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Professional Skills: Professional skills are skills that are required in a person to succeed in his/her professional career. Professional skills developed over time and are refined and can be improved continuously working in the professional field. The range of professional skills within and across professions is considerable. Some are specific to a profession and others cross over a number of professions. Some of these skills are described below,
Counseling: Counseling is a supportive, non judgmental and confidential process in which a person's emotional, psychological or study problems can be explored. This process assists the person to identify his/her own personal resources and capabilities, which are sometimes can't be identified in times of confusion and anxiety. It may enable the person to see his/her circumstances afresh and with clarity so that he/she can make the necessary changes that will help him/her on that particular situation. Counselor doesn't make decisions or impose opinions for the counselee.
Counseling could be of two types. These are described below,
Direct Counseling: In direct counseling, the person will be provided with directions and choices based on the situation that he/she has experienced. But the entire decision is taken by the counselee.
Indirect Counseling: In indirect counseling, the person will be provided with one solutions solution which he/she should have to follow. The person gets help from the counselor to understand situation and solution provided.
Mentoring: Mentoring is a relationship between an experienced person and a less experienced person for the purpose of helping the one with less experience. The mentee seeks the advice and support of the more experienced person. Mentors answer questions concerning the tasks that their mentee need to succeed in reaching their goals. The mentor provides wisdom, guidance and counseling as mentees advance their lives, careers or education.
Similarities between Mentoring and Counseling: Both coaching and mentoring are processes that enable both individual and corporate clients to achieve their full potential. There are many common things found in between coaching and mentoring process.
Both facilitate the exploration of needs, motivations, desires, skills and thought processes to assist the individual in making real, lasting change.
Questioning technique is used to facilitate client's own thought processes in order to identify solutions and actions.
Support the client in setting appropriate goals and methods of assessing progress.
Encourage a commitment to action and the development of lasting personal growth and change.
Both coach and mentor are always supportive to mentee and their support is positive and unconditional.
Both processes ensure developing personal competencies and self-reliance.
Manage the relationship to ensure the client receives the appropriate level of service and that programs are neither too short, nor too long.
Dissimilarities between counseling & mentoring:
Relationship between mentor and mentee lasts for a long period of time.
Relationship between counselor and counselee lasts for a defined time period.
Talk occurs in an informal, unstructured environment.
Talk occurs in a formal, structured environment.
Meetings take place as per the need and requirement of mentee.
Meetings are scheduled and hold on a regular basis.
More long-term and takes a broader view of the person.
Short-term (sometimes time-bounded) and focused on specific development areas/issues.
Mentor is usually more experienced and qualified than the 'mentee'. Often a senior person in the organization who can pass on knowledge, experience and open doors to otherwise out-of-reach opportunities.
Coaching is generally not performed on the basis that the coach needs to have direct experience of their client's formal occupational role, unless the coaching is specific and skills-focused.
Focus is on career and personal development.
Focus is generally on development/issues at work.
Agenda is set by the mentee, with the mentor providing support and guidance to prepare them for future roles.
The agenda is focused on achieving specific, immediate goals.
Mentoring resolves more around developing the mentee professional.
Coaching revolves more around specific development areas.
Multitasking: Multitasking is the act of doing multiple things at a time. It is often encouraged among office workers and students, because it is believed that multitasking is more efficient than focusing on a single task at once. Multitasking is indeed in highly effective and efficient working environment where high utilization of time and high quality of work is desired.
Increases efficiency: Through multitasking a number of tasks are done simultaneously. It helps to do several tasks at once which results in enhancing a person's efficiency.
Saves time: Multitasking is very important if someone wants to finish his/her duties quickly. It is going to be an added advantage if the person does two or more tasks at a time by involving his/her full capabilities.
More interesting: Doing different things at once makes the activity more interesting and it also enhances the motivation of the employees.
Leadership: leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. A leader's special function is to -
Create a vision
Communicate the vision
Energies, inspire and motivate
Create the culture
Most definitions of leadership reflect the assumptions that it is a relationship through which one person influences the behavior or actions of other people in an organizational context. It is a dynamic two way process of leading and following that can affect both individual and organizational performance. For example a leader can influence the interpretation of events, the choice of objectives and strategies, the organization of work activities, the motivation of people to achieve the objectives, the maintenance of cooperative relationships, the development of skills and confidence by members and the enlistment of support and coordination from people outside the group or organization.
Leadership involves a sensible balance of,
Sound common sense
There are two types of leadership styles,
Autocratic: Autocratic leadership is a classical leadership style with the following characteristics:
Manager seeks to make as many decisions as possible
Manager seeks to have the most authority and control in decision making
Manager seeks to retain responsibility rather than utilize complete delegation
Consultation with other colleagues in minimal and decision making becomes a solitary process
Managers are less concerned with investing their own leadership development, and prefer to simply work on the task at hand.
The autocratic leadership style is seen as an old fashioned technique. It has existed as long as managers have commanded subordinates, and is still employed by many leaders across the globe. The reason autocratic leadership survives, even if it is outdated, is because it is intuitive, carries instant benefits, and comes natural to many leaders. Many leaders who start pursuing leadership development are often trying to improve upon their organizations autocratic leadership style.
Democratic: Democratic Leadership is the leadership style that promotes the sharing of responsibility, the exercise of delegation and continual consultation. The style has the following characteristics:
Manager seeks consultation on all major issues and decisions.
Manager effectively delegate tasks to subordinates and give them full control and responsibility for those tasks.
Manager welcomes feedback on the results of initiatives and the work environment.
Manager encourages others to become leaders and be involved in leadership development.
Key functions of leadership are,
Empowerment: A management practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance.
Empowerment is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction.
Empowerment could benefit the both the organization and the employees.
Benefits to the organization
It brings benefit to productivity, decision making and customer service.
Helps in improving quality of service, productivity and competitiveness. Thus contributes positively to the firm's financial performance.
Empowerment contributes to improved decision making and greater commitment from the workforce to decisions that are made.
In relation to customer services, employees provide quicker response to customer needs during service delivery and quicker response to customer's complaints during service recovery.
Benefits to the Individual
From the individuals' perspective, empowerment has been proved to improve job satisfaction, motivation and morale.
The greater the empowerment; the higher the internal work motivation, the higher the job satisfaction, the lower the job stress, the greater the job involvement and the more involvement beyond the defined job of the individual.
Employees who are empowered, have low ambiguity about their role in the organization and feels that their organization is providing them with socio-political support
Personal Skills: Personal skills refer to the ability to manage a person's reaction to responsibilities and challenges in work and life. This involves managing time and adapting to changing situations.
Some of the personal skills are described below,
Time management: Time management means the development of a process and tools that helps to become more productive and efficient. Different persons have different levels and ways of time management skills. Adopting time management skills may take a bit time but once a person adopts the skills that the person needs, he will become more efficient, productive and better able to make his/her goals in life work him/her. When a person thinks about time management, it is about making sure that he/she gets thing accomplished in a time limit. This skill can be applied at both work and at home. Personal time management skills are going to have the following:
Goal setting, what the person wants from life.
Planning out the goals in life.
Prioritizing the goals.
Making decisions about important choices.
Scheduling what is going to be worked on and in what order.
Benefits of time management:
Control: Proper time management allows taking some measure of control over the life. By pre-planning the activities helps days to be ordered.
Productivity: Proper time management allows becoming more productive. When a person doesn't properly manage time, he/she often have too many activities and not enough days.
Confidence: Proper time management gives confidence. This is partly because taking back control of life.
Fun: Proper time management allows a person to schedule for time of fun. By prioritizing and getting the most important and pressing things done first, a person can have time to do the things that he/she really want to do.
Ability to meet goals: It is nearly impossible to meet goals when a person fails to properly manage time.
Stress management: A set of techniques and programs intended to help people deal more effectively with stress in their lives by analyzing the specific stressors and taking positive actions to minimize their effects. Most stress management programs deal with job stress and workplace issues.
To combat stress, we generally consider four methods:
Take time for sufficient exercise.
Learn to express yourself.
Be prepared to treat yourself to rewards.
Give yourself a chance to relax.
Problem solving: The process of working through details of a problem to reach a solution. Problem solving may include mathematical or systematic operations and can be a gauge of an individual's critical thinking skills.
There are seven main steps to follow when trying to solve a problem. These steps are as follows:
Define and Identify the Problem
Analyze the Problem
Identifying Possible Solutions
Selecting the Best Solutions
Develop an Action Plan
Implement the Solution
Evaluate more effective ways to learn in the future. (Assessment criteria 1.2)
Conceptual Management Tools: These are tools which help in problem solving and decision making. These are formal structured and model based. These tools help in effective analytical and creative thinking by providing sample structures, action steps and presentation formats.
Five vital principles of conceptual management tools are given below,
Categorization - the tools position issues into terms that separate the essential from the peripheral.
Visualization - they transform situations or sequences into graphic form.
Aggregation - they combine many pieces of data into manageable chunks.
Elicitation - they provide mechanisms to make implicit knowledge explicit.
Guidance - they provide a step-by-step method to gain insights into a problem.
Own strengths and limitations
Identifying a person's strengths and limitations helps in finding out possible areas of improvement.
A person can find out his/her areas of strength and limitations by answering the following questions,
What qualifications do you have?
What experience, skills and specialist knowledge do you have?
What do you do best?
What gives you the greatest professional satisfaction and sense of fulfillment?
What personal qualities and characteristics have helped you reach your current place in the world?
What, in your opinion, is the most valuable contribution that you make to your organization?
What skills, knowledge and experience do you have that are currently not being put to the best possible use?
What qualifications do you still need to help you to achieve your professional ambitions?
Are there any areas of skill, knowledge expertise or experience that you lack and which, in your opinion, hold you back?
Are there any aspects of your personal life that you would like to change?
Are there any limitations in your life that affect you adversely; for example, health, finance or domestic circumstances?
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programs
CPD is the means by which members of professional associations maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge and skills and develop the personal qualities required in their professional lives. This is defined as a commitment to structured skills enhancement and personal or professional competence. CPD helps in improving professional knowledge and the professional competencies.
Personal Skills Audit
Undertake a personal skills audit, identifying preferred learning styles, which focuses on the skills required for effective management and leadership. (Assessment criteria 2.1)
Personal Skills Audit: A skills audit is essentially a process for measuring and recording the skills of an individual or group. The main purpose for conducting a skills audit in an organization is to identify the skills and knowledge that the organization requires, as well as the skills and knowledge that the organization currently has.
A method of Personal Skills Audit to identify competence regarding the personal skills:
Please answer all questions in this self-assessment. There are 48 questions, split into 8 groups. Read each question and tick the value which you feel is most appropriate to you. Each answer has a point value:
Add up your scores for each section and then add these together. There is an indication of your skill level in the scoring system at the end of the exercise. This will give you an idea of how confident you feel about your skills. Complete the Summary Score Sheet (the loose sheet distributed with your booklet) and return it to a member of the Project Team. The Summary Score Sheet is the only item anyone else will see - so please be as honest as you can with your answers.
I feel confident about my reading, especially for study
I can find information from a wide variety of sources
I can select information relevant to the topic from these sources
I am able to use different reading strategies (skim, scan, read in-depth)
I can make useful notes during research.
I can summarize a section of text to convey the author's main arguments
I am confident that I can reproduce my ideas effectively in writing
I am confident in writing substantial short and lone reports and essays
I always plan my essays and other assignments before writing anything
I always careful about spelling and grammatical errors
I always present my work in accordance with department's requirements
I can make useful and meaningful notes from a lecture and presentation
I am confident explaining new concepts to other people
I would be able to give a presentation on a subject new to me
I can produce visual aids to illustrate points in a presentation
In group discussions, I listen to others points of view carefully
I can take the discussion forward at appropriate points
I can adapt my presentations according to my audience
I have often worked with others as part of a team
I make sure that I understand the goals the team is trying to achieve
I agree my own responsibilities in working towards the team's goals
I am sensitive to the roles of other team members
I can monitor the team's progress and report any difficulties
I am happy to lead the team if the opportunity presents itself
When faced with a task I can break it down into manageable parts
If at first I do not understand a problem, I can find help
I enjoy the challenge of solving problems
When I am given a new task, I always 'brainstorm' ideas
I consider the likely outcomes of solutions to problems before starting
I consider alternative solutions depending on the problem in question
I can organize my tasks in order to meet deadlines
I reflect on my progress towards my targets
I know my own strengths and weaknesses
I can find support where necessary in order to help complete a task
I have future targets in mind regarding my career and education
I discuss my future targets with others (e.g. tutor)
I am confident about making simple calculations
I use a calculator competently in my studies/work
I am confident in working with fractions, percentages and ratios
I can interpret graphs, charts, tables and diagrams where necessary
I can construct graphs, charts and diagrams
I am confident in my ability to handle statistical data
I use a word-processing package to produce all my submitted work
I can use a spreadsheet package to record and manage data
I can use a database package to establish and use a database
I am confident in researching topics of study using the Internet
I can do presentation using appropriate presentation software
I am aware of health and safety issues around the use of computers
Grand Total (A+B+C+D+E+F+G+H)
What does the grand total mean?
You can check your score against our scoring system below. PLEASE REMEMBER that this is not scientific! We have not devised a 'perfect' self-assessment test, and these scores give only an indication of your level in any of the skills we have mentioned.
You are highly confident in all these skill areas - well done. You find it easy to apply your skills in a variety of situations. However, you can make good use of this pack to reflect on your skills further and bring them to a higher level. Think about the next stages of your academic and professional life - would you know how to demonstrate your skills to an employer?
Congratulations! You've rated yourself well. You may have some areas which could be developed further, but you are confident and competent in a wide range of skills. If you are particularly strong in one skill, such as written communication, now might be the time to focus on something else. For example, you might start working on your numeracy - can you work out how much you've spent on
You're not feeling particularly confident about your skills and abilities - perhaps you weren't giving yourself due credit for your talents? By using this pack, you should be able to work on areas which you feel could do with improving. You might even find it useful to talk through your self-assessment with a friend or a tutor whom you trust. They may see your strengths more clearly than you
You consider yourself to be 'average' - this means that you have firm foundations on which to improve your skills! Using the list below, identify some of the areas which are stronger than others. This will help you to plan your improvement, and prioritize the areas which need attention. Focus on activities which can develop these particular skills. If you refer to this Skills Audit again
Based on this audit Strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats can be identified:
Identify personal learning style
Three main type of learning styles available in today's world are,
Characteristics of these learning styles are given below,
Is a good reader and observer.
Enjoys maps, pictures, diagrams, and color.
Teacher's body language/facial expression is helpful to understand fully.
Not pleased with lectures.
Usually takes detailed notes
May think in pictures and learn best from visual displays
Likes to read to self out loud.
Is not afraid to speak in class.
Likes oral reports.
Is good at explaining.
Follows spoken directions well.
Can't keep quiet for long periods.
Is good in study groups.
Can't sit still for long.
Is not great at spelling.
Does not have great handwriting.
Likes science lab.
Likes adventure books, movies.
Takes breaks when studying.
Is involved in martial arts, dance.
Reading the characteristics of three learning styles I feel that I am either visual learner or auditory learner.
Personal Development Plan
Produce a detailed personal development plan. (Assessment criteria 3.1)
Personal Development Plan: This is a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development.
Purposes of PDP are,
Learn in a wider variety of ways and a wider range of contexts.
Recognize and be able to list evidence for own learning and as well as progress making.
Draw upon and use expanded personal knowledge to achieve particular goals.
Review, plan and take responsibility of own learning.
Recognize and define training and learning needs.
PESTLE analysis is the acronym for "Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental analysis" and illustrates a framework of macro-environmental aspects used in environmental sensing. This simple technique is used in a fairly sophisticated way, particularly when it is combined with Risk Analysis, SWOT Analysis, an Urgency/Importance Grid and expert knowledge about the organization and its external factors. This helps organization's to identify and understand the external environment in which they operate and how it will operate in the future.
Developing PDP using PESTLE: This analysis has three main elements. These are,
Implications of external factors-Identify
Relative importance of implication of external factors-Decide
List external factors: A descriptive list of factors, influences or pressures that have identified implication and impacts, now or in the future, for the organization is compiled for each of the PESTLE components:
Global, national, regional, local and community trends, changes, events etc.
World, national and local trends, changes, events etc.
Developments in society-culture, behavior, expectations, composition etc.
Developments in computer hardware, software, applications and in other equipments.
Changes in national and international legislations.
National and international pressure groups and movements.
Indentify implications for external factors: The implications of each factor are identified and recorded for all or some of the components of an organization, for example:
Core values and culture
Activities and programs
Availability of staff and skills
Public and specific communities
Others as relevant
Decide relative importance of implications of external factors: Assessing the implications for the organization in conjunction with their impact in time, by type and by dynamics helps to locate their importance on a relative scale.
Impact in time
Impacts affect an organization at different times.
Impact now and in between next 6 to 12 months
Impact now and beyond 12 months
Possible future impacts
Impact by type
Impact by dynamics
Impacts with increasing significance
Impacts with unchanging significance
Impacts with reducing significance
Relative importance of implications of external factors
Factor threatening to the existence of organization.
Factors those are likely to promote significant changes of the organization.
Factors those are likely to promote limited changes of the organization.
Factors that bear on an organization's operation without seriously affecting the scope of its activities.
Factors that do not affect and organization in any significant manner.
A model framework of PESTLE analysis is given below,
External factors affecting organization
Implications for external factors
Relative importance of implications of external factors
Evaluate and review the effectiveness and impact of your learning. (Assessment criteria 3.2)
The module 'Advanced Professional Development' enabled me to learn professional development needs to meet personal, professional and organisational goals and objectives. This module also showed me the process of analysing and implementation of these skills in my personal and professional life.
In this assignment I have done the following tasks,
Explore methods to improve personal and professional skills to meet organisational and own goals and objectives.
Carry out a personal skills audit which identifies preferred learning style.
Prepare and implement a personal development plan.
This module will help me in my professional career in several ways. It will help me to expand the power of positive thinking, to set goals and reach those goals, to retain and sharpen my own skills, in developing new skills, to receive feedback from my colleagues, to improve performance and to review continuously my learning needs.
In my work place I had to communicate with my colleagues as well as government employees of different levels. Sometimes I felt lack of confidence, but after I can feel that my confidence level has increased a lot and I will be able to talk, discuss and order people confidently.