How to convince your manager to pay for your training

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As the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said: “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”

Learning, Aristotle believed, should be a lifelong process and something that we all strive to keep doing.  If he was alive today, he would undoubtedly be a big fan of continuous professional development (CPD) and an advocate of coaching and mentoring.

So how can you persuade your line manager to invest in you and your development and what are the benefits in doing so?

1. What’s in it for them?

Career coach Fiona Clark says: “Whenever trying to persuade someone of anything always think – ‘what’s in it for them?’ – rather than ‘what’s in it for me?’.  Is there, for example, a resourcing shortfall in a particular skill in your firm that you could help them fill with some training?  “It’s also useful to refer to any feedback you’ve had on development areas and how CPD will help to address this,” says Clark.

2. Present a business case

Make sure you put forward a clear business case, which is fully in line with company objectives, says Mark Moore, founder of Excelerated Performance International training consultancy and  “A useful way to construct a business case is to consider the ‘behaviours’ you need in order to excel in your current role, add maximum value to the business and your line manager/team and consider the behaviours you’ll need to advance your career,” he says. “Since you can’t focus on them all, pick the top three or four vital behaviours you’d need to excel in such a role, such as leadership capabilities.” Once you have identified several key behaviours you can research the relevant courses and begin to present your case.

3. Involve your line manager

“You should always involve your line manager from the outset by explaining that you want to increase your value to them and the business,” says Moore. Involving your HR or L&D team is also an option but it’s probably worth trying to get your line manager on board first.

4. Spell out the ROI

You will, in addition, need to calculate the anticipated return on investment (ROI) and how it can be recouped.  It might cost, say £300 for you to go on a social media course. But if you can then run an internal course for 20 of your colleagues on social media when you get back, it could save your company £6000. That should be a no-brainer for your employer.

5. Anticipate any possible objections or concerns and indicate how you can handle them

“For example – if you think your manager might be concerned about the number of days away from your desk, know how much time is involved and explain your plan of how to fit in both the CPD and your day job,” Clark explains.

6. Find a mentor or employee champion

Having a mentor in your business who isn’t your line manager can be a very useful and effective way of talking through opportunities, challenges and career development.  It’s usually best to try and find someone to who has already recognised your potential, says Rob Blythe, director of Instant Impact  graduate recruitment firm. “Find the people who are where you want to be in your field and follow their work and try to nurture a positive relationship,” he says. “You need to become the kind of person you yourself would like to mentor. But it should be a two way thing and both of you should get something out of it.”

7. Spell out the benefits to your organisation

CPD has a plethora of benefits for the employee and employer. It can increase your confidence, capabilities and productivity for starters. “From an employee’s point of view, the main benefit is obviously that you grow as a skilled worker,” says Blythe. “This also serves to make you feel valued as an employee, as your employer clearly cares enough to invest in your development, and that’s hugely important.”



Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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