Dr Barbara Kennedy

Keynote: Professional Development: Beyond the Shiny Goldfish

Dr Barbara Kennedy, Massey University, Aotearoa New Zealand


All professionals are required to engage in Professional Development (PD). But what type of PD truly developmental? The typical format of much PD falls short of a design equipped to produce either learning beyond the superficial, or change that will meaningfully impact client outcomes. Workshops and master-classes have increasingly slick slide-decks and activities, but frequently, critical analysis indicates an implicit assumption that professionals do not in fact develop over the course of their career, but simply acquire a greater array of techniques. In early career, learning a technique may be fit for purpose: a theoretically grounded, evidence-based, robust, scaffold for practice; something that constitutes a valued addition to your professional tool-kit. For the competent mid-career professional however, the normal fare of PD might begin to be a territory of unspoken diminishing return on investment in which slightly different perspectives and applications of known ideas and skills are counted as outstanding. And then where is the real stretch for the veteran practitioners? A trial in New Zealand, of Self Practice / Self Reflection for Coaches holds some promise. Since optimising human performance is central to Coaching Psychology, perhaps it is time to take professional development to the next level.

Dr Barbara Kennedy PhD is an academic and consulting psychologist, a Fellow of the New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPsS) and member of the NZPsS Coaching Psychology Interest Group. She has taught a wide range of topics across undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Australia and New Zealand, with the last 12 years leading the development of a highly successful and innovative internship programme at Massey University where she also leads the Academy of Applied Professional Psychology. As a practitioner, Barbara previously worked both clinically and in organisational development. Her practice focus now is in organisational and coaching psychology, and professional supervision. She was first involved with Coaching Psychology in the late 1990s.