Your personal development plan starts now!

Whether you work in senior management, you’re at college or you’re in the middle of an apprenticeship, personal development plans are key to a happier, healthier working life. After all – we spend around a third of our life at work. It’s up to us to make sure that we take the helm and steer it accordingly.

Here at Icon Training, we regularly push for people to set measures that enhance development, so it makes sense that we put together a blog on the subject.


What is personal development planning?

Personal development planning is the process of self-strategising. It focuses on:

  • Assessing your current situation
  • Defining your requirements for progression, both long and short-term
  • Identifying strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. What are your core skills? What skills do you need to develop?
  • Setting action points in place to give you control over the direction in which you move

Bear in mind: personal development plans are not set in stone.


Stage 1 – SWOT analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats


Stage 2 – set goals

Goals need to be long-term and short-term and should be SMART – that is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

Start by writing between five and ten goals which will assist in your progression.

For example ‘I want to pass my NVQ Diploma with a distinction this June.’

Be sure to prioritise these by importance and the time it will take to achieve them. Which goals will are more likely to help you move in the direction you want to go?

Stage 3 – actions

How will you action the above? Each goal will need to be tackled in a slightly different way.

For example, if we focus on the previous SMART goal ‘I want to pass my NVQ Diploma with a distinction this June’, how would we set the wheels in motion to do this? Examples might be:

  • Setting up weekly catch-ups with the supervisor to discuss strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Ensuring that essays are completed a week in advance of hand-in to provide ample time for review.
  • Learning a new skill that will push your practical understanding of your subject one step further.
Stage 4 – measure your goals

At this point, you should have started moving forward with your goals. Now is the time to regularly assess whether you’re meeting them and if they need adapting.

Do you remember what we said above? Personal development plans aren’t set in stone. Assessing your goals on a monthly or weekly basis will give you the chance to evaluate whether they’re working.

If you’re struggling to meet your goals, consider:

  • Have you set the bar too high for yourself? It might be worth extending the time limit.
  • Are there certain skills that need to be developed before you can progress further?
  • Could the goal be more achievable if it’s broken down into a set of smaller goals?
  • What other obstacles might be getting in the way? This could be things such as workload, over-running meetings or a lack of the right systems and processes.


Let us know how you get on!

ICON Training is a leading provider of workplace training, skills development and apprenticeships in the physical activity sector. Partnering with schools, universities and a wide range of local stakeholders, ICON provides the solutions necessary to help organisations, and the individuals within them, to thrive. Take a look at our list of entry-level career opportunities here: