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9      Evaluating and developing your own work



Different assessment methods


          One method of self-assessment is by using a SWOT analysis, which examines strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  This is generally a management tool, examining organisational abilities and shortcomings, new markets and competition, but may easily be amended to personal development. 


Strengths may include any knowledge, skills and abilities.  If you look at your experience, personal and professional, you should be able to compile a list of such strengths.


Weaknesses (or points for development) could refer to elements of your personality, vulnerability derived from experiences or disabilities, skills/training deficits or other relevant factors. 

Opportunities may include chances for further training and new skills, fresh work experiences, etc.


Threats may be within your organisation, problem clients, economic downturn, attitudes of others, other organisations, etc.


          Another form of assessment which could be adapted to personal development is force-field analysis, as pioneered by Kurt Lewin. This is a method of identifying and weighing up the forces of momentum and resistance to necessary changes.  Conventionally, the negative forces are represented graphically by arrows pointing down to a horizontal line (representing you or your chosen course of action), arrows pointing up from underneath being forces in your favour.  The arrows are thickened as appropriate, representing their weight or importance.













(In actual usage, arrows would be identified by title labels).
Johari's Window, the work of Rom Harre, is a graphical way of examining the relationships between the known and the unknown, within one's public and private domains.  A window is divided into 4 smaller windows:

1.  The arena represents that which is known to both you and to others in a given situation.

2.  The façade represents things that are known to you but not to others. 

3.  The blind spot covers things about you that are known to others but not to you.  This is important, as it may represent areas of your professional practice of which you are unaware.

4.   The unknown area represents that which is unknown to you and to others.  Talking psychologically, this could be the unconscious.  In more arcane terms, this may be an area of knowledge which your clients need to know and you have not yet acquired or updated yet. 



























Transactional Analysis may be used in applying psychodynamic principles to professional life.  Transference and countertransference (clients unconsciously perceiving parental qualities in the practitioner, or similar problems in the other direction) are seen as 'ego-states'.  People may adopt a child-like dependence, or an authoritarian ‘parent’ role, or other distortions of rational behaviour.  These may be the effects of parental injunctions (Berne, 1964) and even the existence of life 'scripts' (Berne, 1974). 


          How far these issues come into play may partly depend upon your belief in Freudian psychology, but  is also a matter of relevance: how far does the irrational affect you?  It should also be noted that although considered a method of self-assessment within guidance - and thus mentioned here - T.A. is a therapeutic technique, for people with personal problems.


          It should also be noted that some authorities consider the use of T.A. and other psychotherapeutic techniques as intrusive and damaging even in therapy, let alone in the workplace. The late Hans Eysenck evaluated psychotherapy as  inferior to therapies such as behaviour therapy and positively injurious to clients.  Masson (1992), a former psychoanalyst, goes so far as to consider therapy of all kinds to be an imposition of a therapist's version of reality onto others. 


          These are not the only methods of self-assessment, but are examples which might help to identify development needs.


Self-development plans


          As with assessment, these may take different forms (and names, such as ‘action plans’).  One recommendation, however, is that such plans should be SMART. 

ŸSpecific                  -  avoid ‘fuzzy’ targets  

ŸMeasurable  -  if not, how can success be judged?

ŸAchievable              -   be fair to yourself and the Assessor

ŸRealistic                 -   most should be guidance-related

ŸTime-scaled            -   target dates make goal-setting effective


          There is no set format for such plans (unless your Assessor says there is on your particular course).  It may be possible to continue from plans from previous courses.  If starting afresh, however, you may find it helpful to consider the following factors when writing: Objectives, Actions, Time and environments (target dates and contexts) and Evaluations.


To conclude, use a self-assessment method, then use it to formulate a development plan, followed by later reviews.                                            


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CareerSteer – career test for career choice