Professional Development and Training

Personal Impact

We think the term training is too restrictive, and we only use it because it's the standard term. Using it helps organisations understand what we do.

You might call it people skills training, interpersonal skills training, soft skills training or professional development. What it means is people changing what they do in order to be more effective, more able and quite simply, happier in their work and in their personal lives.

We know that people take on new behaviours best when there is a parallel shift in their personal development.

Interpersonal skills aren't just something you use at the workplace and then leave at the office when you go home. The whole person is what's important, and all programmes Impact Factory creates have things in that people can use in all aspects of their lives.

Individuals need to be highly skilled to positively affect the outcome of any kind of communication. This is true if the communication is a presentation to 500 people, an annual review with a staff member or the initiation of new work practices. It can indeed be anything that requires one person to be in communication with others.

In the simplest terms, being able to communicate effectively means relating well to other people. It means being able to listen and really hear what others are saying. Part of being a good listener is knowing how to respond without stonewalling or hijacking other people's ideas.

It also means being able to convey information, feedback and requests clearly and directly, give appropriate levels of praise and advice and take responsibility for making sure things are understood.

This means that people must be able and willing to deal with conflict and confrontation. Conflict resolution can be effectively achieved by negotiating win/win solutions.

What's Already Working

Our professional development work concentrates on what’s great about an individual's interpersonal skillset and developing that.

Gaining insight and awareness about the effect they have on others, coupled with developing specific tools and techniques for managing people, helps people take charge of the communication process.

Professional Development: why it's a good investment

  • Gives people more confidence in dealing with challenging or new situations.
  • Offers people a range of behaviour choices to try.
  • Creates a solid basis for all other kinds of training.
  • Gives people the tools to manage pressure more effectively.
  • Is motivating.

What you'll get working with Impact Factory

  • Programme content that fits your requirements rather than off-the-peg workshops.
  • Flexible formats that take both the organisation's and the individual's needs into account.
  • Emphasis on what's already working rather than pointing out what's wrong and needs fixing.
  • Small groups to maximise individual participation and attention.
  • Programmes that develop the whole person.
  • No pressure to do things the 'right' way.
  • Enjoyable, easy, doable exercises that give people an experience of new ways of doing things.
  • Accessible to people at all levels of an organisation.

So why do we need it?

There have been changes to staffing structures in every sector meaning that people are being asked to do more and take on more responsibility, often with less support than before. These pressures mean that dealing with difficult people and situations can be problematic.

Time constraints, deadline constraints and having fewer people to do more work mean that communication may suffer, conflicts stay unresolved, dissatisfactions fester, tempers fray and inefficiency become more prevalent.

There is also an insidious assumption that if you are good at what you do professionally then you will be, ipso facto, a good manager, communicator and delegator. That simply isn't true.

We see this across all business sectors: people who are highly capable in their jobs but far less adept at dealing with other people.

Conflict arises because not only does the organisation assume that if you're good at one aspect of your job you'll be good at all of it. But you may feel you ought already to be able to handle difficult situations and therefore, won't ask for the support and training you need.

Some organisations have these issues well in hand and have the kind of culture that supports professional development. More often than not, however, organisations ignore or sideline these issues meaning that communication suffers and morale declines.

Motivated Employees

If employees are motivated, confident, communicating well and resolving differences; and if they are being acknowledged and appreciated, stress is reduced. People become more efficient and effective and work becomes more than a place to earn a paycheque.

In our experience, in organisations where these skills are encouraged and developed, there is a profound effect on employees' performance and their overall well-being, and a corresponding increase in the bottom line.

The economic implications of poor people skills in the workplace are far greater than many organisations would like to admit.

We are often approached by the occupational health departments of companies who say they are seeing more and more people with stress-related illnesses and absences and are aware that good training could make a significant difference to the health, morale and therefore efficiency of the staff.

The phrase time is money exists for a very good reason.

A well-functioning workforce improves the bottom line. Time wasted on poor communication, unresolved difficulties or inefficient work practices means time away from the core business.

Many companies know there are issues that need to be addressed. They even know that some kind of people skills training could help.

There doesn't have to be a problem

The need for development work does not presuppose a problem. When Impact Factory provides this kind of professional development training, we aren't usually there to fix something that's wrong.

Given the added pressures in today's workplace, companies are not necessarily asking us to provide training to alleviate stress or correct a problem.

They are looking for excellence, not competence.

They are interested in gaining a competitive edge, offering their employees additional skills to develop their current capabilities and becoming more accomplished and confident.

So, why don't more businesses do professional development training?

Here are some refrains we've heard more than once:

"We tried something like this before and it didn't work." - "It's clearly not right for us." - "We don't need it." - "It's a waste of time and money." - "If we're going to invest in training, we'd rather have technical training." "We'll never get buy-in from our senior managers."

If you look at the way some interpersonal skills training is done it's no wonder it's got a bad reputation.

A lot of professional development training follows what might be called the sheep-dip approach: large groups; all chalk 'n' talk and little participation; lots of rigid rules and regulations; a damaging emphasis on what's wrong with people; and unreal examples and exercises.

That kind of training is de-motivating and often does more harm than good.

It includes lists of how-tos, dos and don'ts and sets of rigid rules that treat everyone the same.

The individual becomes less important than the 'right' way to do something. Of course, there needs to be structure and guidelines in any kind of training, but if the training does not allow for individual needs and priorities then it will fail to develop the individual.

If people have had inadequate training, they will, in turn, feel inadequate when confronted with additional stress.

The training will not have given them the real tools and techniques that could help them manage this pressure more effectively. Some assertiveness training is a good case in point, where people are told specific things to do in certain difficult situations.

This is all very well if you are capable of doing them. However, we know that for many people assertiveness training doesn't work.

The solutions given are not things people feel able to do.

Not only that, there are training companies now offering interpersonal skills training over the Internet!


We've said it before, but it bears repeating: this way the sheep don't even have to leave the meadow but can be dipped right at their desks.

We're truly fascinated with the idea that there is interpersonal skills training that doesn't involve having other people to be interpersonal with.

At Impact Factory people are treated and respected as the professional adults they are.

The results can be startling, exciting and effective.


Personal Impact Training

Impact Factory runs

Open Personal Impact Courses

Tailored Personal Impact Training

and personalised

One-to-One Executive Coaching

for anyone interested in

Personal Impact and Effectiveness

Training Course Accreditation

To ensure that the courses you attend are of the highest quality, offering the best professional tuition possible, all our Open Courses are evaluated and accredited.

This accredited course is suitable for corporate and public sector Continuing Professional Development Plans and Portfolios.

Read about Trainer Accreditation