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Uncommon Ideas for Therapists

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1. Personal Development Planning

2. What is it?

3. Template Overview & Your Focus

4. Getting Feedback

5. Using the Template

6. Presentation Humiliation

7. Plan Review

8. Checking Progress

9. Sample Template

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First, Get Feedback

Asking for feedback

If you are struggling to think of any feedback, consider asking for some. This may be a scary thing to do, but you can make it easier by asking for feedback using one of the following templates:

  • What am I good at?

  • What else am I good at?

  • What could I be better at?
Ask the person to tell you two things you are good at and one thing you could be more effective at. With the one thing you could be better at, get them to be very specific about it and how they would prefer you to go about it.

For example instead of “you don’t listen”, get them to give you a specific example when your not listening caused a problem, what that problem was and how you could have handled it differently.

Keeping it in proportion

Taking feedback doesn’t have to be painful, although it can appear challenging at first. Everyone can improve themselves in one way or another, and having faults does not mean you are ‘a bad person’. This is why feedback has to be specific – about one behaviour or action – and not about the individual as a person.

The free self confidence course (www.self-confidence.co.uk) from Uncommon Knowledge can help if you have difficulties with this.

Checking accuracy, finding a theme

The number of examples you get will give you a clue as to the extent of the problem (and perhaps more accurately how important it is to that person). It is also worth checking feedback with other people, as one person’s opinion can be
inaccurate and based on personal biases. External corroboration is essential before you take it seriously. You are looking for a theme.
  • What should I STOP doing?

  • What should I START doing?

  • What should I CONTINUE doing?
Another feedback model is to ask for what you should “Stop, Start and Continue”.

This will capture:
  1. What you are doing that you should stop

  2. What you are not doing that you should start

  3. What you are doing that works
Using external feedback is valuable as it helps you build a fuller picture of how your behaviour is perceived. Even those with good self-awareness benefit from some external feedback!

Using feedback

So how do you put this information to use?
  1. Make a list of what you think are your strengths and development opportunities (the politically correct term for weaknesses!)

  2. Below that, list the feedback you have from other people about your strengths and development opportunities. The more honest and thorough you are, the more likely you are to succeed with your development plan.

  3. Check if there any patterns or themes in the feedback. These will provide you with some clues about your focus areas.
Feedback Source Strength Development Need
e.g. from;
partner
boss
trusted friend
colleague(s)
yourself
List by each feedback source, the areas in which you have a strength.

These will be the things you are “good” at or the things you should “continue” to do

e.g. Attention to detail Subject matter expertise
Creative
List by each feedback source, the areas in which you have a development need.

These will be the things you could be “better” at or the things you should “start” doing.

e.g. Active listening at home
Presentation skills at work
Being a role model for the kids.
 

Focus areas

The speed at which you progress toward your goals will depend on where you are starting from and the effort you make. To make sure you do make progress, select a maximum of three areas to focus on for your personal development activities. If goal achievement is a long way off, you may even choose to focus on one area at a time before moving onto the next.

When deciding what your personal development focus areas will be, consider;

  • Will this help me achieve my short term goals (3-6 months)?

  • Will this help me achieve my long term goals (6-18 months and beyond)?
In the previous example, one focus area may be to sort out your finances by creating a budget and sticking to it, helping you achieve a short term goal of getting your finances on track.

Another focus area may be to enrol on a college course to gain some qualifications, supporting a longer term goal of getting a better paid job. The crucial point is about timing and building things up in the right order.

Next, Phase 2, Using the Template

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Roger Elliott
Managing Director