It's an obvious comment to make but our greatest accomplishments are rarely easily achieved. Be it winning a big piece of business, getting a new qualification, taking on a larger role or doing a big presentation. 

In most of these situations we feel outside of our comfort zones and this can make us feel nervous, anxious, concerned and sometimes genuinely stressed. Unfortunately these are all things we will probably have to do in our working lives.

However if you think about something like a leadership development programme, or a presentations course should a participant ever be tested to the point of anxiety or stress? Surely this is about striking the balance of challenging people and helping them to get outside of their comfort zone but still in an environment where they feel safe. Maybe it sounds a little fluffy but I would suggest it's the feeling of loss of control that is the real driver of nerves.

This article makes a good point about comfort zone and lets be clear this is in the context of a physical challenge, but when talking about personal development at work I would amend the statement to say that:

"Development starts by understanding yourself, your areas of excellence and your limitations" and 

"Growth comes from embracing challenges that help to reduce the impact of your limitations and makes the most of your areas of excellence".

To answer the question Does Personal Growth Have to be a Painful Experience? 

With the right coach definitely not.