What is a personal development plan? And why might I need one?

Life is full of annoying administrative tasks you have to do.  You may be thinking, why should I add another one to the mix?  Besides, isn’t my boss responsible for guiding my career and sharing developmental opportunities with me?  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  One of my favorite sayings in life comes from the immortal mouth of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland – “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

What is a Personal Development Plan?

A personal development plan is a succinct document that summarizes three important things:

1) Your key skills and experiences to date

2) How you’re looking to develop your skills for the future

3) What roles you’re looking to aspire to as you progress your career

When I help career coaching and leadership coaching clients put one of these together, we often start backwards and answer question three:  Where do you want to go with your career?  That then informs what skills/experiences you will need to get there – which is question two.  What skills may you be lacking?  What experiences will help you grow and make you the right candidate for that coveted role?

The value of a Personal Development Plan

To the extent you’re focused and actively managing your career, opportunities won’t literally pass you by.  That pet project that will give you added visibility?  You’ll know to ask for it, particularly if you’re looking for the all-important promotion.  And the added benefit of asking your line manager to complete the personal development plan exercise with you, means it’s also on their radar screen as well.

Who needs a Personal Development Plan?

You do, no matter how early or late you are in your career, no matter what track your career is on.  It’s important you start thinking about this right away when you’re in a new job.  And if it’s not on your manager’s radar screen, initiate the conversation yourself.  Prepare a draft, ask for their input.  Ultimately, it’s up to you to be in the driving seat of your career!

 

Shelley Pernot is a leadership and career coach who is passionate about helping her clients discover their strengths and talents and find a career that utilizes them.  Reach out to me here for a free consultation to learn more about the coaching process and how it may benefit you!


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