Manage your CPD
If you want to develop a successful career in any industry then continuing professional development (CPD) is essential. Those that are best at what they do and reap the benefits from being the best of what they do, have become very proficient at managing their CPD. Now for many of you, when I say the letters CPD your probably imagining seminars, workshops, college courses etc. Yes they are all brilliant ways to develop your CPD, providing you use what you learn from these courses but they are not the only way. CPD can come in many forms:
- Self-evaluation of own performance
- Gathering feedback from customers/colleagues/managers
- Self-directed study from books, journals, blogs, online articles
- Watching documentaries relevant to your industry
- Discussions with fellow professionals in your industry
- Training courses, e-learning, seminars
- Work experience
- Training yourself using a range of different programmes, exercises and systems
It’s very important that you manage your CPD well so that you can benefit from as many of the above development opportunities as possible.
One of the things that can hold us back from being better at what we do is our ego! If you have the belief that you are at the top of your game and can no longer improve, then think again. You can always be more knowledgeable, and more skilful at what you do. After you finish a task or project, ask yourself what was successful about it and what could I have done to make it even better.
Feedback from customers/colleagues/managers
The most important and objective feedback you can get is from your customers. PTs should regularly ask the clients how they found their session, would they like to change anything and if there is any other way they could be further supported towards their goals. Colleagues and senior staff may also offer you some constructive feedback, particularly if they are more experienced than you.
Self-directed study from books, journals, blogs, online articles
Block out time in your weekly schedule to read. I spend a minimum of two hours 6 mornings a week reading. It’s amazing how much you can learn in such a short space of time if you do this. It works out as 624 hours a year. That’s a lot of learning! I also have a ‘things to do’ list close by, so if I learn something that I want to put into practice I write it on my things to do list.
Watching documentaries relevant to your industry
If I spot anything that is on that’s to do with health or fitness then I will try to watch it or get it on catch up. Some of them are terrible and base their ideas on weak studies but occasionally you get a good one that teaches you something new. Often clients will have questions if they have watched them too.
Discussions with fellow professionals in your industry
I have quite few friends in the industry and we will often send out group Facebook messages with links to articles and videos etc that we have found. This then turns into a good debate, which will have us all disappearing off and doing our own research before we go back again with a good response. I also have an exclusive Facebook group called ‘Storm Fitness Academy Network’ which is for any instructors that have been trained by the academy. We share ideas and tips and support one another.
Training courses, E-learning, Seminars
You can’t invest too much in training. Nelson Mandella says ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’. Charles Poliquin says ‘Learn to earn’, he also believes that the difference between the top earning PTs in the world and the average PT is just attending three seminars a year. I’m not sure if there is a formula or not and whether it is an exact science but there is no doubt that there is definitely a correlation between PTs salaries and the amount of training they invest in.
Take home message: Schedule time for managing your CPD and invest in training