In an effort to further their skills, many people get caught in the crossfire between personal and professional development. The two are different and often interpose without you necessarily realizing.

Professional Development

Professional development is all about building yourself into the role you play in your job. It is focusing on ways to improve on what you do at work whether you’re employed or an entrepreneur. It involves enhancing your skills so that you can be more effective in your job and this process continues in the course of your entire work life.

As work environments change, we have to adapt to these changes otherwise we risk becoming irrelevant in the marketplace. For instance, digital technology has penetrated every industry today and so to survive in today’s job market, you must invest in skills that will help advance you in the digital technology line of work.

If you want to effectively develop professionally, you must ensure that you have the highest level of knowledge and understanding, in your areas of expertise. This means continuously acquiring and improving your skill set so that you can advance in your career. Acquiring and improving your skill set is also part of your personal development.

While professional development often involves formal training and acquisition of technical skills, it could also include informal training that could help in developing and enhancing skills at work.

Examples of professional development include IT training, accounting and budgeting, health and safety, and legal knowledge. These skill sets could be delivered through different methods that include classroom-based learning, consultation, eLearning, coaching, mentoring among others.

Personal Development

Personal development goes beyond acquiring skills to propel your career. It focuses on improving your potential and talents both at work and outside of work. Once you understand what you need to accomplish and how to accomplish it, you can develop the skills needed for a solution.

For instance, as an accountant, you will be good with budgets and numbers. You might be an exception to meeting deadlines and delivering high-quality work. However, if you lack communication and interpersonal skills, you will have a difficult time relaying the accounting information to others. More so, you will also have a difficult time engaging others outside of work and forming meaningful relationships. In such a case, what you would need is training in personal development. Although good at your job, your poor communication skills would be the greatest threat to not just your personal life but career advancement.

Some skills needed for success in and out of the work environment are not necessarily tied to your professional skills, but they do have an impact on your overall success. The first thing you should do is establish what skills you require so as to succeed. Once you outline these skills, explore the ways in which you can acquire them

Examples of personal development include management training, communication skills, leadership training, time management, and conflict management. Just like in the case of professional development, these can be attained using different methods from classroom-based training to mentorship, coaching, eLearning among other methods.