I was recently trying to help someone to identify skills that would help them to find a job. This individual is very technically capable so is seeking a technical role. They learned English as a second language and have a strong accent that can be difficult for a native English speaker to understand.
This individual was happy for me to suggest technical skills that they could improve, however when I suggested that making their accent more clear could help them to find a job, they were very offended. At the time, I viewed verbal and technical skills equally, however in hindsight, I now see that verbal skills can be more personal so I appreciate how I did not make this suggestion in the most tactful way. My intentions were just to try and help this person, not to upset them.
Contrary to popular belief, technical skill is only a very small part of technical roles. The majority is actually interpersonal, so clear communication is key. I was only trying to explain this, I did not want to offend. How do I politely and kindly explain this next time?
Just to be clear, I have apologised to the person and assured them that I do respect their skills. I am now trying to understand how I can improve for the future.