Continuous Professional Development CPD – Best Practice

As a recently accredited provider of CPD for executive coaching, I was invited to a presentation on CPD Best Practice run by the CPD Standards Office. Here are my main take outs from a very informative discussion on CPD.

There are significant gaps in CPD.

There are gaps in the use of CPD including the definition of CPD, best practice in CPD and how people perceive CPD.

Interestingly though, the research undertaken by the CPD Standards office shows that 100% of the individuals surveyed undertook some form of CPD everyday, but the recording of CPD led people to hate CPD. Some people saw CPD as “an exciting opportunity to learn new things” whilst others reported that they “groan silently” at the thought of CPD.

Long History of CPD

CPD goes back to the first professional bodies and regulators such as the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, established in 1506 who were founded to provide best practice and a place for professionals to meet and learn new skills and knowledge. CPD has been at the backbone of building capability for over 500 years.

CPD is Complex

There are over 1,300 professional bodies, institutes, regulators & membership associations just within the UK alone, with some of those bodies operating globally, such as ICAEW. The CPD requirements across, or within professions and sectors, becomes ever more complex with different bodies requiring different levels of CPD even though they are in the same professional field. Let’s take an example of Accountancy – the range of CPD requirements vary from 35 hours to 90 hours (data from The CPD Standards Office). So it can be complex to know which professions are regulated or have instirute or bodies that represent their interests and the corresponding CPD requirements from each individual body.

CPD will change

How people learn and how people use technology to learn is changing at an ever increasing rate, all of which means CPD will also change. We are seeing more people using technology in their learning with the increasing number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) which offer cutting edge learning from Universities such as Penn State. You no longer have to go to

CPD Learning Models

The following diagram outlines the fresh approach to CPD Best Practice, reworking a classic CDP model, and centres around the person being developed rather than the employer ar the institutions.

There’s no real starting point as it is more of an iterative process. When coaching, I would start asking my clients what they wanted to achieve out of their CPD and what their objectives were in their professional lives and if CPD and their objectives could be married up. From that we develop a plan together and put it into action, and evaluate how learning and your role fit together (a great opportunity for coaching to consolidate your learning).

CPD Best Practice Approach

CPD and Executive Coaching

There are many ways that executive coaching can aid CPD from an opportunity to consolidate recent learnings into demonstrable behaviours, or working out the gaps in capability and knowledge which require the attention of CPD>

From my experience, the best way to maximise the impact of executive coaching in your CPD is involving your executive coach as early as possible. A great executive coach will help you build your own understanding of what you need to learn and hold you responsible for delivering that plan


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