Burden/Chore OR Continuous Professional Development? (CPD)2017-09-18T10:00:47+01:00

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What is it to you?

Most professional organisations that accredit professionals demand regular proof that members attend a certain amount of hours of continuous professional development every year. This is a condition of remaining accredited. This can cause frustration for practitioners as they feel they have to do courses or activities that do not contribute to their work or to their personal life just to remain accredited, others feel they have to do it to remain current or even continue in their current job. The cost can also add up leaving little space for other courses.

I know people, clients and peers alike, who decided that they do not want or need formal professional development, they prefer to learn from experience. Others are the opposite, they are almost learning addicts, and sign up to every course they can find.

Others again do some CPD as chores because they feel they have to and love going on personal development courses for themselves which never cross over into their work.

And, there are many more individual approaches to CPD that I am aware of.

What most of these individuals and approaches have in common is this:

They have no principles worked out for their development. None.

It always astounds me as a coach that very few people sit down and really endeavour to understand what is truly important to them about their development and
what they want to get out of it for themselves, their clients, their work, and potentially other areas of their life.

They go because it is yet another qualification, it is what people are doing, because it looks interesting, because they have to keep current, because …….

So many reasons, but very few are a true principle or intention.

What do I mean by that?

Intentions and Principles are what turns personal and professional development from a chore into a multifaceted adventure.

Let me use myself as an example. I do a lot of personal and professional development. In fact, I could probably be classed as a learning addict.

Long ago, when I was looking for my first‐degree subject, I decided I was going to use principles and intentions rather than actual supposed interest or other factors to help me decide what to select.

I ask myself these questions when I look at my next personal development activities:

  1. What do I want from any development? What is important to me to be like following the development activity, course etc?
  2. Where do I feel I have a gap? What qualities do I need to strengthen or change?

The answers to the first question have never changed. Whilst I love certificates, they are not that important to me. What is important is that any development must give me:

  1. What do I want from any development:
    • Expanded Awareness: Increased selfawareness, deeper understanding of myself and others
    • New perspectives: about myself and/or others, new ideas, increase in creativity
    • Change/Transformation: Evolve how I do what I do (could be in any area)
    • Roundedness: Make me more rounded as a person and in my work, more flexibility / versality, increased ability to dance in the moment
    • Cross‐fertilisation: Need to be able to apply learnings/insights/skills across several areas of my personal/work life, ideally both
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      Note: I take full responsibility for the above. These are my own principles and not the necessarily the course director, trainer or authors principles. This is what I commit to myself to work on or set as an intention. If I don’t get this from a development activity, it is my responsibility: “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.
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  2. Where do I feel I have a gap? What qualities do I need to strengthen or change?

I love this question. The answers always apply across my whole life, and when I change the quality one area of my life the other areas also change.

For example, very recently, I felt my life was out of balance. Too much work and nothing much else. My answers were:
- Balance
- Uninterrupted flow

A while ago around December last year when I was looking at a few longer term CPDs, my answers were:
- Simplification
- Quick to market

I seldom choose more than three gaps/qualities at any time as to me more would feel demotivating. This is very much a personal choice.

Now, you might wonder, what development activities I chose or how these might relate to my coaching, mentoring or consultancy work?

Here are two recent examples and what I learnt from them that I have or will be incorporating into my personal and work life:

I tend to lead my choices of development activity with the answers to question 2, then apply question 1 while learning.

I had many more insights and revelations than I am sharing with you here. The two examples are meant to be examples not an exhaustive treatise about my take
aways from my CPDs.

Example 1: Windsurfing lessons

Balance: Windsurfing and surfing requires a lot of coordination and balance otherwise you will not go anywhere or fall in the water on a regular basis.

Uninterrupted Flow: requires said balance but also significant awareness of oneself, the wind, the sea and whoever else is around you. It also requires constant adjustment of position based on one’s awareness.

Expanded Awareness: I realised how much I look down and at what I am doing, rather than out in front towards my goal/where I am going.

New perspectives: I noticed the way the instructor taught. Very positive and encouraging. He had everyone being fairly confident up and windsurfing, doing at least one turn well. He said things like, your posture is really confident, rather than good, which most instructors do. Confident is far easier to anchor than good, as it is more specific and a quality most people recognise. Good is more an external evaluation of your performance not  something you might have a feel for as a beginner or learner. I am wondering now how I am take this back into my work.

Change/Transformation: Evolves my physical body, and refocuses on what’s in front. In Windsurfing it is critical to always watch where you are going.

Roundedness: Discovered a number of gaps in balance I can now work on, off and on the surfboard. And, of course, I had a lot of fun which had been a gap in my life recently.

Cross‐fertilisation: Helps me with my Qi Gong – posture and moving from the centre; and I can use my Qi Gong abilities. I moved up from beginner to
intermediate within a 2‐hour lesson. Lots of insights for my coaching and consultancy work also, for example: remind clients of the vision, the goal regularly, so they watch where they are going as they are doing anything. When are taking intermediate steps we often forget to look up and forward. Of course, you might say, windsurfing is not recognised as a CPD by any accrediting body. There are some that do. They are few are far between.

At the beginning of the year I started a course that is recognised by accrediting bodies, all mine anyway, not for that reason, it just happened that it ticks all the boxes for accrediting bodies.

Example 2: Conversational Intelligence – Certification

Simplification: Neuroscience, transformation and change concepts are boiled down to their absolute essence. They are turned into easy to use templates and tools which clients can relate to quickly.

Quick to Market: Templates are all done for you, I can apply the concepts immediately even if I don’t use the Templates.

Expanded Awareness: I noticed what high value the course presenters attribute to the materials and insights. Whilst these are good, a lot of them were not new to me and I had done very similar work in my consultancy career with organisation and created similar tools. However, I had never been that complimentary about my own work or packaged it up that way. I always just go on with it. A real wake‐up call for me: I am taking myself and my talents for granted. I was teaching others to take them for granted, too.

New perspectives: New ideas on how to make more of my own materials and my own work that I am now implementing.

Change/Transformation: Since starting the course, I have consciously used some of the language and neuroscience concepts at work and on myself with
great results.

Roundedness: Whilst I had done a lot of research on emotions in my MA in applied coaching, I did not really go that deeply into the neuroscience in general. This course offered it in relation to leadership, transformation and engagement which is what I do professionally as a consultant and coach. This course is plugging some gaps and getting me current with the research in neuro‐and gut science.

Cross‐fertilisation: Great interconnections with my Qi Gong practice, for example, on push and pull energies, which I am new reviewing again in Qi Gong which will in turn flow into my somatic coaching work with clients.

I have used this approach with numerous clients to help them get the best from their personal and professional development. They found that even the
dullest of mandatory courses now held nuggets of information and sparks of ideas for them.

Whilst I have given examples of instructor led courses above, please don’t think this is all there is to development. Development can take loads of forms,
such as reading a book, going to a museum, self-directed learning online, just taking a mindful walk or even playing with your kids or cats. There is always
potential to learn anywhere from anything, so open yourself to those experiences.

Once you have gotten clarity on the two key questions, a lot of development insights will come your way without any effort at all. Development will
find you, rather than you having to chase it.

My invitation to the readers is to give it go, answer the questions for yourselves and discover a world of adventure in your development journey.

Bettina Pickering
© 2017 Bettina Pickering
Bettina Pickering is a transformative leadership coach,
entrepreneur mentor,
business transformation and change consultant,
author and speaker.

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Optional?
November, 2017
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