What Is Personal Development Planning?

Terry Masters
Terry Masters
Personal development planning is the most effective when focused on a specific aspect that needs to be changed.
Personal development planning is the most effective when focused on a specific aspect that needs to be changed.

Personal development planning is the process of setting goals and objectives to achieve individual milestones in life. Planning can pertain to career, education, self improvement, or any other aspect of advancement. The process typically results in a written personal or professional development plan (PDP), also known as an individual development plan (IDP).

Personal development planning may be involved with couples deciding to start a family.
Personal development planning may be involved with couples deciding to start a family.

There are a number of contexts where a formal plan is developed to drive individual advancement. In elementary schools, students have individual educational plans to structure teaching to their particular needs. Social workers use IDPs as part of the case management process to help clients design a path to stability and wellness. In an everyday context, personal development planning is a tool most often used by employers, life coaches, and by individuals in self-help settings.

Personal development planning is an effective tool for people who want to make lifestyle changes.
Personal development planning is an effective tool for people who want to make lifestyle changes.

Human resources management is perhaps the most structured use of personal development planning. Managers in this business area are responsible for maximizing a company's human capital. One of the best practices for ensuring that a company's workforce is meaningfully fulfilled and consistently broadening skills is to develop a PDP for each worker. This plan identifies the individual's aims and ambitions, and where he sees himself in the company in future years. It then plugs in activities, such as educational attainments and training, that will enable the worker to reach his goals.

Personal development planning can help people reach weight loss goals.
Personal development planning can help people reach weight loss goals.

The PDP can be used as an evaluative tool in a human resources setting, benefiting both the employer and employee. For example, teachers usually go through formal personal development planning at the start of their careers that identifies what they need to do to become credentialed in certain subjects and permanently licensed. When a teacher is reviewed every year, the PDP is used by supervisors to track progress towards goals. A teacher typically has a limited amount of time to obtain certain credentials, and the PDP helps keep his overall objectives on track.

Elementary school educators as well as students are among those who undergo personal development planning.
Elementary school educators as well as students are among those who undergo personal development planning.

Personal development planning is also used by individuals in less formal settings. Whenever a person wants to change the direction of his life or to make strides in areas that were previously unfocused, crafting a written PDP is often one of the suggested activities. Motivational seminars and self-help books will typically require a person to write down goals and objectives by time frame and to chart the steps needed to achieve those ends. It is a process of envisioning where a person wants to finish and then filling in the functional blanks. In many respects, personal development planning is very much like writing a business plan for an individual life.

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    • Personal development planning is the most effective when focused on a specific aspect that needs to be changed.
      By: CandyBox Images
      Personal development planning is the most effective when focused on a specific aspect that needs to be changed.
    • Personal development planning may be involved with couples deciding to start a family.
      By: JackF
      Personal development planning may be involved with couples deciding to start a family.
    • Personal development planning is an effective tool for people who want to make lifestyle changes.
      By: Gajus
      Personal development planning is an effective tool for people who want to make lifestyle changes.
    • Personal development planning can help people reach weight loss goals.
      By: javy
      Personal development planning can help people reach weight loss goals.
    • Elementary school educators as well as students are among those who undergo personal development planning.
      By: Ermolaev Alexandr
      Elementary school educators as well as students are among those who undergo personal development planning.