How Do You Choose Self Development Programs?

How do you choose a self development program?  What criteria do you look for?  How do you know you have made the right decision?  There are so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is for you?

As one who believes in continuous education and improvement, I spend substantial amount of time sourcing, researching, evaluating, testing and attending previews and enrolling in different self development programs offered locally and internationally.  My formal training in education  coupled with years of teaching, training, consulting and learning in neighboring countries has helped me come up with tips which you can use as you choose your programs.

Tip 1 – Objective of the Program – What is the end result or benefit that the program?  What problems do the program solve and what benefits are you getting out of the program?  What do they address?  A 3-day “intensive” workshop does not deliver the same results and benefits as a practical program that allows for implementation over a longer period of time.  Any change in mindset and habit formation will take at least 30 days.  While knowledge can be cramped in over 3 days, internalizing of the new concepts will take longer.

Tip 2 – Quality
How extensive is the research into the curriculum?   How much resource and expertise does it draw on?  Are there testimonials for the program?  What do people in the industry have to say about it?. 

Tip 3 – Curriculum / Content – what has been included in the syllabus?  What competencies does the curriculum align to and emphasize?  Are there concrete actionable items?  You don’t want it to be too wide nor too shallow.   Making it too general will not address specific issues.  Covering too much will confuse and complicate and not leave room for focus and depth.   Also, curriculum needs to be continuously updated to keep with innovation and trends.  Look for someone who is in touch with the market and not rely fully on how long the material has been around

Tip 4 – Accreditation – If you are looking at certification programs then be very sure to check out who the accreditation body is and how sound and credible they are.   Equally important is to find out what is it about the self development / training program that has been accredited for and what implications that has on you.  There are many similar sounding words that can be confusing and easily misunderstood.  So be very careful and check out your facts.  Do you due diligence.   Do not be satisfied with the word “certified”.  We want to ask "certified by whom" and "certified for what".

Tip 5 – Trainers / Coaches are the vehicles that deliver and transfer the concepts.  More important than that, they are the living models that uphold the standard they preach.   Are they implementing what they teach?  Mere “certification” will only go so far.  Look for Trainers/ Speakers / Coaches that not only walk the talk but walk in integrity and uphold high standards of ethics.  I am sure you have no interest in pursuing knowledge – that you can get from gleaning the many self help books off the shelf.   In fact there is much valuable free information on the net these days!  When you learn from a Coach or Trainer, you want to look for role models who inspire and who lift you from where you are to where your next level is intellectually, emotionally, spiritually or physically.

Tip 6 – Delivery Style – Asians are too familiar with being spoon fed where the inner questioning minds have not been encouraged to function and facts are cramped down without space for digestion or application.  Values are evaluated by how thick the manuals are how much hype surrounds the program.  I look for delivery style that respects and believes in the potential and creativity of the individual which embraces and is inclusive rather than one that insists on one particular fixed methodology.  I also look for whether respect is valued in the delivery style of the training.  Do you come out of the program feeling like you have grown and expanded or do you feel like you have been cramped into a certain mould that may not fit your style?   Look for programs that stretches you beyond your comfort zone and challenges you to be a bigger person.

Tip 7 – Values – This relates closely to the last point I outlined.  Who is the centre of the self development program?   The trainers or the learners?   From what angles is the program designed?  To transfer from one who is higher in authority or to facilitate and gather collective wisdom and gems from those participating?  Have you been allowed the freedom to be yourself in your learning style?

Rest assured that any programs I promote will have been thoroughly researched, evaluated and tested by me.  More often than not, I would have either attended the program or know the person conducting it before I introduce it to you.  There are just too many options out there so if you like, you can tap into my research which will narrow the options for you.

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