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  • Writer's pictureIdeas at Dawn

Why is it so hard to ask for more training?

Updated: Feb 3

Embark on a journey to revitalize your proposal career by learning how to clinch your boss's approval for that crucial training! This piece acts as your guide to presenting a solid, benefit-focused case, ultimately offering a breath of fresh air to your career advancement.

Get approval for professional development opportunities

You’re killing it at work. You’ve been laser-focused on what needs to be done and got the job done. But you know there is more you should know and more you should learn. There has to be, right?

You keep doing the work, and now you also do some research. Bingo! You’ve found a seminar, a conference, or a learning opportunity you want to attend.

Maybe by this point, your story is not so much “killing it” as the hard work is killing you. But rejoice — you’ve come across a learning opportunity that would make a difference in your career.

So, what’s stopping you? The price tag? The time away from work? How will you justify this to your boss? Will your boss even go for it?

The questions swirling around in your head can be endless. I know. I’ve been in your shoes. A lot of us have. Why is it so hard to ask for more knowledge at work?

Make your case.

I know asking your boss for anything with a price tag is exhausting for many. For others, not so much.

I’ve been a member of both parties. I was once part of a firm where I could (literally) walk into my manager’s office and say, “Good morning! Hey, there is this training I’d love to attend because of x, y, and z. Does that sound possible?” Not presenting any concrete evidence or research; just a conversation, and boom! A few months later, I was at said training in Philly.

I understand this is not the norm. For many, it requires more leg work. I’m thinking dissertation-level presentation. Sound familiar?

Whatever the case may be for you at work, please do me a favor and start by putting in some research time. Start with some basics:

  • Who is giving the training/event?

  • Why is it relevant to you?

  • How will it improve your skills?

  • How will it help you and the company? Is it related to one of your annual goals?

  • Ask your network if anyone has ever been to this training or been trained by the company/individual.

  • Not only are you being diligent with company resources, but you’re also being a good steward of your own time and effort.

Return on investment

Once you have all the information you need, make a plan that shows how you will use what you learn in the training to benefit the company:

  • Outline objectives/skills you anticipate learning

  • Outline a forecast for how these objectives will apply upon return

  • Prepare a “lunch and learn”-style info-share with your team

This could include a summary of the key takeaways from the training, a list of action items you plan to implement, and a timeline for when you expect to see results. By showing a clear plan for applying what you learn, you demonstrate that the training is not just a one-time event but an investment in your ongoing development and the company’s success.

Be prepared to go into detail about the ROI of attending the training. Explain how the cost of the training will pay off overall by making you more efficient, effective, and productive. You can also give examples of how similar training has helped other team members.

In the words of Nike…Just do it!

Listen: You’ll never know until you try. What’s the worst they can say? No? It’s possible, but don’t let that deter you.

Continue to look for opportunities to learn. There are so many free webinars, collectives, newsletters, and articles that contain useful information. Sign up for the free Ideas at Dawn newsletter to stay current on our upcoming free lunch and learns plus trainings. At your next review, report back on how you’ve been educating yourself with what’s available (at no cost) and how it helped. But also, come prepared with an upcoming (paid) learning opportunity you’ve been watching.

I know it would feel defeating to get another “no,” but look at it as an opportunity to begin a dialogue with your boss. Open communication is always a good thing.

And keep in mind…the answer to your request could also be yes!

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