Survey Results 2015

This is the third time we have conducted our survey about personal and professional development. I started to do it because I wanted to know more about what my clients think about development and also to understand the challenges you face and how you prefer to learn. This helps us to keep our offering relevant and enables us to make decisions about new products or service based on some real data.

The statistician in me (it was a major part of my degree!) cannot deny that this is a relatively small sample and may not be entirely representative, but it’s useful information nonetheless.  A big thank you to everyone who took part.

So, this is what you told us this year:


Who’s funding personal and professional development?

In 2015:

Responses to the question, “How did you fund your personal and professional development in the last three years?”

  • I paid for all of it myself
  • My employer paid for all of it
  • I haven’t had any development in the last 3 years


This is a marked change from the 2012 and 2014 surveys, where 50% of people said they paid for all their development themselves and only 16% had their employer pay for all of it.  This suggests that more employers are investing in their people and funding personal and professional development.  Hurrah!

For the first time this year, we included a question about employment status. Predictably, the 36% of respondents who are self-employed paid for all of their development themselves. Of the 59% who are employed, 43% said their employer paid for all their development, 26% paid for it all themselves and 6% said they’d had no development at all.


What topics are of interest?

No surprises here, the top four topics are:

  • Leadership
  • Coaching
  • NLP
  • Communications


The same four have been top in every survey, not always in that order, but that is what we expect because it’s what we do at Brilliant Minds.  If you weren’t interested in those areas you probably wouldn’t be on out mailing list!


What are the challenges?

We asked, “Which challenges do you face?” with a list of 14 common problems.  Respondents ticked as many as were relevant.

The top 5 were:

  • Getting everything done in the time available
  • Making a professional impact
  • Shifting culture and mindset
  • Staying focused on anything long enough to achieve my goals
  • Influencing my boss or other senior stakeholders


The same challenge has been top of the list each time we’ve done this survey and there was no difference between the responses from people who are employed or self-employed.  It appears that everyone is still struggling to get everything done that is expected of them.

I can’t help wondering whether this is because everyone expects too much or whether it’s a consequence of the demise of good old-fashioned Time Management training. I spent 4 years of my life running mostly Time Management programmes and it still shocks me when I talk to people who think that just because they have an electronic calendar they don’t need to know anything about Time Management. In my view, successful time management is about making informed decisions about how to spend your time in order to feel good about your life and your achievements. Nothing to do with electronic calendars!


What are the favoured methods of learning?

We asked how you like to discover new ideas and practice new skills:

The most popular methods are:

  • Workshop
  • Training course/seminar
  • Book
  • Personal coaching
  • Webinar


The top 4 have remained the same as the previous two surveys.  The fifth on the list has varied each time.

Here there was a noticeable difference between those who are self-employed and those who are employed:


  1. 1. Workshop
  2. 2. Book
  3. 3. Training course/seminar
  4. 4. Webinar
  5. 5. Personal coaching
  1. 1. Workshop
  2. 2. Training course/seminar
  3. 3. Personal coaching
  4. 4. Book
  5. 5. E-learning programme


I think this may be a reflection of the relative costs of the various methods – if you work for yourself you may be more inclined to take advantage of low-cost learning opportunities, and therefore have discovered a preference for these methods.

So, to summarise, it looks as though more people are getting their personal and professional development through their employer compared to the past 3 years and that the development needs haven’t changed very much – perhaps because those needs have not been addressed in previous years.

I think there is still a need for us…

What do you think

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