I am proud to be a part of the exciting industry and community of talent development professionals where the focus is on assisting and supporting those who want to develop and leverage the talent of either themselves, their teams, or both. My early years as a trainer taught me some talent development principles, but it wasn’t until I was introduced to ATD (the Association for Talent Development) and its premier credential, the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) that has since become the CPTD (Certified Professional in Talent Development). Earning the credential truly enhanced my ability to effectively engage, participate, and contribute to this industry.
It was the summer of 2011 when I was notified that my position at my current employer would be eliminated in 90 days. Thanks to my wife's help, guidance, and support in dealing with the initial shock, I quickly started the process of finding my next opportunity. A few days later I received a call from Alonso Fiero, a great friend and peer, who told me about an opportunity to assist in the creation of a project management academy for a large oil company in Houston.
By this time, I had been in talent development for about 15 years. I had started out as a military training instructor in the Air Force, transitioned to a training manager role for a municipality, and then moved into a corporate trainer position for a large restaurant chain. I felt confident when arriving to the interview with my past training projects in hand; all filed in my binder.
Tara Grey, a seasoned talent development professional and an early recipient of the credential, quickly asked me some poignant questions that left me struggling as I responded. I quickly realized that all my years in this industry placed me in a category I like to call the “trainer’s mirage.” This is where one thinks that all you have to do to be an effective trainer is to present it and your audience will simply accept and do it; however, we all know that this is not the case and, most importantly, there is so much more to talent development than simply organizing and presenting a PowerPoint presentation.
A few days later I received a call from Tara indicating she would bring me on board with the condition that I review some ATD materials called the Learning System. The introduction of these materials led me to the discovery of the CPLP, a first-of-its-kind certification targeted to those who want to solidify their talent development skill and knowledge level. This credential is a broad-based certification covering ten areas of expertise as defined by ATD’s Competency Model, which includes change management, instructional design and evaluating learning impact to name a few.
September 2019 will mark my third recertification. I owe it to Tara for introducing me to this credential and challenging me to learn more. The credential has and continues to be the key opening new doors of opportunity. It has placed me in a position where I can communicate to my clients and customers of why it is important to invest in the professional development of their teams and, how this investment can have positive results for their organization. Most importantly, it has provided me the mind power necessary to design, develop, implement and follow up with some very creative learning solutions leaving the target audience as well as their leaders wanting more.
If you want to develop your talent development quotient and loosen the grip of the trainer’s mirage, seek out and obtain your CPTD (formerly CPLP) certification. If you are new to the industry, I highly suggest the APTD (Associate Professional in Talent Development) certification, which is just as effective but not as comprehensive as the CPTD. If any of these certifications do not resonate with you, ATD offers a variety of certificate programs focusing on various topics to include adult learning, coaching, and instructional design.
Regardless of what you do, knowledge is power! Seek out information that will assist you in engaging with your customers and target audience by developing your skill and knowledge level. For more information on ATD certifications, please go to the website.
Best of luck and prepare well to those who will engage in this credential or any other self-development!