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Are you doing enough Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

The question in the title of this blog is something that I asked myself recently and on reflection the simple answer was NO. But the answer was really much more complex and I think it’s something that we all need to stop and evaluate from time to time.

So, how did I break this answer down?

First of all, I stopped and reminded myself why CPD is important. It ensures that my practice is current and relevant to market and client requirements. Similarly it ensures that I bring new dimensions to my practice on an ongoing basis. Also, CPD gives me an opportunity to reflect on what I do well and to find ways to improve the things I want to work on. CPD is a critical part of good coaching practice, so much so that as a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) I have to commit to participating in ongoing CPD and coaching supervision throughout the year. It’s great that my Professional Body encourages this but I personally believe that for the reasons mentioned, CPD should form an essential part of any job role.

Then I asked myself to do a fair evaluation of the CPD that I have done. I regularly (approximately quarterly) meet with another coach and we ‘co-coach’ each other. This gives us an opportunity to have a coaching session on business issues that we may want to tackle but it’s also a chance to practice our coaching in a more informal way and we make time to feedback to one another how the sessions went for us. I really value these sessions and they feel like quite an indulgence.

I also have regular coaching supervision, working with a very experienced coach who is also a qualified supervisor. I arrange a meeting with her for around every 35 hours of coaching that I carry out (International Coach Federation – ICF -guidelines suggest this frequency) and it gives me a great opportunity to reflect on my practice to date and to identify things that I may like to differently going forwards.

Having answered this question I realised that I do carry out a fair bit of personal CPD. So what was missing? I turned to a very large pile of unread coaching, training and adult education books and realised that I was not doing enough reading. I’m starting to tackle this by allowing myself more time to stop and work through a book, perhaps at lunchtime or in the evening when the children have gone to bed. Giving myself this time is helping me to appreciate the pleasures of learning in this way again.

The other thing I was missing was developing through others. I’d only been to one conference this year, so have booked to go to the EMCC conference next week, which I’m very much looking forward to. I’ve also joined a local network of fellow coaches and have attended one meeting, which offered some valuable time to explore a leadership model / book from the view of a number of different people. I’m looking forward to attending the next meeting in November.

So what has this increased focus on CPD meant for me? It’s reignited the love for learning that was possibly a little burnt out after perhaps overdoing the CPD a couple of years ago, having completed 3 quite intensive courses in 18 months. And quite simply, it’s made me realise what I’ve been missing!

The next steps are to think about training that I could attend into next year and finding a balance between doing enough CPD to keep my interest levels high but not doing so much that I burn out again. What about you? What steps would you like to take to reignite your interest in how your area of expertise is / could be developing?

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With Tina's years of sales experience she was the perfect person to help create a framework for the sales team and a methodology to work towards.
Claire-Louise Green
Head of Field & Channel Marketing Europe
Avaya