The Educational System In Nigeria Does Not Prepare the Youth for Life Outside – Personal Development Expert

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The Educational System In Nigeria Does Not Prepare the Youth for Life Outside – Personal Development Expert

OLUSAYO ADELEYE is a lawyer, Public Speaker, Personal Development and Leadership Trainer and Coach and the Executive Director, STAND FOUNDATION. She was called to bar on 4th July, 2003 but never practised law full time and chose to be a leading etiquette and personal development consultant.


She spoke to AFRICAN NEWS TODAY CORRESPONDENT, DEBO OMILANI  on issues of social pressures, personal development as well as acquiring leadership skills among Nigerian Youths, among other issues.


QUESTION : Your journey so far as a personal development coach. Can you also be called a motivational speaker?


Well I think the word, ‘motivational speaker’ has been abused, that’s why I don’t refer to myself as one. I motivate people and spur them to take positive action through my write-ups, articles and public speaking. Most people refer to me as the ‘intentionality coach’ because I teach people to be intentional about their lives, careers, relationship, etc. I teach people to take deliberate actions in their lives in order to get their desired results.


So far, I have made amazing progress because one thing about this profession is that your results will speak for you and definitely bring you referrals. My first client was a young lady who had self-esteem and confidence issues. Her life was literally in a mess because she was having challenges in every area of her life. During my sessions with her, I was able to trace to the fact that her problems stemmed from her childhood. Her mum was always saying negative things that really affected her confidence and self-esteem but we were able to deal with it and today, she’s doing excellently well. There are several other testimonies like that.


On the issue of trainings, quite a number of organizations haven’t inculcated the habit of routine training on their staff. Some of them complain that trainings are expensive, but they fail to realise that trainings, when properly done, improve staff productivity and contribute positively to the achievement of the organisation’s goals and objectives. This is not to say that we don’t have organisations that invest in staff training but we need to have more.


QUESTION: Nigeria is one nation that prides itself as having values but how come we are still lagging behind in the area of etiquette?


Yes, we have our local and cultural values but when it comes to being professional, there are some rules of engagement between a business owner and his customers and this is where many people fall short. I have had personal experiences where someone who is supposed to be the customer service executive of a company was very unprofessional in her service to me as a client. That actually made me terminate any business I intended doing with the company. This is just an instance out of the numerous cases of how companies or business owners lose their customers. A lot of people miss it in their business as well as in their personal interactions too. Yes, you can know how to greet well, talk well, etc. but still lack that human connecting element or the emotional Intelligence to excel. You can’t be recognised as a professional if you don’t know how to relate well with people.


QUESTION: How would you rate Nigerians, especially youths, in the area of personal development as well as acquiring leadership skills?


A lot of educationists have been clamouring for a change in our educational curriculum. The curriculum we operate in Nigeria now is obsolete and needs an urgent overhaul . Students are just being taught book knowledge. They are just being equipped with hard-skills but not the necessary skills needed to excel in life and to make impact. Soft skills like time-management, self- confidence, team- building, decision- making, inter-personal relations and emotional intelligence are not taught in schools.


Leadership is so important but a lot of our youths are not being equipped with proper leadership skills to be leaders. I know I was not equipped to be a leader while in school and I had to learn it the hard way, and this is one of the reasons I am so passionate about personal development.


Growing up, I missed a lot of opportunities because I didn’t know better. There is an experience I will never forget in my life. I had an opportunity to work at KPMG after I finished from lawschool. Out of 43 applicants, I was the only person who was employed. I got my employment letter and I rejected the offer eventually because I did not have the right decision-making skills at the time. I also didn’t feel confident enough to believe that I would thrive in that environment. Today, I speak in corporate organisations and that is because I have developed myself but if there was one thing I wish I could go back and undo, that has to be letting that golden opportunity slip out of my hands. I learnt from my mistake and that is why I today I am committed to not letting other people make the same mistake I made.


You just have to evolve in the area of personal development or you will make bad decisions that you may spend the rest of your life paying for.

QUESTION: Let’s talk about the societal pressure on the Nigerian youth that makes them dabble into so many things in a bid to beat the unemployment out there and live up to their financial obligations.


Well, the educational system in Nigeria does not prepare the youth for life outside. When you are in school, it’s like you are inside a cocoon. It is when you leave that you will start to face the harsh realities of life and if you are not well-prepared by acquiring skills that make you employable, you may be overwhelmed by the harshness of the outside world.


What you do when you are unable to get paid employment is to seek alternative means of making ends meet. This may mean looking at entrepreneurship as a source of income. In doing this, there may be the temptation to go into so many things at once but I would advise that rather than do this, you must have a vision that drives you and then focus on that vision. It’s better to do one thing and become an expert in it than do many things and not be recognised for any.


I am speaking here from my experience. I have done a lot of ventures all in a bid to make money but because they were at variance with my vision and purpose, I didn’t find fulfillment in them. After careful introspection, I came to accept what I am doing currently to be in line with my purpose and so I committed myself fully into it.

You have to know that if you are just about making money alone, you will suffer. Find your purpose, find a need to solve that is congruent to that purpose, commit yourself to it and watch all the pieces fall in place. Money, fame and fulfilment will follow.


QUESTION : Solutions to solving poor leadership skills and lack of focus on personal development in Nigeria.


There is an urgent need for a change in the school curriculum. Soft skills should be taught in our schools right from the elementary level and as individuals, you have to invest in yourself through trainings and reading. Government might havefailed you but do not fail yourself. You have to be intentional about developing and becoming better version of yourself. Be a person of value.


QUESTION: What’s the business side of being a coach and public speaker?


Well, for every business venture, there are challenges, especially at the initial stage. When I started off, I did a lot of work for free.
This is because I had to gain recognition and acceptance. I organized and got invited to several workshops; personal development trainings, business workshops and leaderships seminars where I spoke for free. From there, I got businesses that really paid off at the end of the day. You have to be able to delay gratification and make some sacrifices to get what you want out of life.


QUESTION: What other areas do you facilitate trainings on?


I lay particular emphasis on Goal Setting for Individuals and Organisations, Personal Development and Leadership, Soft Skills as well as Personal and Business Etiquette. These are the core focus areas for me. I have written a book on Goal- Setting and I am currently working on another one centred around soft skills.


QUESTION: One word for someone out there who really wants to grow but doesn’t know how to go about it?


The first thing I always advise is to find your purpose. You must know your “why”. When you have discovered what your purpose it, you must give your all to focus on and achieve that purpose. Don’t live another person’s vision or dream. Make sure you are living your own dream. Get a coach or a mentor who can always put you through and help you get back on track when you are off course.

When you have realised what your vision is, you begin to take small but well organised steps called goals towards achieving that vision. Along the line you might feel like all is not working, then you can restrategise and change your plans but you must never change your vision.

When the going gets tough, maintain your gaze on the bigger
picture and get going.


QUESTION: On her Career as public speaker, personal development consultant coupled with Legal Practice, She Explained


Actually, I have never practised law full time although I currently have a solicitor’s practice located in Ibadan. My career started in the bank in 2006. I started as a banker and my interest with etiquette training was cultivated when I was in the customer care unit of the bank. I realized that a lot of people do not actually know how to relate with their customers and clients. In the course dealing with people over the years, I also realised that a lot of people lack proper manners and etiquette and it leads to avoidable conflicts oftentimes.

I have seen people lose businesses and jobs because they were not able to manage the human side of their relationship with their customers and clients and even with their co-workers. They failed to invest in developing themselves and acquiring the necessary soft skills to survive in the work environment.
So this spiked my interest in etiquette and personal development and when I got the opportunity, I got an etiquette certification and I have been doing it since 2017 but I began fully in 2018. My career as a personal development and leadership coach started in September 2018 and today I am the Lead Consultant/ Trainer at LearnBridge Consulting Limited.

I am especially passionate about the welfare of women and children and this led to my founding of an NGO- Support Towards Advancement, Networking and Development (STAND) Foundation for Women & Children and what we do basically is to advocate for the empowerment of women and the enforcement of their rights as well as those of children and youths.

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