Most bosses want you to succeed and continue to grow, but when you’re a finance professional who is asking the firm to pay for the professional expansion, it’s important to go about it in the right way.
Everyone is responsible for their development. While others can help, it’s up to you to drive the process, a crucial part of which often comes down to getting approval for paid-for professional development (PD).
Waiting until your boss suggests attending a conference, seminar or another training program may not be the best way ahead.
Instead, the pressure is on you to initiate the conversation, keeping in mind that PD is an investment just like any other and that the cost needs to be justified.
Emphasise ROI for the business
“If I wanted an organization to invest in me I would apparently look at what I could bring to the table regarding either growing revenue or cutting costs to cover the cost of the training,” says leading career growth coach Danette Fenton-Menzies.
“But all types of PD are an investment because the moment we stop learning we start going behind, which means the performance of the organization goes regressive.”
“One of the great things about events like is that you can go to various sessions to learn a variety of complex skills – not just one – and bring them back into the game to help improve it,” Fenton-Menzies adds.
Emphasise developed communication skills
At a recent conference, Fenton-Menzies was speaking to a group of accountants about speaking skills.
“I said: hands-up everyone who at any time is improving themselves in the communication field, and no hands went up. The question I had asked before that was ‘who thinks communication is a dominant part of their role?’ – everyone’s hands went up.
Opening the development conversation with your manager
Asking your boss for company-paid training could be as simple as inviting him or her for an informal chat over a coffee.
You will still be expected to have done your homework and to explain precisely how your development is going to benefit the company. You should be ready to talk about the relevant speakers at a gathering and the opportunities it presents.
“Most organizations can find the money for PD if they need it,” Fenton-Menzies says.
Taking the next step
Part of making ownership of career development involves reaching out to people, and one of the best people to join is your boss. However, not every director will be comfortable talking about a staff member’s career growth possibilities over a coffee, so in such situations, your plans should be offered in writing form.
At a minimum, this is likely to ensure appropriate follow-through.
To ease your nerves, Fenton-Menzies says watching American psychologist A. Cuddy’s famed “Power Poses” TEDx Talk might help. While Cuddy’s research methodology may have come under attack, more recent research hints that at the very least, a quick pep talk can assist you with self-confidence.