June 27, 2024

The Importance of Professional Development 

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What is the role of professional development in mentoring or supervision? I see it as a journey of discovery. Just like we are available to others to help them see what they cannot see on their own, we also need an outside perspective when developing our own skills. Even the best mentor/supervisor is not all-knowing or all-seeing. 

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (New Living Translation):

10 Using a dull axe requires great strength,

    so sharpen the blade.

That’s the value of wisdom;

    it helps you succeed.

Professional development is one more way to sharpen your axe. Over time, our edges get dulled just through constant use. We need to consistently learn and grow our skills and tools to keep them sharp. It is like building physical strength; it must be done frequently and with consideration for all the different muscles in the body. Just working out your triceps, for example, means you are neglecting other parts of the body. Likewise, we should be looking to keep many skills and tools sharp. 

Who can help you stay sharp?

Professionals in your field. Other mentors and supervisors around you can see things you can’t see. You can gain much from moments where you get advice or new instruction from another professional around you, even if they are not in your same exact line of work. For example, a trauma specialist can help you learn about how trauma could impact a client and how to talk with them about this. 

Your clients. A mentor/supervisor can learn a ton through their own clients. Just because you are there to guide and transform them, doesn’t mean you can’t be growing and learning as well. This can be accomplished by adopting a humble attitude and frequently checking in with the client about your time together. They are on the receiving end of your practice and there is no one who is better able to give honest feedback. 

Questions to ask your client: 

  • What would you like more of and what would you like less of?
  • What are you taking away from this time? 
  • Is this relationship working for you? Am I the right fit? 

Your own supervisor. You should have a commitment to receiving supervision of your own. We all need a person to turn to in moments of uncertainty. I consider it a non-negotiable.  Supervision brings three much-needed aspects to your work: professional support, professional development and professional standards. There are many things that can affect your professional performance—depression, depletion, and anxiety are just a few. A mentor or supervisor can help you work through both professional issues and help develop your well-being in all aspects of your life. 

Verve Lead. We have many tools that can help you grow personally and professionally. You can begin by taking a seven-second snapshot of your health:

If you want a more thorough assessment, try taking our Mentor Competency assessment: 

Reflection Questions: 

  • When did I last participate in professional development? 
  • When was my last performance review? 
  • How can I find new ways to grow in my practice? 

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