As HR leaders, we play a big role in making sure our team has support for ongoing learning, development and HR certification and recertification. We have budget line items for professional development, but also as HR leaders, our own learning plans often fall by the wayside. I like to use the “put your own oxygen mask on” analogy here: You have to be able to make time for your own learning and development so you have the most up-to-date information on trends and technology in our industry in order to steer your team toward improving their own skills.
In 2018, I learned what it really felt like to hit a wall. I wanted to do everything, from working with HR leaders, talking to experts about trends and forecasting and the latest tech, from nailing a solution for a client, from staying up into the wee hours just to get to inbox “close enough to” zero, working on my own website…the list was endless. But I didn’t feel like I was growing, so I had to put my own mask on.
How Can Executive Coaching Give You An Edge in Human Resources
I made a conscious choice to fully devote time to my own personal development and growth. I attended seminars, workshops, hired an executive coach, took hours of classes and courses, and spent all my free time reading books. This was hard because I was programmed to believe that if I wasn’t working 60-plus hours a week I wouldn’t be successful in my job, life, and career. I was wrong. The real value in my role as an HR consultant and expert was my knowledge, resources, and expertise and not the number of hours I was punching on the clock.
As I was working on these things, I realized that so many HR leaders and practitioners were going through exactly what I experienced. We were missing opportunities for professional growth because we’re focused on what needs to get done today, or the needs of our company instead of our own development and we simply began to perceive professional growth as a luxury. Time itself is a luxury, but it passes whether we invest in ourselves or something else.
So how do we balance our own career development with our careers? I began working with an executive coach, an expert I hired to evaluate my life and advise me about what I could do better and what I should be doing less. I discovered that personal development is hard. It requires us to face some things about ourselves that we were avoiding or completely unaware of. Having a professional whose job it is to give honest feedback (that can sometimes be hard to hear, but is necessary) can offer the insight we aren’t able to get on our own, as we’re in a “can’t see the forest for the trees” situation…