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How to Secure Professional Development Funds for Coaching

career Oct 21, 2019

In order to continue to grow, learn and develop in your field of choice, it's important that you avail yourself of continuous learning opportunities. There are several ways to advance your skills through classes, conferences, sabbaticals, apprenticeships, and of course coaching. After all, the more you're exposed to professional development opportunities the more engaged with your work.

What women want most from any workplace is to flourish and find purpose and meaning in their work. What employers want most is to have an engaged and committed workforce that positively contributes to the mission and the overall financial success of the organization. 

Time and resources, however, often prove to be the key barriers to access for professional development services. In addition, there are some organizations who frown on allocating funds for outside services, particularly if they haven't developed a policy around this benefit or if they offer their own version of employee development.  

I have to say, in my experience, in-house training or developmental programs are usually based more on specific job skill enhancement then true professional growth and development. That's why a more progressive organization will set aside funds that their employees can access when needed, particularly if it will assist in promotion or advancement opportunities.

It's ultimately in the best interest of the employer to invest in their own human resources as it will protect and preserve their original investment. That's just a no brainer.

The question is, are you comfortable asking for these funds? 

Historically, women (and particularly women of color) don't take advantage of career and leadership coaching. They prefer the "I can do it all by myself method" or the "all I have to do is work harder and build my resume" method to career advancement or change. Unfortunately, that doesn't work.

Even though over 90% of women want to flourish and excel in their roles, less than 50% feel they have purpose and meaning, which ultimately has an impact on the bottom line of the organization....and you.

Not sure where to start? Follow these steps:

1. Understand why you need a career coach

You must first understand that all career coaches are NOT alike.  You don't want a skilled resume writer, because a well-crafted resume is NOT going to save or advance your career. You also don't need a shit load of assessments that are supposedly designed to help lead you where you're supposed to go. If that's what you thought all career coaches do, it's no wonder you haven't worked with one before.

As a career strategist and executive coach, I work with my clients to help them gain the clarity needed to know what they truly want from their career, the courage to align their work with their life, and the confidence to implement strategies for performance improvement, advancement or transition.  This is a fluid process which places you at the center. 

I've been successful at helping high-achieving professional women pivot into new careers, promote within their current company and secure their dream job. I've also been tapped by organizations to coach their executive directors or other leaders to upscale their professional presence. So, if your organization has the resources, ask them to invest in one of my Confident Career Success Path programs. 

2. Make the business case

Now that you've identified your need for a career coach, you have to align with the work with the strategic goals of your department or the organization on a whole. Is your organization committed to the advancement of women or diversity within the organization? Your company's strategic plan, mission, vision and values are what guides administrative decisions, so connect the outcomes of your coaching program to your request for funding. Use that information in your request for funding email (request for funding letter template).

Think of your career as fluid, evolving, and growing with professional development playing a key role in helping you stay current, effective and productive. It's important for you to know your goals and what you want for your career and how that aligns with your current employer. This is important whether you desire to stay there for one year or 10 years. It really doesn't matter. In that way, you'll always be able to make a business case for why you need career coaching.

3. Take ownership of the process

In some situations you may have to pay for your own coaching and then seek full or partial reimbursement from your employer. Taking ownership of your own professional development let's your employer know that you're committed to your growth and efficacy in your role. By taking the initiative to seek out just the right opportunities (and the right coach) and by presenting a well-thought-out plan, you'll definitely increase your chances of getting your boss to buy into funding your request for career coaching. 

Also, don't give up. Unless your boss tells you absolutely no way or we just don't have the funds, keep looking for ways to get all or part of your coaching funded. You're most likely to get the, "let me think about it" or "tell me more about why or the program" feedback, so be prepared to be persistent and to make your case! This will also indicate that you are serious about your growth and development.

The best use of your professional development funds

Courageously Called is my year-long support program for high-achieving professional women who want to design and step into the career and life of their dreams. This group is limited to small cohorts of six to ten women who want personal one-on-one support and are ready to learn how create a career that's aligned with their life, not just a part of their lives. 

This program is available by application only! Go to: http://bit.ly/2Xowb1M to apply, learn all about the program details and find out if it is a good fit for you. I can help you tailor a professional development request to your specific organization and for your needs.

Don’t wait another minute to seek the professional development funding you need to design and excel in the career of your dreams.

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