Coaching and training can provide huge benefits to businesses at every stage, but not all businesses proactively offer such development opportunities for new leaders — particularly in startups where funds can be tight.
A study of coaching benefits found:
- 71% increase in relationships with immediate supervisors;
- 67% increase in teamwork;
- 63% increase in relationships with peers;
- 61% increase in job satisfaction;
- 44% increase in organisational commitment; and
- 37% improvement in relationships with clients.
Although convincing your manager to part with the money can be daunting, armed with the right information, the conversation can be easier than you think. Once you’ve identified the right course or session for you, take action — schedule a time to sit down with them and follow these steps:
- Focus on the benefits — Skills, confidence, efficiency of process etc. — frame the gains you’ll making against actual issues that are currently affecting your productivity or well-being. Actively seeking a resolution to a problem (or even learning new ways to address likely future obstacles), demonstrates that you want to contribute to the company’s success
- Offer to pay it forward — The benefits obtained through coaching and development won’t just be for you, there’ll also be for your team. Others will be empowered and affected by what you learn and the changes you make as a result. Plus, you can agree to formalise how what you learn is spread throughout the business: brown bag meetings, 1:1 training and conferences will enable you to information share that is useful for everyone.
- Make sure your request is reasonable — Be specific and do your homework. It might be a lovely idea to attend a five-day workshop in Barbados, but if the same is available in Slough, you’ll have a hard time convincing your manager that the sun, sea, sand and seriously costly plane ticket are worth it. Research your options and compare alternatives, price and outcomes; show your workings out and present it formally if you need to. Because if the difference is more than just your tan line, then the onus is on you prove it.
- You want to progress — Show your boss that you have your eye on the prize and are keen to prepare yourself fully for the next phase of leadership. Explaining how learning and coaching will improve your engagement and make you a better leader is key because effective leaders recognise when new behaviours, skills, or attitudes are needed and accept responsibility for developing them. It also asks your manager to reciprocally invest in your future and if they value you — they will.
- Show you’re actually saving costs — Well, sort of. Certain types of coaching and training will allow your employer to seek tax relief. And if they don’t know that, they will be certainly pleased to hear it.
- Be persistent and demonstrate your commitment — If you’ve exhausted all your options and the response you receive is that the company: ‘Can’t right now’, then don’t give up. Show that you are committed to bettering yourself for the company’s future and ask, ‘If not now, then when?’. If your manager can’t say, or isn’t willing to be pinned to a date, then schedule a meeting in three-to-six months’ time to review the situation and keep pushing until they say, ‘Yes’.
Remember, being prepared is half the victory.