What is Professional Growth?

The definition of professional growth will be different things for different people but it certainly means more than certificates on the wall.

Performance Expert Bill Eckstrom “it’s the development or better use of talents and skills that lead to improved outcomes. This development can take place in many different places – on the job or [in] off-the-job environments. 

On the job can be the result of experiential learning, coaching relationships, classroom, etc. However, too often people view professional growth as something that is only on the job, but it is not. For example, one of our executive leaders became a certified yoga instructor, and we have all benefited from her growth. She is more calm under fire, she has taught us more patience, and she is a better overall coach”.

What is a Professional Growth Plan? 

There is the intentional and the unintentional plan.
One happens to you, the other is dictated by you.

The professional growth plan should start with understanding where you are now, where you want to go and how to get there.

It should be a mixture of the personal and the professional and to be most effective, it should start with the finish in mind.

A crucial first step is to understand your own career purpose, what drives you and motivates you and what role(s) do you aspire to achieve in the future. What career path will enable you to achieve your optimal working experience?

Once you have an understanding of what you want the future to look like, you can start to reverse engineer the steps required.

Without this self awareness your career can head off into various rabbits hole as you increase the potential of taking the wrong roles, at the wrong time and with the wrong people.

Some or all of that combination, will not make you a happy bunny.

If you’re not focused on that ultimate career road map then you also risk the possibility of missing the professional growth opportunities that emerge through your career and which can provide you with the stepping stones required for executing your life and career plan. 

Strategies For Professional Growth and Advancement?

  • Long Term Goals: Understanding your long term purpose, timeline, ambition and breaking them down into small chunks of time. Create accessible short term targets, as you build towards achieving those lifetime goals in the long term. 
  • Set Out Your Key Criteria: What does your optimal experience look like? What is a non-negotiable in terms of the lifestyle you want, the role that will stimulate you, the career you want to achieve?


  • Build Experience and Reputation: Much of our success in business is down to a concept called Know. Like. Trust.  Do people know, like and trust you? You need to manage your personal brand, like you would manage the corporate one.


  • Join Relevant Associations and Networks: Which ones can help you grow and burnish your market reputation? What are merely talking shops and which ones can bring real insight and value to your professional growth strategies?


  • Find Professional Training and Courses: You should never stop growing and learning and with so many online options available, you can drill down into the niche expertise required to help bridge any skills gaps and complement your specific professional growth plan.


  • Find A Coach or Mentor: Someone experienced you can lean on, get advice, maybe some guidance. Often it’s about having someone you respect who can act as a sounding board and help you to both build and execute that career road map.


  • Don’t Be Afraid To Ask What You Need : Good Employers Will Want To Help: there is a famous saying that “what’s worse than a good employee training and leaving? A bad employee not training and staying” – be confident in asking your employer for the training, tools and support to make the most out of your talent.


  • Focus On Intentional Actions: What steps each day will get you to where you want to be?


  • Read And Lead: Professional growth is turbo charged when you read about what others have done to achieve success.

CTO Academy & Professional Growth Planning

CTO Academy is the only platform in the world that provides tech leaders with bespoke eLearning plans focused around the development of their management and softer skills. Our video course content and mentoring, allied to career development arm, means we provide a unique end-to-end service.

Our courses have been ranked as one of the best CTO courses in the world and we’re compared with leading global institutions when it comes to effective training and value for money.

We also provide online coaching services, to help you plan and execute your professional growth plan.

Further Reading &Resources

Why creativity is the most important skills in the world

3 ways to promote professional growth