How do you get your company to invest in your development?
A discussion that happens with all my clients is in relation to payment for coaching / training sessions. Sometimes, clients may approach me individually with areas of their own work life that they want to improve on. They haven’t specifically been asked to improve at work, it is something that they feel they want to improve on whether it is their leadership skills; focusing on developing in their own career or productivity & getting more results at work.
When it comes to investing in coaching / training, you have two options – you can invest in it yourself or you can ask your company to invest in you.
When looking at whether a company will pay for this sometimes the assumption is “I don’t think my company provides any of this.”
Questions that I ask are:
- Is that 100% true?
- Have you asked if your company will pay for your coaching?
- Have you asked your manager / someone in your company whether this is support that they provide in the company?
- Have you given them the rationale as to the benefits of them investing in coaching for you?
In companies that I have worked with, the investment decisions (both time & financial investments) are made in a number of different ways. In some companies there is an annual learning & development budget or training & development budget or employee budget which focuses on learning & development. The decision maker for these budgets may sit within a business team where a team has a specific budget to invest in this or it can sit within a centralised department (usually HR) for use across the company.
In order to get your company to invest in your development, you can take the initiative to make it happen & follow these four steps:
1. Find the Decision Maker: Understand who is the person in your company who makes the decisions on the learning & development budget? Is learning & development something that is invested in the company or could it be something that is invested in the company? Make sure you get to talk to the person who has the correct detail about how decisions are made.
2. Understand the process for getting external support: Be clear on & find out the process within the company for getting support for learning & development. For external support, your company may have a list of providers or you may need to provide a business case for funding with what support you are looking for & options of who can provide that support. Once you know the process you know what needs to be done to make progress on getting your external support.
3. Outline the outcome that you want: When you are asking for any investment, you want to be specific on the outcome you are focusing on. Consider the benefit for the company on making this investment. You can do this for yourself individually or for a group of people for example, it may be that “I want to improve my own leadership skills in order to meet our targets on time this year or in order to decrease the number of people leaving my team” or it could be “at my peer level, I believe focusing on leadership development will increase our effectiveness in communicating & reduce conflict at our level.”
Be specific on what is it that you are looking to develop? Consider what are some of the skills / behaviour changes that you want to develop in yourself or that others want to develop?
When having this conversation with people, some people feel that in asking for support it looks like they can’t do their job. They’re concerned about the perception of asking for support. The view I take on this is that if you want to improve, it will result in achieving better results for the company. It is a positive step to ask for support.
4. Present a business case – How you present a business case will vary depending on the requirements within your company. There may be a specific template or you may just need to send an email to one person to outline your request. In any request at a minimum, I would include:
- An outline of the outcome that is required
- Support required & proposed options for support
- Budget & timeline required
If this is something that you don’t think is supported in your company, however, it is something that you are interested in, then take the initiative, ask the question & start the process of focusing on learning & development for yourself or for your team.
If you have any questions on the support that we provide, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org