Invenio: Coaching and Mentoring April 2016 - Growth - Page 43

explore what's out there and write everything down.

For example, in my local area (and you'll find similar in yours), I'd check out traditional educational opportunities through local colleges such as VCU, Virginia Union, University of Richmond, Averett University or J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, just to name a few.

Community civic organizations such as Leadership Metro Richmond or United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg Emerging Leader Program offer programs that are excellent for leadership development and team building skills essential for many promotions. Plus, you get to expand your contacts while you contribute to the community.

There are also community-based organizations designed specifically to help small business owners including SCORE, which offers free counseling advice by retired executives, and New Visions New Ventures'; Women's Business Center, who holds low and no-cost workshops specifically designed for women entrepreneurs.

Individual learning at home or on the road is an approach that offers the maximum flexibility.

Check out what books, home study packages with CDs or DVDs, online courses, or teleseminars conducted over the phone that might be available. A great place to find them is by doing online searches, including searching Plus, there's always your local library.

Such  learning  tool s can also supplement classroom or project-based programs.

Last but not least, consider hiring a personal coach to work with you one-on-one. Such personal attention can speed your learning curve and give you additional insights. Look for a certified, trained coach who specializes in the areas of expertise you want to develop.

4. Determine What Options Fit Your Learning Style And Needs

Not everyone learns the same way or has the same needs, so ask yourself a few questions as you pair down what options best work for you. Consider:

What methods of learning best suit you? Do you prefer to interact with others or listen to a lecture?

What's the best way to learn the skill or knowledge you want to gain? For example, it's tough to really understand what it takes to be a leader by  reading  a  book, though that can supplement your knowledge.

How much time do you have to devote to your  professional  development? Be realistic to yourself, your employer and your family. Negotiate temporary scheduling adjustments if needed.

How much money can you spend on your professional development? The good news is that there are many non-traditional options that are low or no-cost. Your employer may even be willing to pay.

5. Get Started!

The biggest barrier to growth is simply never getting started. Henry James said, "It's time to start living the life you've imagined"; There's no better time than right now to start living the career or business you've dreamed of. The most successful, satisfied people in life, the people who are living the lives they've imagined, are those who took action, one step at a time. So, get moving, even if you're not sure how. Once you're in motion, you can figure it out.

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Mary Foley

Author of “Bodacious! Woman: Outrageously in Charge of Your Life and Lovin’ It!” and founder of the Bodacious Women’s Club, inspires women to be courageously in charge of their lives. You can be inspired, too!