When it comes to your personal training business or fitness career, do you plan ahead or simply trust to luck? Setting out a clear plan for your personal and professional development can help you identify your goals, and using the right planning frameworks can help you achieve them.
Today we are looking at two planning tools: the SWOT Analysis and the Personal/Professional Development Plan.
These can be useful whether you are considering starting in the fitness industry, following a course in Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing or progressing your career to Level 3 or 4 qualifications.
What is a SWOT analysis?
A well-known tool for business planning, a SWOT analysis identifies:
Strengths – internal strengths, for example: good communication skills or business experience
Weaknesses – internal weaknesses that can stop you achieving your goals, for example: lack of confidence or a tendency to procrastinate
Opportunities – outside factors that can help you develop, for example: training schemes or grants
Threats – outside factors that can affect your ability to achieve your goals, for example: an economic downturn or a new competitor
How can a SWOT analysis help you progress?
A SWOT analysis can help you to plan ahead, look at the bigger picture and become a more rounded individual.
By setting out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you can identify where you need to make changes in your approach.
For example, to make the most of your strengths and improve areas in which you are weak, you could invest in training or find someone to mentor you. And by researching external opportunities and threats, you can prepare yourself to deal with them, if and when they arise.
How is a SWOT analysis carried out?
To begin your SWOT analysis, create a grid or a list of the four elements and fill out each section. There are templates available online that you might find useful.
Make sure you are honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and realistic about the opportunities and threats that you face.
Once you have worked on this by yourself, you might find it helpful to take constructive advice from colleagues or a tutor. In a business setting, SWOTs are often carried out by a group of people in a brainstorming session.
What are Personal/Professional Development Plans?
Like a SWOT analysis, a Personal/Professional Development Plan – or PDP – is a blueprint for identifying and achieving your goals.
Who can benefit from a Personal/Professional Development Plan?
A PDP can benefit anyone, regardless of their age or education. Learners with CMS have found that PDPs created in consultation with their employer have helped them to progress in their apprenticeship and career goals. They are also useful when you are applying for a job, asking for a promotion or starting a new business.
What goes into a PDP?
PDPs offer a clear, structured framework for success. They can include tools such as a SWOT analysis, along with systems or techniques to plan and prioritise projects, set deadlines, measure progress and enhance career outlooks.
A PDP will involve:
- Setting out the skills that you already possess
- Working out which hard and soft skills you could benefit from developing
- Listing your achievements
- Setting clear goals
- Working out what you need to do to achieve your goals
- Considering how to make a positive impact, whether in your job or in your personal life
Taking the time to assess your skills and achievements and to plan your goals can definitely bring benefits as you progress in your fitness career, whether as a personal trainer or fitness instructor, working in a gym environment, sports centre or in your own business.
Don’t be afraid to seek out support – from a tutor, your employer, colleagues or friends and family – and keep re-evaluating your plans and goals to update them over time.