INVEST IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
INVESTING IN YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OUGHT TO BE A CORNERSTONE OF TODAY’S COMPETITIVE CAREER LANDSCAPE. OUR WORKING LIVES ARE GETTING LONGER. THE COMPETITION IS BECOMING EVER MORE INTENSE. SIMPLY PERFORMING AT WHAT WE THINK IS OUR BEST LEVEL WILL NOT NECESSARILY BE ENOUGH WHEN THE BIG NEW OPPORTUNITIES ARISE.
SO WHY DO SO FEW OF US ACTIVELY PLAN OUR CAREERS, EQUIPPING OURSELVES WITH NOT ONLY THE SKILLS TO EXCEL IN TOMORROW’S WORLD BUT ALSO WITH THE PROFESSIONAL COACHING AND ADVICE THAT WILL PROVIDE US WITH TOOLS TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE CHANCES THAT COME OUR WAY?
“A well-designed life is a life that is generative – it is constantly creative, productive, changing, evolving and there is always the possibility of surprise”BILL BURNETT & DAVE EVANSDESIGNING YOUR LIFE
We all have our individual answers, but we also know that, in this era of increasingly important personal branding, personal development is an investment that is best begun early. In order to thrive rather than merely survive, we need to create growth, curiosity and enjoyment. Stretching our capabilities and honing our ability to work with change in all its forms can do so much more than just fill us with an assertive, confident demeanour.
There are different types of professional development. Some focus on specific skills and competencies, while others focus on the individual or the team. There are also many ways to experience learning. It can be delivered face-to-face but also over the phone or video link. You don’t even need to actually meet your coach, provided a strong personal connection can be established. The coaching is also uniquely tailored to your own requirements and can be the cornerstone of your personal development plan to unlock your potential in the following ways:
AN INVESTMENT IN MINDSET
Just as the best tennis players and golfers need coaches to develop winning mindsets, so do people at work. Working with a coach helps identify who you are, what your purpose is and how to play to your strengths. It also offers strategies and support to help make your goals a reality. This may require a mindset shift but literally taking your future into your own hands is the most assertive action you can take. While career moves won’t always materialise as planned, there’s plenty you can do to maximise your potential and set yourself up for success when they do,
A CAREER ACCELERATOR
Professional development is a major lever for taking control of your career, whether preparing for promotion or managing a transition. Investing in coaching is a strong signal to an employer of your determination to become your best self, constantly pushing to achieve more and increase the quality and value of your work. It helps build confidence to raise your profile internally. as well as externally, and equips you with the confidence and soft skills to take your work performance to the next level. For people who have been in the same role for years, suddenly finding themselves marginalised or victims of restructuring, promoting oneself can seem a scary step to take. They may be unsure how to harness their value and create a relevant, coherent storyline that makes sense of who they are. It is even more vital in this situation to seek help to rebuild the confidence to sell yourself in the competitive jobs market.
AN INVESTMENT IN YOU
Investing in professional development coaching creates awareness of where you are and where you want to be and keeps you accountable. As well as building competencies and technical abilities, it develops soft skills, including confidence, creativity, influence, persuasion, gravitas and personal presence. Many organisations often acknowledge they may not have time or opportunities to develop such skills, so a tailor-made programme is an efficient means of back-filling the skills gap. It also builds confidence, agility and a stronger disposition to deal with the uncertain whilst also giving you the confidence and ability to be more productive and efficient in your role. Always ask your employer if they will sponsor your coaching. Most organisations will, but if they can’t, it’s a small investment to make personally if you’re serious about your career. The coaching journey is not always easy because it involves stretch and challenging assumptions that will take you out of your comfort zone and up into the next level. Whatever the outcome, it will ensure you raise the bar.
A PROVIDER OF TIME TO THINK
Professional development coaching carves out a much-needed time to think strategically about yourself and your career. Whether you’re facing specific challenges or setbacks or just want to focus on your aspirations and ambitions, taking time out from your busy schedule will enable you to see your work in a different light. This creates awareness of where you are, where you want to be and the actions you need to take. Life and work don’t happen in straight lines. A totally confidential, safe and trusting place to share concerns, face home truths and maybe practice new behaviours can help you find your purpose, creating energy and strength to unblock a negative situation and move forward in the right direction. Coaching prevents you standing still. It’s okay to ask for help.
A SIGNAL OF YOUR INTENTION AND AMBITIONS
Your employer also wants you to develop your career and achieve your goals. Today’s organisations have to fight hard to stand out in order to attract and retain the best talent. Professional development signals externally that they are good employers, while internally motivating and retaining talent. Ambitious, young professionals are hungry to learn and will leave if they feel they’re treading water, while older employees also need to stay fresh and find fulfilment by adding to their skill set by working with a confidential sounding board or sparring partner to think through their issues. Demonstrating that you are committed to your personal development by investing time and energy in coaching programmes shows employers that you are engaged, productive and committed to constant self-improvement.
A TOOL TO CREATE MEANING AND VALUES THAT BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Professional development coaching helps capture learning and label your achievements, allowing you to better understand the decisions you have taken and your motivators, so that you can find your best-fit working environment – a place where you will be in flow rather than working against your natural preference. It also enables you to develop and own your narrative and “red thread” to your career. The coaching should be regarded as a way of ensuring that you are “match fit” to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, giving you a higher chance of success of securing the move that you most want.
Each career move needs to make sense to a potential new employer. In an era where personal branding is increasingly important in showcasing ability, coaching also helps individuals develop their brand and the key aspects that make them stand out from the crowd. A skilled coach can help you unlock your potential, making you aware of valuable talent that you may take for granted and helping you highlight it to your employer. Coaching will also help you develop your own actionable strategies.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COACHING IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
“In increasingly tough times, staff will, though, have to perform and produce, whether from a muggy front-room or an air-conditioned, Covid-proofed cubicle, and they will have to be well managed”ANDREW HILLFINANCIAL TIMES
Covid-19 provides a unique opportunity to engage in some professional development. Whilst staying at home and changing the way we work has been a release for some and challenging for others, it has also provided a pause for reflection and an opportunity for both individuals and their organisations to take part in an important re-setting of priorities, values and life targets.
There has never been a more important time to focus on yourself, your skills and how and where you want to be in this new normal. You cannot aord to stand still. When it arrives, the upturn will happen quickly and we all need to be ready.
In this time of uncertainty, professional development coaching gives you an opportunity to receive impartial feedback, holding up the mirror to how others may experience you or why previous roles may or may not have worked out. It will help you to understand your strengths and how to activate your best self. In addition, it can aid you in identifying your purpose, which will provide meaning and strength when times get tough.
If you are currently in transition between roles, working with a coach will help you position yourself and create the impact you want, supporting you through the ups and downs of the process and preparing you at every stage. Once you are clear on your goals, your coach will also help you make a plan with clear strategies and actions, based on where you want to get to and what you need to do. This represents much-needed support in an environment where asking for help is not always easy and helps you learn in a way that works for you, helping you find your way through the maze or re-frame your thoughts on a current situation.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COACHING ALSO:
- Keeps you fresh, engaged and questioning how you might deliver better;
- Opens your eyes within your organisation, helping you navigate its quirks and processes;
- Provides an opportunity to drive your career and know yourself, helping you become aware of who and where you are, where you want to go and at what pace;
- Ensures you stay on a track with yourself and manage your own expectations;
- Equally helps people who are extremely competent but have low self-confidence and those with high self-confidence and low competence. Coaches can address the gaps one-on-one;
- Takes individuals out of the day job and corporate group-think, providing allocated time for invaluable personal development work;
- Helps us all to face some potentially uncomfortable truths that need work.
Personal development coaching releases a huge source of growth, curiosity and stretch that will take you to the next level professionally, increasing your potential for promotion or helping you find a new role aligned with your values and aspirations.
WHY PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT COACHING WORKS
- Everyone is unique and so is every coaching assignment. Experienced coaches tailor programmes and delivery style to suit your needs to ensure you reach your desired outcomes. A coach’s goal is to help you think for yourself and support you to succeed.
- Coaching styles can therefore be flexed according to what’s needed. Coaching relationships rely on absolute confidentiality and trust, enabling honest exchanges in a safe place where intentions are supportive. Insights develop as coaching encourages you to drop your guard and test assumptions.
- Unlike mentoring, coaching conversations are based around powerful, incisive questions that test beliefs and assumptions and help individuals access their own answers. These conversations feel different. You generate your own ideas so you are more likely to action them. Coaches can also share specific techniques and skills through training around communications and personal impact.
- Self-directed learning means that each individual chooses what and how they learn in their own way.
- Professional development coaching creates a virtuous circle. Once positive change starts to happen, confidence builds, enabling you to progress even further than you thought possible.
Jo has been working as a coach for over 20 years. She is a member of the International Coach Federation and is also an accredited coach supervisor specialising in preparing people for promotion and leadership.
Following a career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and financial and corporate reputation management around Europe, Jo is used to high stakes meetings where creating an impact is key. She is described as “high energy, deeply creative and solution-focused. She is incisive and able to quickly forge solid trusting relationships with both clients and colleagues”. A natural linguist, she is able to work comfortably in English, French or Spanish.
A INVESTMENT WORTH MAKING
Professional development coaching may be the best investment you ever make - and it is never too early to start - if you are serious about your career and open-minded about the possibilities ahead. It will inform your job decisions, fashioning your progress and creating a better career fit for you. It will also boost your energy and curiosity and may just change your life.