It’s that time of year when people can jump into training and development programs. But should they? What if it’s a mistake?
You might be thinking:
“Ooh I’ve got some budget left, what training shall I do?”
“What did I want to achieve this year? I need to learn X Y or Z so that I can achieve my goals”.
“Works going ok, I’m getting results, but it’s taking so much effort to get my team on track, get them to do new things, and I’m losing my evenings to work. What can I do to fix this?”
Signing up for a program or course may be the right thing.
There’s a question you need to ask yourself so that you make the right choice.
I’m a big fan of personal development and trainings. Hardly surprising, it is my career after all. This is how I make my living.
But I’m also not a big fan of doing it because you’re supposed to. I’m actively against it.
In fact, I recently told a prospective client that they didn’t need my services because they didn’t need it for their goal. And they stopped, had a think, and chose to work with an agile coach instead.
I consider that a great day’s work on my part. Person left happy, getting what they really needed. I left happy because I didn’t get a client who didn’t need me.
The key to choosing if you should invest in a program.
A key question that has served me in my entire career, from my days in supply chain to now, coaching leaders in tech, is: What for?
When I was in charge of managing the supply chain processes globally for a €900m business – looking at what projects we should do, prioritise, putting together the cross-functional team, getting the budget for the tech development etc. – there were always a ton of ideas.
We should centralise our planning.
We should integrate forecasting with our customers real-time sales data.
We should shift to a make to order model iso make to forecast.
We should decentralise our planning.
(and yes I have done both centralising and decentralising the planning function. it was a blast. yes really, please ask me to undo this work I just finished….)
And in my coaching business, there are tonnes of ideas too
I should automate my flows.
I should simplify my business processes.
I should use social media.
I should do a 10-month leadership program.
I should learn how to do marketing.
And for every single one of these, the most important question has been:
This is the all encompassing question that gets to the heart of the matter. It’s like when I kid asks Why? a million times, but it’s much less annoying, and equally thought provoking and enlightening.
What do I expect to get in return?
What will be the benefit? and to whom?
What do I hope to achieve?
In what tangible way is my life/the business going to be better because I did this thing?
So, What for?
What does asking this question deliver?
I automated my flows so that clients could:
- Easily book their own appointments.
- And we could stop the email ping pong from hell.
I simplified my business processes so that I could:
- Spend less on admin.
- Spend more time with clients, coaching them.
- Free up time for my clients from the admin/process so that they could spend their time and energy getting benefits from the coaching.
My admin is streamlined, my clients time with me is spent on coaching, not paperwork etc, I spend more of my working time coaching. Win. win. win.
I spend thousands on a 10-month leadership program so that I could:
- Stop overthinking and doubting myself.
- Find a way to do all the things I wanted to do without exhausting myself with all the “should” I had made up.
- BE a leader for myself and therefore make more sound decisions about my life and business.
- Manage difficult relationships so that we all could get what we need.
- Supplement my work experience and coaching so that I could share all that with my clients.
I’m making solid decisions, learning quickly from my failures, and creating a sustainable business and happier life. I don’t work evenings and weekends.
I’ve had lots of uncomfortable situations that I just wanted to run away from, but didn’t. Instead, I had the hard conversation, made the tough call, got heard by the other, came together to resolve it, found a way to make everyone satisfied.
I’ve stopped overthinking (mostly. I’m human, it creeps up on me every now and then).
I’m helping others to develop their leadership by sharing my knowledge and coaching them to find their personal option, and to do it their own way (without them having to reinvent the wheel). So my clients are saving time and doing better work with their teams.
Whatever skills development you have planned, ask yourself what for, and make a list of what you want to get out of it.
It will save you a lot of time and money.
This post is part of my special Coaching Tips Series. This series was inspired by my clients and the core themes in their challenges. When we can apply these tips, we bring a lot of ease into our lives and step into our leadership. Want to talk it through with me? Use a free Experience Coaching session and I’ll help you.