A good definition of career development is the proactive planning and implementation of action steps towards your career goals.
Although this definition is related to career planning, it’s a definition that can be applied to any area we want to succeed in.
A career development plan, either created on your own or with the help of a professional career development consultant, will more often than not take you to that place in your career you would otherwise not get to.
What is career development planning likely to accomplish?
1. It will force you to regularly perform a self-assessment on where you are now in your career, where you would like to be and to assess the inborn job skills you enjoy using.
2. This will usually lead to you acquiring work that is a good fit for you and that you are particularly suitable for. This results in a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in your career.
3. If points one and two above are accomplished, this inevitably leads to you earning more money because employees who work on tasks they enjoy and are good at, invariably get paid more.
For more information on these benefits see my career development plan page
Stages of Career Development
Donald Super, career educationalist, ascribed to a career development theory that proposed career development consisted of five basic stages.
The stages fundamentally mirrored age groups through life, starting in our early teens when we began to seriously think about what job we would like to do right through to retirement age.
Donald Super’s theory suggested that around midlife, a worker frequently asked if they wanted to continue doing their job for the rest of their life.
After seeking career change advice, they would either make changes or revert back to an earlier stage of career development which may involve investigating new options and investing in new learning.
Those Who Plan What Is Good Find Love and FaithfulnessProverbs 14: 22
I’m not sure how accurate this career development theory is today and if it would stand in the vastly changed job market scene.
I discuss other career development theories on my career development theory page.
Keys to Successful Career Development
Writing your goals down is a critical component of success when creating career development plans.
Why write them down?
If we simply think about how career goals, firstly we soon forget.
Brain experts tell us that the more methods in which we process information, the more that information becomes lodged in our brain.
When we write something down it also forces us to expand our thinking and challenges us to develop our thoughts deeper around our future career development plans.
The act of writing, for example, a five-year career development plan forces us to address issues involving our future career that we would never achieve by simply thinking about it.
How Difficult Should My Goal Be
“The highest level of effort occurred when the task was moderately difficult, and the lowest levels occurred when the task was either very easy or very hard”
From “Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation, A 35-Year Odyssey”
Writing it out takes it to a higher level forcing us to produce more details and engage ourselves in a type of mini brainstorm about our future stages of career development.
From personal experience, I know that when I have committed a goal to paper it has dramatically increased the chances of that goal being realized, although these days I don’t literally write it down.
I use a great little goal setting software program called Single-Step. (This link offers a free trial)
However just writing it down, of course, is only the beginning.
Action Must be Taken
The hardest part of realizing any goal is not
But rather the ongoing discipline and perseverance required seeing through the various steps of the goal to completion.
Research shows that life coaches found almost half of the clients that fell out of coaching programs did so because they didn’t want to take the necessary action steps.
So how can we increase our chances of following through to achieve a career goal?
Probably the first thing is to recognize that there is a natural human tendency to avoid anything that stretches us, or makes us feel uncomfortable, or appears to be risky or scary in any way.
Simply recognizing that you have that tendency is an important first step.
The second thing is that if we want to be people that achieve in any area of life we need to do things that feel uncomfortable.
Successful people are just normal people who are prepared to do the uncomfortable things that most people won’t do.
One of the most important things to achieving success with your career development plan is to implement some form of accountability.
This is where professional career coaching comes into its own.
Career Development Coaching
What is career development coaching?
It is simply a method of creating and implementing your one to a five-year career development plan with the help of a professional career development consultant.
Maybe the easiest way to answer that is to try to picture a world-class sportsperson, whether that be an individual golfer, a world-class soccer player or a world champion Formula One driver, in every case they will have that all-important coach present in their life.
Just about every significant goal in life that we want to accomplish is more likely to be achieved, and achieved faster, if we have somebody else alongside us coaching, encouraging and challenging us to be the best we can.
So what is career development going to do to help you get ahead in your career?
If you actively engage in some form of personal and career development, you should expect to see some tangible results reasonably quickly.
The time and money spent on any of these career development tools are often insignificant when compared to the long-term benefits of finally working in your dream career and of course the increased remuneration that usually goes with it.