Some of the most rewarding sessions I’ve facilitated are the ones where I leave with a new perspective on things.

Just last week I was helping a team to develop their consultative selling skills. Nothing particularly ground-breaking in that, nor in the activity they completed where I asked them to review their sales competencies, self-assessing their own performance against each competency and identifying which they would personally choose to focus on and why. It was at the end of the report out, after the last participant had shared her chosen competency that things took an interesting turn. One of her colleagues turned to me and asked “If you were completing this exercise, which competency would you choose to focus on?” I’ve run this type of activity with numerous businesses over the best part of 16 years, and I’ve never been asked that question before. Moreover, and here’s the important part – in all the times I’ve either prepared to facilitate those sessions, and/or delivered them not once have I consciously asked myself the question ‘If I could choose just one of these competencies for my own personal development, which of them would it be?’

I found myself responding by explaining to the group which of the competencies I would personally select, and why. There then followed a discussion about how the selected competency could be developed. By the end of the discussion I felt like I’d been coached!

As I made my way home from the session I reflected on the question of how many opportunities we miss to drive our own personal development. As leaders we encourage others to develop their existing skills and knowledge base, but how regularly do we consciously and actively assess our own capabilities? There are so many ways to do this: self-assessment, skills-based audits, 180° or 360° feedback to name just a few. These don’t have to be complicated or time/labour intensive techniques. When was the last time you asked someone to give you some feedback? When was the last time you sat down and prioritised the top 3 skills you need to develop to reach your next career goal?

Sometimes the best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

When was the last time you held up the mirror?

– Dan