Continuous professional development is a career management choice. It is your career so you should manage your career. Leading UK creative sector coaching and trainer, Alec McPhedran of Skills Channel TV, explains a useful approach to planning and managing your own continuous professional development.
In career coaching, I often find people are in a role based on the needs of another, higher level person rather than where the individual wants to be. Planning your career is so important as it provides focus and clarity in what you want to do and what you do not want to do. It’s your career so plan where you want to be.
Continuous professional development, or CPD as it is often referred to, is the ongoing, systematic self directed learning approach or process that should be a normal part of how you plan and manage your whole working life.
The UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) explain that CPD as Continuing Professional Development is a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help you manage your own learning and growth. The focus of CPD is firmly on results – the benefits that professional development can bring you in the real world.
The CPD model is an approach to help you sit down and plan your knowledge, skills and experiences development and transfer your learning objectives and actions on to a personal development plan. This is often required by institutions in order to retain a membership such as the CPD, Institute of Mechanical Engineers or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
As you progress and gain new knowledge, skills and experiences, you then log these on to a CPD record, reflecting on what you have learnt, the transferable skills and how you can build on these – hence the CPD model.
The starting point would be research. An honest self appraisal and reflection, likely some valuable 360 feedback. You should know what your current knowledge, skills and experience is and recognise strengths. Essentially you are where you are based on your strengths. You should also focus on areas you might like to develop. Then you focus on the research of the next and potentially future roles you would like to be doing. These will likely have criteria in competencies, knowledge, skills, qualifications, behaviours or experiences needed and this is incredibly useful. You can then map out what you currently have and then what you need to develop.
With this information, you should then plan, and if you prefer, discuss with others,
what specific knowledge, skills, behaviours and experiences you need to have to progress your career. Clearly note these down as the start of your CPD planning.
This is a key element of CPD. You need to plan your development steps. Typically, people would use SMART based objectives, identify key steps on what needs to be achieved and by when. In some cases, it helps to list who can help at each step such as a mentor, an inhouse coach, a colleague, a friend or a professional body. These objectives are transferred to your personal development plan and this should be an ongoing and ,moving plan. It is your road map for your future and of course, in life, we have roadworks and need to at times try a different route to get to our goal.
When you complete an activity that gives you new knowledge or skills, you should record these on a CPD log. A log is useful as it captures your learning, new knowledge and skills and reflections in having completed that activity. It captures those new skills that are transferable to other situations. A CPD log is an essential part of development and is widely used in qualifications and institute membership requirements. If you are working on your development with a line manager, mentor or coach, discuss new learning that they too have seen and add to you CPD log.
Learning is actually relatively straightforward, embedding new behaviour not quite so easy. A study by the University of London identified that on average, it takes 66 days for a behaviour to become automatic. To change your behaviour requires persistence, motivation and honest self-management and awareness. Maxwell Maltz also identified that from his work, it might take a minimum of 21 days to change one behaviour. To change your behaviour, perhaps consider a close colleague who can remind you if they see, hear or feel you are resorting back to type when you are trying to change an attitude or personal style.
Once you have achieved a personal CPD objective from your PDP, reflect on the whole process and again, capture reasons for the success and how you achieved these. This is great information as it is something you have achieved and that is something to build on. Your approach to things is not the same as others so it has to be your foundation for moving forward in your career in the way you now know is your approach to succeeding.
Of course, within Continuous Professional Development, you have the work continuous. The need to keep moving forward is key in that the model is a cycle. It’s a personal continuous improvement cycle so what’s next and begin the journey again.
As a coach, I am regularly impressed in what people achieve once they realise they can take control and make things happen. Again, it is your career so take ownership. Your CPD is your personally designed map that takes you to where you want to be. Have fun.
The Continuous Professional Development has been developed by Alec McPhedran Chtd Fellow CIPD, Chtd Mngr CMI, MAC, MCMI as a tool to guide thoughts and planning in managing and developing their own career. Alec is the managing director of Skills Channel TV, the training company for busy creative people. He specialises in one to one coaching, facilitated learning, media training and team development. For further information, contact 0121 366 87 99 or visit www.skillschannel.tv.
Copyright © Alec McPhedran 2022
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