s perspective.

You can do just that, and a whole lot more, on 19 November at DEMA Show 2016. There’ll be a half-day special event covering the PADI Basic Freediver course with role-model knowledge development and confined water sessions. The course also includes PADI Freediver Touch™ and certification as a PADI Basic Freediver; you can complete the two open water sessions later to become a PADI Freediver. PADI staff will also answer any remaining questions you may have at the event. Sign up by 3 November so you have time to read through and study the learning materials. No special freediving equipment required – just regular fins, mask and snorkel.

Not able to make it to DEMA? You can do something similar at a PADI Freediver Center near you.

After the course you’ll be equipped to decide whether or not to upgrade your skills to the PADI Advanced Freediver or Master Freediver levels, and later become a PADI Freediver Instructor.

Which brings up the second big reason to get serious about freediving: It’s one of the fastest-growing dive-industry segments and PADI Freediver courses provide you with new business opportunities and a pipeline to younger customers. If you have any doubts about this, take a moment to read some of the articles in this year’s issues of The Undersea Journal, in which PADI Members already in the freediving business share some of their unique insights.

There’s probably no need by now to mention any of the myriad other freediving benefits – such as personal fitness, the ease of just grabbing your gear and going or the fact that you can sneak right up on the shiest of aquatic animals. (But we went ahead and mentioned them anyway!) It’s time to hold your breath.

Introducing the New PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Program

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The revised PADI Advanced Open Water Diver program launches this September, and while the changes are significant, the essence of the course remains untouched. Think of it as a shiny new car, but one that’s the same model as your old familiar vehicle. Three goals drove the revision.

First, PADI updated the content. Dive equipment and techniques have changed since the release of the last version of the course and content is updated to reflect this. Now, for example, there are references to electronic compasses in navigation and no references to film in digital underwater imaging. Also, the first dive
 of all standardized PADI Specialty Diver courses, Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris™, and Shark Conservation Specialty courses and the PADI Rebreather Diver course credit as Adventure Dives. This means more dive opportunities no matter what or where you’re teaching.

Second, PADI modernized the instructional products. The instructional tools are now as state-of-the-art as the devices student divers access them from. While a paper manual will still be available, the revised program introduces a new, mobile-friendly PADI Advanced Open Water Diver digital product. All new images and video make these instructional products pop.

AOWDebris_Catalina_0416_033Third, PADI accelerated development of the thinking skills divers acquire through experience to build confident and conservative divers. There’s a new Thinking Like a Diver section that focuses on principles such as gas management, situational awareness and buddy communication. This encourages divers to think about what they’re doing before, during and after every Adventure Dive in the same way more experienced divers do. Consequently, they better understand how to improve their dives and manage risks.

There’s a lot that didn’t change, too. Philosophically, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course still gives new (and experienced) PADI Open Water Divers the world over continued training and skill development under professional guidance. It’s still focused on introducing specialty diving. The Deep and Underwater Navigation Adventure Dives, plus three other Adventure Dives, are still required for Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and any three Adventure Dives qualify a diver for Adventure Diver.

The revised PADI Advanced Open Water Diver improves on an already great program, is easy and familiar to teach, and offers even more of the exploration, excitement and experiences that divers look for. Take a look at the third quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal, which has several relevant and detailed articles, and make a point of implementing the new program as soon as the materials are available.

Getting Back to Basics

Your very first experience as a Scuba Diver would have taken place in a swimming pool or confined Open Water Environment. It is here that you would have learnt the basic skills to give you the confidence to display to your instructor that you have mastered these skills in Open Water. But when last did your students practice these vital skills?

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Many people will do a lifetime of dives without ever experiencing any problems on their underwater adventures. Modern Scuba equipment is at the cutting edge of design and manufacturers have evolved their equipment over the years to make it more safe. But if you were to experience a problem with a free flowing regulator, a lost weight belt or an out of air emergency how would you react?

A great way to keep your customers skills refreshed and up to date is to invite them back to the swimming pool. Plan a safety and skills day at your swimming pool. Get your divemasters and Assistant instructors involved to help demonstrate skills and assist your divers perfecting skills they may have forgotten. You may even go over the basics of scuba equipment and pre and post dive care, Suggest them enrolling in a PADI Equipment Specialist course.

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Get them in the water practising those vital safety skills they learnt on their PADI Open Water course.  Include some of your scuba equipment suppliers to demo new equipment on the day for your customers to try out. Practice some self rescue skills and do some rescue demonstrations. If your customers haven’t dived in a while you may consider doing a PADI Reactivate program with them.

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The day in and around the pool will give you chance to interact with your former students and customers and is a great way to get them interested in PADI Rescue courses or purchasing new gear.

You will have happy, safer divers and in the event of a problem they will be more confident to react or help themselves.

 

PADI Open Water Diver Touch now available in Arabic

1112 Arabic Open Water Touch Blog GraphicWith the growing trend of consumers moving towards mobile devices and interactive displays, it was only natural for PADI to continue to lead the way in technological advancements within the dive industry. The PADI Open Water Diver Touch Digital Certification Paks are now available in Arabic, Dutch, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Korean and English.

These Certification Paks bring the traditional Crewpak to a fully integrated digital-delivery system and a welcome addition to the ever expanding PADI Digital Product Suite. To download the full PADI Digital Product Suite brochure click here.

Open Water Certification Pak – Offline (Touch) includes:
– Open Water Diver Touch
– Open Water Diver eManual
– Open Water Video clips
– eRDPml Touch/Digital RDP Tables
– eTraining Dive Log
– Certifying Credit (PIC)

Where do I find it?

PADI Library App, and ScubaEarth for the eTraining Dive Log

Who can purchase it?

PADI Members can purchase it via PADI Sales Consultants or the PADI eShop. Students can purchase it through padi.com.

For more information about how to buy and sell PADI Touch products click here

Do I need an internet connection?

This is only necessary for the initial download to the PADI Library App, to submit Knowledge Reviews, Quizzes, Final Exam and to Log Training Dives on ScubaEarth.

For more information and/or to order copies of the Open Water Diver Certification Pak – Offline, contact [email protected], call your PADI Sales Consultant (+44 (0) 117 300 7234) or visit the PADI eShop.