Earlier this month we invited our subscribers to complete a survey about personal and professional development. Thank you if you were one of the 269 people who generously gave us a little of their time to take part.
Here are some of the highlights of the information gathered – and my interpretation of the findings:
1. Of the people who responded to the question about their level of skill in NLP, 38% are either Master Practitioners or Trainers of NLP and over half of the total respondents are at qualified at least to Practitioner level. I’m delighted to discover that my newsletter and blog are considered relevant by so many highly qualified people.
2. Just over half (51.4%) of the respondents paid for all of their personal and professional development themselves, with no contribution from their employer (although of course this includes a significant number of people who are self-employed). This suggests that even though some companies have had to reduce spending on development activities, lots of people realise that they still need to acquire new skills to secure promotion or maintain performance in new conditions. It seems that they are taking responsibility for their own development and spending their own money to achieve their goals.
3. 16% of people had all of their personal and professional development paid for by their employer. This is quite encouraging in that it shows that not all companies have stopped spending on development activities in the face of the current economic uncertainty.
4. Only 15 people said that they had had no personal or professional development in the past three years. I guess that if you weren’t at all interested in your own development you wouldn’t have subscribed to my newsletter!
5. Predictably, when asked about the topics that are of interest, a majority said that they were interested in NLP – 82.2% to be precise. The next most popular topic was Leadership, followed by ‘How to be a Great Coach’. Well, I guess that’s no great surprise either, you probably wouldn’t be on my mailing list if you weren’t interested in at least one of those areas!
6. The challenges people are facing are very varied, but the clear winner on this list was ‘Getting everything done in the time available’ 45% of people selected this as one of their challenges. ‘Making a Professional Impact’ and ‘Staying focused’ were the next most common challenges. There’s no getting away from it – people are busy. You’re busy, I’m busy and the people we want to impress are also very busy. Making every interaction count and making every hour productive are vital skills.
7. When I compared responses related to challenges with the person’s level of NLP, I noticed that over half of the people who haven’t taken at least Practitioner training indicated ‘Influencing my boss or other senior stakeholders’ as a challenge. Those with NLP qualifications rated this as much less of a challenge. Perhaps because many people in this group are self-employed? But certainly it makes sense that people who have done NLP Practitioner would not regard influencing others as a challenge.
8. When it comes to learning, the most popular methods are Training courses, Seminars and Workshops, followed by Books and Personal Coaching. The least popular were Teleseminars and Audio programmes. This is very interesting: we hear a lot about the rise of e-learning, but it’s not looking very popular here. I’m forever saying that there’s no substitute for getting in the same room and breathing the same air and it looks as though lots of people agree with me!
9. When I compared the preferences in learning methods with the levels of skill in NLP, I found that the more NLP a person has done, the more likely they are to favour face-to-face, facilitated learning as opposed to self-study methods. I wonder if this is simply a reflection of the fact that NLP is skill-based rather than knowledge-based and therefore hard to learn from books. It could be that the people NLP appeals to are more inclined to face-to-face learning than self-study methods. Or it could be that once you’ve experienced the real development and high-quality interaction you get on an NLP course, other methods of learning seem a bit dull?
Overall, this has been a very useful exercise and has given me some guidance in relation to plans or next year. For example, we’ll be focusing on face-to-face training, workshops and coaching rather than distance learning methods. We’ll also be launching a new training programme for coaches, so that all those people who want to learn how to be a great coach can come to us!
Thank you again to everyone who took part in the survey.
The lucky winners in the prize draw are:
Elvira Villarini from E-Motion NLP Ltd wins a 60-minute coaching session
Ali Antonelli from Ecclesiastical Insurance wins a 12-month subscription to 'Use Your NLP'
Daniel Dumas from the Commonwealth Secretariat wins a copy of 'Discover the Business Benefits of NLP' audio programme.