Careers coaching - Continued Professional Development (CPD)
There are a plethora of ways in which today young professionals can obtain learning. Some attend peer support groups or events sponsored by their professional bodies, whilst others opt for ongoing formal training for certificates, diplomas and degrees. Many of those options are now readily available online, at low cost and even in some cases free (for example Massive Open Online Courses or MOOC’s as offered by many education institutions, like the Open University).
The ability to learn and develop is vital for professional adaptation to a vastly and rapidly changing world. But what is more important and where educators need to turn their attention to, is teaching and showing young professionals how to:
- Take ownership and plan their career development.
- Be able to understand their learning style.
- Reflect on their learning.
As Steve Hill, Director of External Engagement for the Open University recently said ‘learning needs to be more accessible’ and also needs to be more ‘contextualised’. In essence, this means that our greatest career development can happen when we get to apply our learning in our real setting; that’s called experience and turns the learning into even more useful and applied knowledge. That’s what professionals get paid well for doing.
One of the ways of ensuring that this knowledge is acquired and then applied is to undertake a focused coaching program, which, because of the coach’s previous and current business experience can help the coachee gain confidence in putting into effect new skills.
Such programs normally start with an agreement on outcomes (or goals) and are likely to include a degree of mentoring. This enables the coach to understand and witness the coachee ‘in-action’, which in turn deepens the rapport in the relationship. It also enables the coach to help shape a hypothesis of the way the coachee learns. This leads to an effect plan of CPD action plan!
As well as enabling the CPD plan and career path to be individually tailored, the coach is on hand to encourage their client when the going might feel a little tough. It can be stressful trying new things and effects can arise (that the coaching term for emotional like anxiety, anger and frustration) which a skilled coach will comfortably resolve with their coachee and turn into positive action. Some coaches term that being ‘effectively effective!’
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