As helping practitioners we spend most of our days supporting other people to develop. But just like the apocryphal Cobbler’s children…. many of us find it much harder to dedicate time to our own development. When we are running our own consultancy it’s tough knowing what will genuinely bring a return on investment. Often that is because the method for selecting a CPD activity relies heavily on what appears in our inbox, or what our colleagues rave about. As a result we respond to those opportunities that appeal to us in the moment in a rather scattergun “outside in” approach. Perhaps inevitably, while some activities will hit the spot, many more fall wide of the mark.
I would, suggest a different and more sniper-like strategy. To mention the annual appraisals and development reviews, commonplace in the corporate world, will I suspect cause memories of bad managers and wounded egos to rise to the surface?! However, on a good day we’ll remember the focus and structure that those discussions brought for the year ahead. The difference however, is that now you are both the employer and the employee – it is absolutely your call! With this apparent liberty, comes difficulty. How do you know what development activities will genuinely be best for you and for your clients? When supervisees bring their niggle that they are not sure if they did the right thing with a client, a common question I offer is “What does the client think?”. The client will of course have a valid perspective, and often the client reports that the way of working was helpful. Then my follow up exploration is around …. and how would you know that it’s not just “helpful” but that it was the most useful thing you could have done? This is a difficult question to answer – and this is intentional! My belief is that raising doubts and holding onto them as we work with our clients is a constructive way of staying consciously competent about our choice of interventions.
So meanwhile, how do you work out how to create some focus and structure to your development. Gathering client feedback is one route, measuring yourself against a coaching competency framework is another … and for the courageous …. being observed at work and getting feedback from your fellow practitioners is developmental dynamite! Trust me – I attended a colleagues “lock in” a few months ago and the learning experience was visceral! So in an attempt to recreate all the benefits of the annual appraisals of old, except now you are the architect of your developmental path, I have designed the Coach Development Getaway. It spans two days and is based here in Dorset, to take an “inside out” approach to development planning. It’s intention is to support you to take stock of your coaching practice as it is, right now, so that you have unbiased data on which to base your decisions about developmental investment. You will come away with an up to date sense of who you are as you coach, as a result of being both been validated and challenged by your colleagues. From this you will be clear about where you need to invest in your development. No longer will you be waiting to see what drifts across your radar, you will have focus, a strategy and an action plan to spend wisely for the biggest return.
So, if you want to be sure that in your client work you are not just being helpful, but you are doing the most useful thing you can for them, then perhaps it’s time to take stock and get some focused feedback on how you work? This getaway is for the open-minded, and it comes with a price tag – an all-inclusive £595 + VAT to be precise, (when you book with a friend). So why not find out some more….. remember you (and your clients) are worth it!!