What are the components of a personal development plan?

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This blog post will explore what are the components of a personal development plan (PDP) that is used for individual and employee performance and career development. 

We will also explore what Personal Development is, what are the benefits of using a personal development plan, and how you can support a personal development plan.

What are the components of a personal development plan?

The components of a personal development plan is as follows:

Developing self awareness

The first component in the process of developing a personal development plan is to develop awareness of one’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats by using a SWOT analysis this cn help identify what could help or hinder your personal development. 

Some questions you can ask yourself as you conduct this analysis are:

For Strengths

  • What are you good at?
  • What advantages do you have over others?
  • Do you have any resources available to you that others do not?
  • Do you have any achievements you are proud of?

For Weaknesses

  • What skills do you struggle with?
  • What areas do you need to improve upon?
  • Do you have any bad habits?
  • Do you avoid certain tasks due to a lack of confidence?

For Opportunities

  • Is there an undeveloped niche in certain markets that you can tap into?
  • Do you have contacts in your network who could assist you?
  • Can you take advantage of the mistakes others are making?
  • Is there an opening for a position not advertised externally yet?

For Threats

  • What could derail your success? E.g. competition, finances, changes in technology 
  • Is there a risk of your weaknesses becoming threats?

Setting meaningful Goals

Once you are clear about your own strengths and weaknesses, and about the opportunities that are available to you, consider what you would like to achieve and the goals you would like to set. 

In helping yourself define a long term goal, consider these questions:

  • What do you intend to accomplish?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • What values are at the core of your decision?
  • Does this make you feel that you’re making a significant contribution
  • to other people?
  • What deep emotional value or meaning does this have for you?

Defining goals

Next, break down your long term goal into manageable pieces- smaller short term goals which play an important part in accomplishing your long term goal. 

To identify your Major Career Goals (Short term goals), ask yourself whether you need to do

the following:

  • Upgrade your education or qualifications?
  • Gain a promotion from your current position?
  • Get experience in a particular department?
  • Move to a different organisation or industry?
  • Master a particular skill, or set of skills?

Make sure that the goals you set are SMART:

  • Specific – your goal focuses on one particular outcome.
  • Measurable – there must be a definable end point, 
  • Achievable – you must be reasonably able to accomplish your goal,
  • Relevant – goals must relate to what you’re ultimately trying to achieve.
  • Time bound – otherwise you may never push yourself to accomplish your goal.

Identifying skill gaps 

Take a critical look at your current situation, and pinpoint any skills and knowledge gaps that you need to fill to meet your long term goal. 

You can do this via a Skills Audit that you can use to assess the skills and strengths you currently possess and compare them to the qualifications that are required for you to meet your long term goal. 

To do this, start by reviewing the weaknesses and threats that you identified in your SWOT analysis and consider the following:

  • Do you need to develop or improve any skills to counter these threats and weaknesses?

Defining action steps to achieve goals

When defining your action steps to meet your short term and ultimately your long term goals, make sure that your steps are specific and clear. 

Depending on the nature of the goal, when considering your action steps, consider the following:

  • What training or education do you need?
  • What experience do you need?
  • How will you get that training and/or experience?
  • What kind of support do you need for the people around you?
  • What will others do to help you? (Mentor, coach, evaluate.)

When defining your action steps, note down any Obstacles that you foresee and think of possible solutions that you can do or with the help of others, overcome these obstacles. 

What is a personal development plan?

A personal development plan also known as PDP, is an action plan that has been devised based on one’s strengths, weaknesses, goals and areas of improvement to achieve those goals. 

It is usually used in workplaces as an official record of the skills and progress of an employee within the workspace. 

It also provides a framework to help employees improve their skills and progress towards career growth. PDPs can also serve as the basis of performance appraisals for managers and other employees during performance and development reviews by employers. 

Personal development not only serves as a framework for action planning to meet goals but also help individuals set realistic targets, keep track of progress, and also encourages people to seek out opportunities to learn new skills, and grow thought further training. 

To summarise the PDP is an official document that highlights the following:

  • Your individual goals and what you want to achieve.
  • Your strengths and weaknesses.
  • The areas you need to improve and develop to meet your goals.
  • What you need to do to achieve your goals.
  • Anything that could hinder your progress.

While it is an official document it can also be a form of self-evaluation and self-reflection that you can use to keep track of and streamline your career and educational progress. .

What are the benefits of Personal Development Plans?

The benefits of Personal Development plan are plenty and usually, these benefits manifest in the form of changes within the attitude and peromfriacne of individual employees and also team performance. 

Fulfilling the goals in the PDP is not only a personal success but rather helps and aids the performance of the wider team. The benefits of meeting the targets and goals of a personal development plan include:

  • As employees and teams use their new skills and abilities to work independently, it saves more time and resources. It allows the team to become self-sufficient and ths, creates more progress in meeting deadlines and doing quality work. 
  • As the employees and individuals meet their targets and achieve their goals, they develop and create a supportive culture within the team which results in more enthusiasm and collective interest within the workspace. 
  • PDPs promote positive growth as it encourages them to learn new skills and also urges them to learn and broaden their perspectives. Using PDPs for appraisals can help the company positions to be filled with capacle and enthusiastic employees. 
  • As the Personal development plans invites personal develop as well as professional developer within employees and teams, it encourages knowledge sharing as well as build capable employees thus reducing the cost of outsourcing or hiring more people when not required since upskilled employees can offer their expertise.
  • As individuals within teams and the companies improve their skill set, meet their targets, and improve their overall performance with effective results, the reputation of the team and the company itself improves. 
  • Because personal plan development has to do with both personal development to attain personal life and career goals, it can help employees and individuals develop a healthier work life balance which can improve the wellbeing of the employees and further improve performance within the company. 

How to support your personal development plan?

Here are a few things you can do as an employee or as a manager to help support your own personal development plans or that of your subordinates and team. 

Research Qualification courses 

If you have noticed a gap in your skill qualifications or that of your team, consider the idea of upskilling through a course or qualification. Set expectations of yourself and your team and understand the benefits of these courses. Rather than making it mandatory, help your team understand why this skill development is needed and beneficial for them.

Find a mentor or a coach

Setting out a personal development plan requires setting up the process of setting SMART goals and also developing an executing plan for achieving these goals. 

This process can be challenging for certain people, so seek out a mentor or a coach that can help them work on strengthening their skills and abilities to achieve these goals. 

It’s safer to connect with someone you know and trust, and they  don’t have to be working at your company, or even be in the same field.

Your mentor should have the same mindset and you must also be motivated for the relationship to work.

Buddy up 

If there’s another employee on your team with a very similar PDP goal, suggest working together to support and not to compete. 

Paringin up with a teammate will help you talk about frustrations and obstructions, and also come up with ways to overcome them.

Monitor progress

The best way to monitor PDP goals is to regularly run through the following:

  • New developments
  • Achievements and learnings
  • What’s going wrong and why?
  • Fixes and solutions
  • What are you planning to do this week

Make evaluations of your failures

Although PDPs are focused on personal development , in the face of failures there will be difficult conversations to be had. Here are a few things you can ask yourself to evaluate what went wrong can how you can make it work:

  • Explore what happened, and what is stopping you from meeting goals. Pay attention to facts. Pay attention to context. Do not blame yourself. 
  • Make a plan of action that you can work on immediately to make things right
  • Accept that failure is not always a one person issue especially when it comes to teamwork. It might not even be because of one person but rather because The goal might not have been achievable, or you may not have had the right support. 

Set new goals

If you complete your goals, set new ones! Strive to level up and upskill yourself after each aviebevement- the development plan is not a one time thing but a gradual process that is life-long. 

Conclusion

This blog post has explored what are the components of a personal development plan (PDP) that is used for individual and employee performance and career development. 

We have also explored what Personal Development is, what are the benefits of using a personal development plan, and how you can support a personal development plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about “What are the components of a personal development plan”

What are the 5 areas of personal development?

Five areas of personal development include:

  • spiritual development, 
  • emotional development, 
  • mental development, 
  • social development, 
  • physical development. 

What is a personal development plan and why is it important?

A personal development plan also known as PDP, is an action plan that has been devised based on one’s strengths, weaknesses, goals and areas of improvement to achieve those goals. 

It is usually used in workplaces as an official record of the skills and progress of an employee within the workspace. 

It is important because it provides a framework to help employees improve their skills and progress towards career growth. PDPs can also serve as the basis of performance appraisals for managers and other employees during performance and development reviews by employers. 

What are the benefits of personal development?

Some of the benefits of a personal development plan is allowing you to gain self-awareness, direction and purpose, motivation towards life goals and dreams.

In the context of workspace, the PDP helps motivate employees to progress in their careers as well as improve performance. 

What are examples of personal development?

Some examples of personal development include:

  • embracing empathy, 
  • being more confident, 
  • listening actively
  • having better relationships with others, 
  • accepting yourself.

References

Wallbridge. A. How to Write and Manage Personal Development Plans. TSW training. 11 Sep 2020. Retrieved on 13th Dec 2021. https://www.tsw.co.uk/blog/leadership-and-management/personal-development-plan/

Personal Development Planning. Skills you Need. Retrieved on 13th Dec 2021.https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/planning-personal-development.html

Personal Development Plan. (2007) Mind Tools Ltd. Retrieved on 13th Dec 2021. https://www.mindtools.com/courses/lnV924x0/PersonalDevelopmentPlanning.pdf

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