An Option or a Must?2017-09-18T09:00:45+01:00

Project Description

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The following quotes have been taken from end-of-course evaluation forms of an accredited Coach Training program.

‘’When I enrolled for it, I just did it for the sake of learning something new. But it changed the way I think now, it changed my life’’

‘’I never knew I had so much to learn’’

‘’It was the best thing that happened to me’’

From a trainer’s perspective these comments by the participants have and will always remind me to be the best in what I do and give me courage to do it slightly better every time! From the trainees’ perspective the program has been a valuable professional development encounter in their lives.

According to Canada Eco, professional development offers a person an opportunity to sharpen their knowledge, develop their skills, keep up-to-date with latest trends of the profession, networking opportunities as well as revitalize some of their ideas for projects etc. (Canada Eco). Kaplan Financial reported in an article about the benefits of professional development in a business setting, as increasing retention, building confidence and credibility, making succession planning easier, reenergizing the staff and improved efficiency in the business as whole.

There are lots of tools for professional development. They can range from books, video tutorials, webinars, online courses, face-to-face courses, seminars, networking events, websites, programs on TV, radio. The provide general learning support to a wider community.  Or it can be a simple measure of hiring a Coach or a Mentor for yourself which means specifically addressing you and your needs.

In order to be an effective, efficient ‘thought’ manager in a highly competitive world, where your workforce is more knowledgeable than ever and old management techniques are failing, coaching skills has been considered an absolute necessity. Coaching further helps you to get your views across to others, find harmony and excellence in a meeting with different viewpoints and when to evaluate yourself and adjust to the situation with the personal awareness ability you have increased.

Professional development depending on chosen method may needs finances, time, commitment to complete and application of what you had learnt. Further you need to trust the change it can bring to you, be brave to use it in every opportunity, evaluate outcomes and adjust to reap its maximum benefits. All this starts with a decision that you need professional development. Some people do it automatically as arranged by the companies, some do it because they have do (a manager has requested or you put it in your last performance management and development form at work), some think/talk about doing it with friends and colleagues,  some know they should do it but don’t and seek encouragement and opinions from others, and others don’t even think about it.

When you are already running thin on your time with multitasking on activities, when your finance budget for training comes from your own pocket or limited budget from your company, how would you decide on the need for professional development for yourself?

  1. Feelings of ‘’stuck’’, or ‘’nothing happening’’

 If you feel a little rusty for a while it may mean you need a boost in your work, or new ideas to work on, new people to be inspired by etc. People sometimes go through different phases in life, the need for breaking monotonous patterns to be and feel engaged at work. Exploring an area where you can sharpen your knowledge or develop additional skills maybe a good way to break out of such a phase you are in. When I was feeling a bit low, monotonous for a while despite being in a highly rated career, instead of ignoring it, I took it as a sign a for looking around for something interesting where I can apply my background, skills for better human development. As I looked around vigorously, I found out about Coaching as a relatively new field which can branch out to many areas and I ended up taking a full course on Coaching in UK, which formed my next career move an year after the course.

  1. Continuous lagging behind in an area important for your work

If your team has been constantly been behind in meeting deadlines or management of work load etc. maybe it is worth considering improvement in team management skills or increasing team performance and effectiveness. Every time after a presentation at work, if you felt ‘’you could have done better’’, maybe it’s worth exploring a course in improving presentation skills. If your business is not generating adequate clients, maybe it is worth hiring a marketing person or taking a course on branding, social media marketing etc. If you felt you were not a strong negotiator and it cost you a few deals, a negotiation course maybe on the cards. Coming from a medical field, I had to improve lots of skills in project management to serve at the job I did in the UN. My attempts at self-study as well as being part of trainings provided by the UN for employee development offered me a great platform to upgrade needed skills as well as on the job learnings.

  1. Considering a career change or a transition

If you already know which area you would like to step into, it may be worth spending time on self-study or taking a few courses in the specific area to get your knowledge and skills upgraded or a combination of both. Sometimes taking a course may offer best alternative if a time constraint is involved, as a reputed course has gone through summarizing the most needed information with practical applications and a quality check to meet the standards which you can acquire the transfer of knowledge at a faster pace. It took me a great effort to keep my interest in medicine until I decided to make a career move to Coaching. Today as I head home after my classes of training new Coaches the thought of ‘this is what I love doing’ has crossed my mind a million times.

  1. Planning your next promotion

It is important to be prepared for the next big move in your career. It may be good to study the differences of responsibilities you have with the current work responsibilities and try to build your capacity in the area which can have significant impact in your new post. For example, if you have been a technical person with lesser management responsibilities, but your next promotion involves you to handle a few people team, it may be best you undertake a course on brushing up your management skills. I always tried to be pre prepared with the knowledge I needed for each different project, from donor reporting, to publications to strategic planning to planning a retreat.

  1. Sudden development of a strong interest or a desire in a new area

When we work in an area where you enjoy working, it goes beyond than just working for earning. But you need the courage to explore that nagging message reminding you of the interest coming from inside your brain. You may find your life long success paths or you may simply find your career change path from it. I remember as I started knowing about Coaching, it kept ringing in my head for a long time, before I took the initiative to enroll for the summer programme in UK. A website I saw called ‘‘Full Circle’’ kept coming back to me may times and finally I made an inquiry about the course and before I knew it, I have enrolled for it.

In the end, if the professional development is ‘optional or a must’ is a choice of a person. But one thing is for certain. If you have managed to choose the right path of professional development, it can upgrade your situation as well as maybe make a life changing experience for you. I urge you to think about professional development seriously in every aspect before deciding on it, from the area you are interested in, global trends of the profession, the available courses, training providers, testimonials of those who have undergone it, financial aspects etc. More importantly trust yourself, the little cues you get prompted upon within yourself, as I know and believe the best things for each one of us, comes from our very own self.

Charuni Senanayake
© 2017 Dr Charuni Senanayake
Life Coach, Executive Coach and Coach Trainer

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Optional?
November, 2017
© Amarantine

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