Methods To Improve Personal And Professional Skills Education Essay

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Methods to improve personal and professional skills

1. Task 1 Methods to improve personal and professional skills

The methodology of improving personal and professional skills is a life long activity, which an average, normal individual goes through all his/her life.

Many researchers and management consultants have discuss and debated the word "SKILLS", according to Oxford Dictionary the word Skills mean "the ability to do something well", that is a particular ability which an individual possess in getting the task done. Hepworth Dean H., et al. 2010 Direct Social work Practice (Theory and Skills) 8th ed. Belmont: Brooks/Cole , states in his book about various skills required by individuals to becomes successful in the social care sector, here the book emphasis on communication skill, as the main skill, even the book written by Stephen Covey on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which was initially published in 1989, in this book Covey has discuss seven habits which are required for normal individuals to become purposeful person in the organisation, these seven habits are:

Be Proactive

Begin with the End in Mind

Put First Things First

Think Win/Win

Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood


Sharpening the Saw

Differences between counseling and mentoring

According to various definition mentioned in the dictionary and with reference to RDI manual, the meaning of counseling has be been define as a word of guidance required by an individual which provides direction or suggestion to make a decision or taken an action, whereas the word mentoring mentioned in RDI manual means "off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking Clutteckbuck, D & Megginson, D, Mentoring executives and Directors (1999), furthermore the word coaching is define in RDI manual as " a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be successful, a coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes places" Parsloe, E, The Manager as Coach and Mentor (1999).

The difference between the word counseling and mentoring can be explained with a figure present by Elizabeth Hayes:

According to the Elizabeth Hayes, she has define Mentoring, counseling and coaching as related concept and overlap each other, she elaborates that in a working environment a mentor, coach and a counselor is a person who has the experience and knowledge in the area of competencies and assist his/her coworker needs to be developed.

The core difference between counseling and mentoring is that in counseling the Questioning is to raise awareness, whereas in case of mentoring the questioning is to stimulate growth, in counseling the feed back mechanism is based on interaction however in Mentoring the feedback mechanism is in a systematic process. Between these two concepts, the basic common thing which is most important is the "Individual Aspect" and generally between coaching, mentoring and counseling is whoever works as a coach, mentor or a counselor has to have the same skills.

With reference to the RDI manual Counseling and mentoring have be explained and differentiated as:



Explore personal issues and problems through discussion in order to increase understanding or develop greater self awareness

The aim of counseling is to lead the client towards self-direction actions to achieve their goals

Actively unlock the potential

Fine tunes and develops skills

Development activities are design to suit clients personal needs and learning styles

Eliminates specific performance problems.

Can focus on interpersonal skills, which cannot be readily or effectively transferred in a traditional training environment

Provides client with contacts and networking to assist with furthering their career or life aspiration.

Performed in the "live" environment

Highly effective when used as a mean of supporting training initiatives to ensure that key skills are transferred t the "live environment.

Mentoring transfer skills to the content to client rather than doing the job them self.

Example of counseling and mentoring: Ms. XX nurse and a single parent of three children, age bracketing ranging from 12, 9 and 7, meaning all school going children, being a single working parent she was having problem managing here personal life, her family life and her professional life, the biggest issue was her professional life as a nurse requires her to work on different timings meaning that some time she has to work late even or for the entire night and due to this reason it disturbs her children school who have to be in schooling at 8.45am, in this situation what steps have to be followed to ensure that her life, family life and professional life can be streamed line in such a fashion that she is able to manage it, here the main issue is not her profession working as a nurse but her late night working time at the hospital, the procedure here to be followed as a counselor or a mentor is to first understand her main issues which are :

Single parent

Three school going children

Time schedule issue at the hospital

The question is how she can have a better life in this kind of situation? And as a counselor or a mentor what should be done?

As explained earlier in the literature review earlier, the step would be to discuss with her the above issues and try to work out a direction where she can find a solution to the issues whereas in case on mentoring would be a continuation of her counseling process here she would not only be encourage to come out of the issue but as the process of mentoring is How she will be able to built her career as a professional and how she and her kids have a better life.

Professional development skills required to meet personal and organisation's goal and objectives

Professional skills whether for personal reason of growth and development or for meeting the organisational goals and objectives have been explained by various management consultants, however according to my understanding the three most important skills require to meet the professional grooming and development of a person for his/her personal skills or to meet the organisational need are :


team management

leadership or rather entrepreneurship

1.2.1 Communication is based on various factors however the basic factors for communication has been divided into listening, writing and hearing, however the most important communication skill according to my understanding is the body language which is considered to be the non verbal form of communication.

The reason to emphasis the body language as a major communication skill is because according to American Psychological Association (APA) and various other researchers it has been stated that 70% to 75% of communication is based on non verbal communication which of course is the body language.

1.2.2 Team Building: The second skill according to my understanding is the capacity and skill required by individuals to work together and this is also very important especially in case of working professionally in an organisation.

Leadership: The third skill is leadership, which plays an important role in not only grooming a person but also plays a vital role in developing the teams within the organisation.

Leadership is a skill or we may rather refer Leadership is a quality which required by all managers and it should be develop accordingly. Leadership requires various skills like attitude, behaviour etc. The concept of leadership varies from people to people and even in organisation to organisation.

Alan Keith in the book by Kouzes, J., and Posner, B. (2007). The Leadership Challenge. CA: Jossey Bass stated that, "Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.

In the theories of Leadership John Adair has suggested six key leadership functions, which are:







The question is how do people develop these skills, well to develop skills it a route which initially starts at birth of all people, here the environment which in not only the home but the educational institute which a person attends as a child, assist in developing skills of the person, according to Ofsted report the three basis skills which should be develop in a child to become a better person in the society is Communication, Logic and Innovation. How does a person develop these three skills? The answer to this question when it comes to communication it not only to develop the verbal communication but it is to develop the non verbal communication as well, when the word "logic" and "innovation" is stated, the Education Board states that this ability of logical and innovated thinking can be develop by teaching mathematics and arts to children during their schooling years.

The organisation also after inducting an employee invests in the employee's skills by on job training as well as class room seminars/trainings.

Time Management and benefits

Time management is an important skill which plays a vital role o improve productivity, confidence, achievement of goals and ability to gaining control over his/her personal life.

People, who are not able to manage their time, end up into to having a list of things which he/she has not been able to get done, and due to this reason these people are always under stress and can not come to their level of potential they possess.

The skill to management time is an important component in if an individual wants to achieve what he/she wants from life.

1.3.1 Time Management benefits

- Control: systematic time management provides an advantage to an individual to control his/her life. By pre-structuring a person activities assist the individual in becoming more organized which eventually makes the person achieve his/'her goals.

- Productivity: with proper time management allows an individual to become more productive, this is because when he or she properly manages their time management they are able to get more things done hence becoming more productive.

- Confidence: when an individual is managing his/her time and gets all his/her task done on time, he/she develops a sense of confidence because they are in control of the task provided to them, furthermore these people when they achieve all their task on time the concept of accomplishment becomes a key word in motivating their confidence.

- Time to relax: with proper time management a person can have time for him/her self as well as for their family also, this time allows them to enjoy, have fun and rest.

- Goal achievement: the most important benefit of time management is an ability of achieving the goal. If a person is never around to do things which have to be done in an order will not be able to achieve their goals, however once the goal is set and properly time management is planned result in success.

Continuous Professional Development programme

According to CIPD, Available at: whatiscpd.htm[Accessed 2 July 2010] Continuous Professional Development

(CPD) is a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help manage learning and growth. The focus of CPD is firmly on results - the benefits that professional development can bring the pragmatic concept in an individual. Furthermore CIPD explains this as "it is not fixed process however there can be certain basic processes".

CPD is also referred in various organisations as CPE i.e. Continuous Professional Education. Certain management consultants have stated that it is an update of professional knowledge and professional competency of an individual during his/her working life. It is a process or a key of improving and optimizing a person's opportunities of career growth.

There are various bodies who work on Continuous Professional development, some of these entities are mentioned below:

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Continuing Legal Education  for the lawyers

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for the property dealers and surveyors

Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

American Academy of Financial Management

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

The Chartered Institute of Marketing

Task 2

Personal skills audit

Task 2 Personal skills audit

Stages of personal skills audit

Personal skills audit is a process of reviewing existing skills with reference to the skills required and needed in the future. There are various methodologies in conducting personal skills audit like Psychometric Test, Personal SWOT Analysis; however the methodology mentioned below is one of the most common technique used for personal skills audit, to carry out this personal skills audit there are five stage processes.

1st stage: Identification of existing skills and knowledge

In this stage, document a list in form of bullet points the knowledge and skills one possesses, this information can be pragmatically be explained especially from the present task the person is conducting or in.

2nd stage: Identification of future skills and knowledge

In the second stage write down in form of bullet points the skills and knowledge required in future to achieve a desired task in future.

3rd stage: Ability rating

Once the list is develop, one has to rate his/her ability as where he/she stands, in this the person can rate by 3 point rating method, i.e. strong, weak and somewhere in between. However the rating can be done on 1 is to 10 also











Cannot do it

Might be able to do

can do it

4th stage: Assessing ability rating

In this stage take identify a person, who knows you for example a friend or a supervisor or even your teacher, it should be noted that in this stage a person has to be careful in choosing a person to rate him/her self, because this person has to be honest and not afraid of tell the truth. Tell them to tick the box design having your skills and knowledge which is present plus the future skills planned.

5th Stage: Future development strategy

In this final stage, here using the data collected, and after critical reviewing of the dos and don'ts mentioned in it, develops a future strategy of personal skills development.

2.2. Personal SWOT analysis

SWOT stand for strength, weakness, opportunities and threat, according to SWOT, the strength and weakness are the internal factors whereas opportunities and threat are the external factors. SWOT is technically a business analysis tool however this tool can also be used in self analysis also, for example working team, energetic, good communication are strength, whereas the weakness could be knowledge of not using computers, fear of risk, not able to take criticism, these two i.e. strength and weakness are the internal factor. The external factors writing short stories or work experience of an organisation as opportunities incase of threat the issue can not be afford to go self employed or work as free lance because of the tough market situation.

2.3 Importance and effectiveness of learning style

There are various learning style and the importance and effectiveness of learning style entirely depends on the individual, some of the learning styles models are:

David Kolb's model

Honey and Mumford's model

Anthony Gregorc's model

Sudbury model of democratic education

Fleming's VAK/VARK model


The importance of learning style depends on the individual and the environment the individual is present in, according to Donald Martin (1991), the fist steps towards learning is to know yourself, once this has been understood the effectiveness in learning becomes clear. There is an old Chinese saying referring to the concept effective learning:

I hear and I forget.

I see and I remember.

I do and I understand.

An individual may have different style of learning, may be some may learn through pictures, others may learn in teams etc, however there are three effective and major factor in the learning style

The first is the human ability of sense, i.e. auditory, visual, reading and kinesthetics.

Second is two reasoning types- i.e. deductive and inductive

Third is two environments i.e. intrapersonal and interpersonal

The concept of assessing the learning style in case of student originated from learning Style Inventory (LSI) which is connected to Kolbs's model. The LSI assesses an individual desire and needs with reference to the learning process.

Incase of students LSI follows the following concepts:

Allows student to designate as how the student desires to and how consistent the student is to that style

Provides computerized results to student with reference to their learning style

Assist an interaction relation which tutors can built with students

Assist in advising most suitable strategies for learning

Assist student's involvement in the learning process

Develop a summary report of students who have similar learning style as well as what group they should be working with.

Monitoring effectiveness of learning style

As there are many ways of learning style, hence there can not be a single way of monitoring, however the individuals or the organisation develop there own monitoring mechanism most suited to their way of learning, it should be noted that the individual learner's progress information is required by the provider as to know what that individual has learned and to achieve this the learner has to be monitored, in this monitoring mechanism not only the individual learning process is monitored but his/her learning group activities are also noted.

In the case study of Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) the monitoring mechanism of the learner is based on:

Common inspection strength

Common inspection areas for improvement

Similarly I will monitor my personal development plan by self appraisal and assessment of my personal performance. Furthermore I will be assessed during my performance at work as well as during my examination.

Task 3

Personal development plan

Task 3 Personal Development Plan

Personal Development is a process of individual learning process for self development however this is not limited to this as during the personal development not only the individual develops but the others also develop.

The intention of personal development is for self awareness, self knowledge, building identity, developing strength, talent, potentiality, enhancing lifestyle, quality of life and to achieve this there is a tool and this tool is Personal Development Plan.

Purpose of Personal Development Plan (PDP)

Personal development plan can be explained as "personal" is related to the person (self), "development" is related to improving or learning new skills and "plan" is incorporating the where, when, how.

Personal Development Plan of oneself

The personal development plan of the year 2010 to year 2011 is that at present I am studying Post Graduate Diploma and hopefully by end of this year will be able to complete the programme. On completion of the programme, my intention is to apply for a top up programme in MSc, once my MSc is completed I will try to find a decent job in any corporate company in London especially in a bank and work there for some time this will enhance my professional experience, after that I will travel back to my home country and join a good organisation.

The skills which I planned to acquire immediately is based on understanding the financial operation of a bank in United Kingdom, which will also be a part of my final dissertation in the Master's programme.


In this assignment I have covered three tasks which are related to methods of improving personal and professional skills, Personal Skills audit and one year strategy of planning of personal development.

Personal skills development is a life long learning process and a person keeps on changing according to his/her requirement, this has also happened with me as when I traveled from my home country and came to United Kingdom for education, I have gone to a series of learning process from not only the academic but from the environment, and these learning processes has developed my personal skills of survival and growth.