STRATEGIES FOR GETTING A "YES" TO TRAINING
We understand the issues and difficulties Assistants often face when seeking approval for training. Staying relevant in the Assistant role is one of the biggest challenges for the PA professional. As Assistants mature in the profession it is essential that they regularly update their know-how with the latest best practice, and gain knowledge of new procedures and quicker ways of doing things. It is also important that Assistants never stop learning and keep growing their professional brand; which makes professional development their responsibility.
The following suggestions are designed to inspire you to ask for training and guide you through the process and strategies that turn “no” into “know”. Information is key. How you present it and how persistent you are in your efforts to get approval will make all the difference.
Be brave! Your boss will respect you for asking. It shows that you have assumed responsibility for your own development. Be sure to demonstrate how you will add value to the business. You may think you won’t get the ok to attend that training course but you won’t know until you try. This time, you will ask for training with a business case.
If the answer is “no”, find out what you need to do next time to make it a "yes". The mere fact that you prepared well and made your case for training in a strong and professional way is likely to impress your boss. It could ultimately result in professional gains that bring continuous development in other ways.
YOUR EXECUTIVE WILL BE THINKING ABOUT
- The return on investment (RoI) - do the maths. How much time (% of salary) could the new/updated knowledge save you?
- How you will share best practice with other Assistants in the business?
- Why training or professional mentoring is important to you at that time?
- Will you deliver in your role over and above what you currently deliver?
- Which skills gaps are you attempting to bridge?
Try to really convince your boss that you have sufficiently analysed your need for training. Present figures that are based on how much time as a percentage of your salary, you currently spend on certain tasks. Then show the monetary saving the company can make if you learn quicker ways of completing those tasks.
If you are hoping to be promoted to a more senior Assistant role, you may find that there are a number of skills you can start developing in preparation for that move. Please read our article about the scope of the Executive Assistant role, which should help you determine if there are any other skills you can bring to your current role to add value.
HOW TO ASK FOR TRAINING
MAKING A BUSINESS CASE FOR PA/EA TRAINING/MENTORING
If you think the answer to your request for Assistant training or mentoring is going to be “no", use the following ideas to present a convincing business case. Your business case should cover as many of the following points as possible.
Below are some suggestions to help you build a solid case.
Your Company’s Needs
Say that you would like to attend an external training course because they are better equipped to show Assistants how to:
- make better decisions
- save time and money
- avoid costly mistakes
- innovate and stay ahead of their peers
- be more effective at helping executives increase revenue
- Show how training will close a skills gap
- Show how training will prepare you for an upcoming promotion
- Explain how you will bring value to the business by sharing best practice with other Assistants in the business
- Explain how your professional development represents a good return on investment (RoI) - how much time will you save your executive
- Say how your training objectives will prepare you for the future?
- Tie key learning outcomes to your performance review objectives
- Tie key learning points to the fulfillment of your 1-year or 5-year professional development plan
- Tie learning outcomes to the goals of your department or company
- Mention how the training will further the team’s objectives
- Show that you have done your research and the course you would like to attend comes highly recommended
- Point out which aspects of the course will help you to bring additional skills to the role
Modules: List the main modules and say what type of problems they will solve. Paste the entire course agenda into the document.
Delivery: Describe the type of training delivery that will be used (classroom tutoring, group case studies, role-play, etc.)
Workbooks/Action Plan: Say that you will use the information in the workbooks / Action Plan as a future referencing tool, and for implementing best practice.
Course Dates/Venue: Include course dates and say which date you would like to attend on. Also include the address and a few details about the training venue.
You should include the follow-up activity mentioned in the course details. Things like free support PA/EA mentoring, or being subscribed to a free monthly newsletter, or social media forum.
Include early bird price
Include standard price
Include applicable taxes (are taxes included in price?)
State the monetary value of any discount you have negotiated
Explain any additional benefits you will receive such as 20% off future products, or a hot buffet lunch.
Trainer/Coach Qualifications and Background
To prove that the trainer is suitably qualified to train or mentor you, include a brief bio on the trainer, outlining the trainer’s experience, qualifications and attributes. This can usually be found on the "About Us" page on the website or in the brochure.
Include any accolades found on the website, such as “PA guru”
Show what past attendees thought of the training by cutting and pasting some of the best of the testimonials on the website, and statements like "rated 5 out of 5 for excellence”.
How Will You Add Value?
Finish your business case by returning to the issue of "Return on Investment". Say that given all that is mentioned above, you strongly believe that training / mentoring is a good investment for the business, not just an expense.
Remind your boss that you will share what you have learnt with other Assistants in the business by sharing best practice.
You should also add a reminder that this personal development activity will significantly improve your personal brand and make you more of an asset to the business.
Finally, thank your boss for the opportunity to present the business case and say that you are available to clarify any points raised. Tell your boss when the early bird price will expire, and if time is limited, provide a date for response/decision.
If The Answer is “No”
If you don't get approval for training ask why, and find out what you have to do differently next time to get approval.
- Offer to take a day or half-day of your own time for the training
- Offer to pay for the hotel if the company pays for the flights and registration
- Consider self-investment but make it really clear at your performance review that you were so serious about continuous development that you self-financed it.
- Suggest in-house training for your entire PA support team, which can be as little as half the price of a place on the open course.
"The road to success is always under construction!"
The Executive Assistant Practitioner Course
This is 5-star holistic training for career Assistants. Stay relevant and bring something new to your role with this interesting and challenging 3-day programme.
REQUEST A TRAINING PROPOSAL
We can provide a personalised Assistant training proposal to give to your boss. The proposal would summarise the essential information found in the relevant brochure, but worded in such a way that it speaks from the Assistant's unique perspective and takes into consideration the goals and values of your business.
FACING A NEW CHALLENGE?
ADD FAST-TRACK CAREER MENTORING TO YOUR TRAINING PROGRAMME
For those times when training alone is not enough to move your career forward, we offer bespoke fast-track PA/EA development packages that include a training course of your choice and an intensive career mentoring programme. Contact us to discuss how to tailor a development package to your needs.
GET A "YES" TO YOUR PROPOSAL FOR A SUPPORT TEAM DEVELOPMENT DAY?
Our courses are delivered using highly interactive group work and problem solving discussions. Therefore, your team development day is the perfect opportunity to upskill the support team and get them working together to solve common PA/EA problems, share best practice, and build rapport. Use our business case strategies detailed above to convince the management team to approve support team development. We are happy to assist you with composing a business case. Contact us to discuss.
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