Once a year I have to produce four reflective learning statements for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in order to maintain my Chartered Marketer status as a Fellow of CIM. Each year I put off this exercise until the last minute. Yet I always emerge from the process feeling energised. And with a sense of achievement and an extensive list of things to learn over the coming year. Marketing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – The power of reflection?

All professionals practice CPD

All professionals – lawyers, accountants and surveyors – have to complete CPD or CPE in order to maintain their membership of their professional body (and for their professional indemnity insurance). It is part and parcel of being a professional – to be fit to practice – and to maintain up to date knowledge in this fast-changing world. Although sadly for some they simply have to self-certify that they are fit to practice rather than record in detail what they have learned and need to learn.

CIM CPD hours spent learning

CIM has a rather good online CIM portal. When I was a member I had to log a certain number of hours each year (I think it was 35 hours) – within a prescribed mix of different formal and informal learning categories.

And I remember at least twice being selected to be audited and the ensuing painful process of having to send detailed evidence of all my learning to the CIM auditors. But at least it gave us all confidence that the CPD process was robust.

CIM Fellows produce reflective statements

But in the decades that I have been a Fellow I have had to produce four reflective statements (of around 300-400 words) describing:

  • What I expected to learn
  • What I learned
  • What I’ll do differently
  • Action and next steps

And to balance the topics for reflective statements around the CIM’s Professional Marketing Competencies | CIM so I couldn’t focus all of my CPD on just, for example, strategy:

  • Core capabilities
    • Customer focus (Championing the customer)
    • Strategy
    • Insights
  • Technical competencies
    • Customer experience
    • Digital integration
    • Integrated marketing communications
    • Product management
    • Monitoring and measuring success
    • Risk and reputation
    • Brand
    • Partnership marketing

(As you can see from the certificate above – my reflection notes were accepted for my 2021-2022 learning).

Learning theory and the importance of reflection

As someone who understands psychology and the learning process (in order to ensure my training courses are effective), I understand the importance of reflection. For information on a popular learning model: Improve learning effectiveness – Using Kolb’s learning styles (kimtasso.com) August 2015

In my post on Boost training effectiveness by incorporating learning theory (kimtasso.com) I outlined Gibb’s model of reflection. And you can see how this is incorporated into the CIM’s CPD reflective statements.

My four reflections this year focused on:

Other learning during the year

These four reflections don’t include a significant amount of other marketing and non-marketing learning (many of which are described in book and event reviews) I did this past year, not least:

Book review: Build your digital marketing strategy by Steve Brennan (kimtasso.com)

Book review – Great networking by Alisa Grafton (kimtasso.com)

Book review: Coaching skills: A handbook by Jenny Rogers (kimtasso.com) I have to do CPD to maintain my coaching qualification/accreditation too!

Book review: The psychology of successful women by Shona Rowan (kimtasso.com)

Mediation and dispute resolution – Contemporary issues by Tony Whatling (kimtasso.com)

Book Review: Smarter selling – Next generation sales strategies (kimtasso.com)

How to advance your career in professional services marketing (kimtasso.com)

Book review: B2B Marketing strategy (kimtasso.com)

Book review: The Awareness Code – The secrets (kimtasso.com)

Book review – Brilliant personal effectiveness by Douglas Miller (kimtasso.com)

Professional Marketing Forum Conference 2021 PM Forum (kimtasso.com)

Hope is not a strategy – the 6 keys to winning the complex sale (kimtasso.com)

Consulting skills 3 – Book review: Humble Consulting by Edgar h Schein (kimtasso.com)

Consulting skills 2 – Book review: Flawless Consulting by Peter Block (kimtasso.com)

Consulting skills 1 – Book review: The Art of Consultancy (kimtasso.com)

Law Society Research Report – Future Worlds 2050 (kimtasso.com)

And over 30 summaries (reflections!) of public training workshops I delivered.  For obvious reasons I don’t write about the many inhouse training workshops I produce and deliver.

It was gratifying that:

a) I was mostly up to date with the latest marketing developments and

b) I learned some new things along the way.

I also have a pile of around 10 books to read in the months ahead and I am booked onto five courses so far to ensure I continue to learn. So my past year’s learning led me to identify new and future learning needs.

Learning beyond the marketing profession – and into another profession (counselling)

But my commitment to lifelong learning goes way beyond marketing. During the past year I also qualified as a Mental Health First Aider (I thoroughly recommend this course) and as an interpersonal mediator (see  Kim Tasso mediation services – interpersonal conflict). Sadly, neither of these qualifications could count towards my CPD as a marketer.

And I am also half-way through the final two-year course (I studied part-time for three years in 2015 on previous counselling qualifications) to finally become an accredited counsellor/therapist. Since May 2021 I have spent one weekend each month at Regent’s College in London with 11 other students. And a significant part of my “spare time” studying books on psychotherapy, writing assignments and conducting a research project. Soon I will be required to spend an evening each week seeing clients – I need 100 client hours to finally qualify – and a couple of hours every two weeks at supervision.

It’s interesting that after every weekend session at the counselling course we have to produce two 1,500 word reflective statements. Yes, yet more reflection! Which just goes to show just how important reflection is as part of your professional development – both before and after you qualify.