Why Professional Development Plans Don't Work

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yes, you read the title correctly. A leadership firm that offers executive coaching and training is featuring a blog post on why professional development plans don't work. So, what gives? It's really this simple, professional development plans don't work when the person who is supposed to learn, grow, and improve from the development plan isn't invited to give input on the process.

For instance, have you ever been told that someone is going to mentor you? How did that experience work for you? My guess is not too well. That's because the most critical component of the mentoring process is that the mentee gets to choose the mentor.

Likewise, have you ever been asked to participate in coaching only to have no say in who will provide feedback on you, the content areas that will be discussed, the coaching outcomes associated with each content area, and/or whether the assigned coach is a good "fit" for you? If so, it's likely that coaching plan did not achieve the desired results. Why? Because it's difficult to fully engage in a process that doesn't value your foundational input.

Finally, have you ever attended a training session in which you asked a critical (though slightly off-topic) question? Did the trainer duck it without offering to address it later in private? If so, you've been the victim of a trainer who is too focused on his/her subject matter and not focused enough on his/her audience. I'm a believer in addressing the assigned/announced topic, but when a participant asks a question, it's likely because he/she has an emergent issue to address. At worst, that means I should be flexible enough to take up that matter on a break. At best, I should be able to see if the entire audience perked up when the question was asked and realize the answer may help everyone in attendance.

I am proud to say that Ethos takes into account the opinions, thoughts, and needs of the professionals we work with because their input is what turns an otherwise non-descript activity set into a unique professional development approach that generates results. If your organization needs professional development plans that work, feel free to reach out to us!

Becky