Professional Development

Let’s start with the question: What is professional development?

Professional Development relates to all forms of facilitated learning – an academic degree or higher learning qualification should not be considered the endpoint – rather, the starting point. Life-long learning is the hallmark of people who want to succeed in both their personal and professional lives.

Why is it imperative that people invest their time and energy into professional development?

Professional development needs to be seen as an essential part of career planning and development. It is a form of continuous self-improvement and enhances both the work experience and life fulfilment.

What are the different ways people are looking to develop professionally in 2016?

There are many ways to access professional development. Facilitated learning opportunities are available through formal coursework, conferences and in the workplace. Ideally these incorporate some form of evaluation.

While people are seeking more and more on-line opportunities to learn new skills, this is not suitable for the development of “people skills” which need to be interactive.

Contact Us to Learn More

What are the more popular professional development areas/trends?

I guess you can divide these into a number of skills sub-sets.

Of course, people need to be up-to-date with the latest developments in technical skills and IT pertaining to their industry, so I won’t elaborate on these.

My area of expertise is in developing emotionally intelligent leaders.

There has definitely been an increased awareness of the importance of understanding self and others as well as being able to influence and inspire others (people management). This includes an awareness of the different personality temperaments – their needs, values, behaviours and communication style.

Contact Us to Learn More

As well as understanding disparate temperaments, the skills necessary for improving interpersonal communication and relationship-building are considered essential for leadership and professional development. These include: assertive communication and conflict management.

Then there are the time management skills: prioritising, organisation and work-life balance.

But it is the self-managements skills – in the sense of emotional intelligence – that are leading the trend. They are about developing personal competence. These skills are not “learned” from on-line programs; they are embraced and integrated into the person’s philosophy. They require personal transformation and this is best developed with a self-actualised coach.

Some aspects of self-management include:
• ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check
• maintaining standards of honesty and integrity
• taking responsibility for personal performance
• thinking before acting
• being thoughtful of others
• being comfortable with change
• ability to set personal boundaries – to say “no”

Contact Us to Learn More

What are the steps in creating a professional development plan?

Firstly, you need to articulate your purpose – Why do I want to do this?

Is this really the career I feel fulfils my sense of purpose? Does this career/job-role give my life meaning?

Will I experience personal growth and enhance my relationships?

If you answer “no” to any of the above, it may be time to evaluate your present career path and seek professional help.

How should you approach your boss about professional development opportunities?

The WIFM adage applies here: “What’s in it for ME?” The employer needs to know the benefits that will accrue to his/her business bottom line. You need to put together a convincing proposal.

In Australia, only 37% of employees are engaged in achieving the goals of the business (Blessing Report 2013).

So, if your professional development can improve employee engagement, you would have a good case.

Contact Us to Learn More

About the Author:

Cecile Riddle is a Coach, Mentor and Learning Facilitator who specialises in developing emotionally intelligent leaders. She is an International Master Trainer of Personality Dimensions® and has designed an innovative professional development program – video of interactive workshop supplemented by skype coaching – for understanding self and others.

Cecile is a Fellow of the Career Development Association of Australia and describes her life’s work as helping people find work they are passionate about and to coach leaders to create organisational cultures that engage their people and maintain that passion.

As Principal of Prime Performance, Cecile has delivered personal and professional development programs (interactive workshops and individual coaching) to Small/Medium/Multi-national Businesses, Professional Associations and Education sectors, for over 2 decades.

A brief video of her work can be viewed on this link:

Blog Posts

  • "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." --Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Nobel Prize Winner