professional development

At some point in time, most of us have attended some form of professional development training. We’ve gone to short workshops, attended a master class or some short courses online. Maybe, you’ve read some fantastic books that are insightful and provide you with the knowledge that you want to apply in your working life. I read an interesting post on Facebook that said “I really feel that I have read all the best self-help books out there. Now each book is not as life-changing as the previous one. It comes to the point of diminishing returns”  

Can you relate? And what do you do now? This is something that I see with a lot of people that I coach. You can acquire a lot of knowledge- but the key thing that’s missing is the reflection of what you’re doing. That is someone or something that can give you feedback on the practical application of what you have learnt. Someone who can give you an honest reflection of how you apply the knowledge you gained in your day-to-day life. 

Feedback is King

professional developmentIt has been fundamental to my success that I have a coach who is able to give me insight, and guide me to apply some of the knowledge that I am learning. For me as a coach, what’s really important is that I walk my talk.  How can I expect other people to invest in me if I am not willing to invest in myself? 

It’s a bit like a surgeon trying to do surgery on themselves. It’s really difficult to do without getting the right feedback. This is why dancers and people at the gym will have mirrors in front of them. They are using their reflection to see what they are doing so that they can refine and improve their form. 

Make your professional development a group activity

If you cant access a coach for whatever reason, the next best thing that you can do is find a group of people. This way, you will be getting that feedback from others. There are professionally well-organised groups out there that do that. Or, you can just create one for yourself. Here’s an example. I delivered some professional development training many years ago for executive assistants. 

My job within that training session was not only to provide information but to also facilitate development and learning. That group decided to organize similar meetings regularly so that they could continue to share, grow and develop together. They organized meetings amongst themselves to be able to share progress and receive feedback.

This is something you can also do to get feedback so that you can continue to leverage that information and grow. Otherwise, like the person in that Facebook message, you’re going to stagnate and hit a plateau.

I would love to hear about your experiences with professional development. Please leave your comments below. 


  • Be open to feedback 
  • Equip yourself with someone or something to provide honest feedback
  • Join groups that encourage feedback and growth 


  • Implement acquired knowledge without seeing how it reflects in your work 
  • Be closed off from feedback 
  • Hit a plateau where growth becomes stagnant 
P.S. If you’re a business leader (Executive Management, Business Owner etc.) and you’d like more advice, tips, and information on managing time, stress & wellbeing, join our Facebook tribe of Resilient Leaders -Managing Time, Stress & Wellbeing.

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About the Author:

Barbara CliffordBarbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a co-founder of The Hinwood Institute. She is the lead trainer and coach in Time Management. She is a recognized leader in Stress Management. An experienced coach, speaker, columnist and facilitator, Barbara’s work with The Hinwood Institute assists people to unclutter mess, make order from chaos, and swap the shackles of overwhelming for freedom. Barbara’s clients move from the relentless hamster wheel to waking inspired, motivated, making decisions with purpose and achieving peak performance. She lives in the desert of Alice Springs, Australia working with people around the country.

Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships