Read more about the article 5 Smart Ways To Spend Your L&D Budget To Accelerate Your Growth

5 Smart Ways To Spend Your L&D Budget To Accelerate Your Growth

Knowing how to spend your development budget can be overwhelming. There are so many options, and they all look shiny and new, but which one is actually going to move you in the direction you want to go?

Before you even start looking at the options, get clear on your goals by asking yourself these questions:

  • What skill or quality do I need to develop to feel more successful in my job/career?
  • Where do I want to be in a years’ time and what do I need to do to get there?
  • What support and input do I need to achieve my desired growth?

Once you have clarity on this, you can better assess some of the tools available to you to support your growth. Here are my top 5 recommended ways to spend your development budget in a meaningful way that will move you forward.

1. Technical Skills Development Courses

Your technical skills are probably already pretty hot, but if there’s a tool/software/language you want to feel more proficient in then a technical course might be a good way to invest in yourself. Have a look to see if there is a low cost course you can take on Udemy, or perhaps even something for free on YouTube before splurging your budget on a technical course. It can be easy to stay in your technical comfort zone and restrict development to things you’re already familiar with. While developing your technical skills is important, after completing your studies usually the bigger growth area is in building your transferable skills.

2. Transferable Skills Development Courses

If you have a goal to develop a specific transferable skill then taking a course can be a great approach to go into depth on one topic. If you want flexibility to do a course around your busy schedule, choose one you can do asynchronously. If you know you need more accountability to see it through to the end, choose one with set times you need to show up. Choose something from a reputable provider and/or that you have heard good reviews about and make sure to check the learning objectives and outcomes to decide if it is the right course for you.

3. Industry Specific Conferences

Attending a conference can be a quick-fire way to build your technical and transferable skills as well as build your network at the same time. Conferences can vary wildly in size and scope. Choose one that is as specific as possible to your industry and be sure to look at the planned keynotes and skills sessions in advance of booking to ensure they are aligned with your development goals. While a conference is a great place to gain input and ideas on lots of areas, it won’t be as in depth as some of the other development tools. The greatest value you will gain from a conference is in the networking. 

4. Peer Networking and Mentoring Community

Incredible value can be gained from having the right network to support you in your growth. Many communities offer mentoring, workshops, accountability and group coaching, as well as various opportunities to connect with peers. A network can boost your confidence and encourage you to take risks you might not take on your own. Community is so important to me I’m growing my own. Get on the waitlist to hear when we launch.

5. Coaching

Sometimes your development needs are more complex and you require something bespoke to achieve your goals. This is when coaching is a great option. You decide what you focus on and have the dedicated support of your coach to help you navigate your personal challenges. This can be a quicker approach to achieving your goals and developing your self-leadership skills and confidence. You’ll not only be gaining from the work you do within your sessions, but also in-between sessions with personalized homework and accountability with your coach.

Not sure what’s the best way for you to achieve your goals? Let’s chat! Together we can discuss your goals and weigh up your options to find the best fit for you.

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How To Get Comfortable With Power

Power is a word that generates an incredibly strong and often negative reaction from the women I work with. And yet, when asked to stand in their truth and describe who they are, they usually say powerful.

So where’s the disconnect? If being powerful is part of our essence, why are so many of us afraid to embrace power?

  • Is it because we’ve been brought up with the belief that power is bad, that it will corrupt us, that it will harm us and the people we care about?
  • Is it because we fear the responsibility that power brings?
  • Is it because we believe power might be at odds with what it means to be a woman?

For whatever reason we find ourselves shying away from power, it’s time for us to challenge those beliefs. 

  • If  you want to feel comfortable in leadership you need to learn to embrace your power. 
  • You need to rebuild your relationship with power, especially your beliefs around it. 
  • You need to embody it so that you can stand tall, knowing that you are leading authentically.
  • You need to create awareness of the positive impact that using your power can have on organizations, the people you lead, and society.

How can you re-define that relationship?

  1. Understand your relationship with power: What emerges for you when you think about power? Who or what formed your understanding of what power is? What preconceived beliefs do you hold?
  2. Re-define what power is for you: Explore what it means for you to be powerful and what would be possible if you owned your power. Consider the different types of power (subtle, soft, forceful, tyrannical…) and choose the elements that align best with your values.
  3. Collect role models: Find examples of powerful leaders that inspire you. Learn about the impact they have had in their work. 
  4. Accept responsibility and take ownership at work: Whether it’s a project, a team, a task or a resource, accept responsibility for it and practice showing up in your full power.

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Creative Mornings Talk #Liminal

When we find ourselves in transition between projects, ideas, or phases of life, often we can end up occupying the liminal space for much longer than we’d like.

This space is usually characterized by low energy, ineffective working patterns, increased stress, and unhealthy behaviors. In our attempt to remove ourselves from the discomfort of this emotional space, we turn to problem solving to try and figure out how to move forward, but this rarely helps us make the transition from what has been to what will be. In this talk I explore why it’s so important to get comfortable with the unknown, and use transition periods as an opportunity to look inward and get curious about how we may have changed so that we can move forward with purpose. As additional material from this talk, please download the Liminal Worksheet to help you work through your own transitions.

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3 Steps to Unlocking Your Assertive Voice

Communication sits at the heart of all our interactions whether they are written, verbal or non-verbal, and yet very few of us are formally taught how to communicate. Most of us rely on the observations we make witnessing the people around us communicate; our parents, teachers, friends, colleagues and employers.

I was recently facilitating a group coaching session where we were talking about methods to communicate assertively and one participant said ‘No-one speaks like that at work, I could never say anything like that.’ My response was ‘How many people do you know who you would consider as assertive communicators?’ The whole group looked stumped and there were a few minutes of silence. Finally the participant who made the original comment mentioned she had a friend who was great at communicating assertively, but she was the only person she could name.

This participant was reluctant to use assertive communication at work because she couldn’t see anyone else modelling it. However when she did practice implementing some of the assertive communication techniques at work the next week, to her surprise she got the positive outcomes she was looking for. Not only did she feel more confident in herself, but her assertive communication improved project outcomes too. It didn’t even feel that awkward for her to communicate assertively in the end, even if she was the only person doing it.

It can be easy to assume that those around us, and particularly those senior to us, are good communicators. We have grown up learning to communicate by observing those around us, and while we inevitably learn some useful things we also unknowingly pick up bad habits and can be at risk of adopting unhelpful communication styles. This is especially true when working in high pressure environments, as good, assertive communication is usually one of the first things to go when pressure ramps up.

How can you find your assertive voice?

Learn your communication style
We all have a natural tendency towards a particular communication style, and this can be dependent on the situation we find ourselves in. When you know your default style, you are better able to start adjusting how you communicate. Learn more about the four communication styles in this great overview from the University of Kentucky here.

Raise your awareness
Begin shifting your attention to how you communicate in different situations. Over a working week, notice what your body language and behaviour is when you communicate with different people. Notice the words you choose to use and the tone and force with which you use them. What are you projecting by the way you are communicating? Which communication style are you adopting in which situations? Once you have this awareness, you can begin to address areas where your communication could be more assertive.

Set clear boundaries
One of the best places to begin communicating assertively is around your boundaries because these can be quite easily reduced to short, clear, direct sentences. For example: ‘I don’t work weekends’ or ‘Commenting on my appearance is not appropriate. You need to stop.’

Want to improve your boundaries? Get access to my free Boundary Setting E-mail Course.

If you’ve ever wondered why your relationships are suffering at work or in your personal life it’s highly likely that communication is the root of the problem. If you don’t feel like you’re being taken seriously, that your voice is being heard, or you just feel like you’re being walked over, then communication is the likely culprit too. You have a choice to do something about it though, and by practicing these techniques you will begin to see the impact on your work, as well as your confidence.

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How I accidentally sabotaged my career and stifled my potential

I was doing some decluttering the other day and came across this peer-feedback report from my old job. It was so nice to read some of the comments that people had written about my strengths (my personal favourite is ‘Fearless’). There is so much praise here, and so much to be proud of.

AND when I read the section about development needs I get chills down my spine, because all of these comments point to the lack of confidence I had in myself. Other people could see it, and I knew it.

I didn’t believe in myself, I didn’t trust myself, I didn’t love myself. I was harder and meaner to myself than anyone else could ever be, and all of this was sabotaging my career. It’s right there in the comments:

  • ‘Does not contribute in meetings. Could be overlooked’
  • ‘Not very visible’
  • ‘Lacks confidence’
  • ‘A quiet approach can mean some colleagues don’t feel they know her’

Having read my strengths you’d probably think this section was written about a different person. But no, it wasn’t, all of this was true. Despite being skilled at what I did, passionate about my work, and incredibly dedicated, I usually felt painfully uncomfortable at work because I was in the grips of self-doubt. My colleagues clearly thought I was great and doing a good job, but I couldn’t see it, and that was coming across in how I showed up on a daily basis at work, and it was severely impacting my ability to achieve my potential.

What my colleagues probably couldn’t see is the toll this was also taking on me physically and emotionally. I felt constantly out of my comfort zone and stressed. I had almost permanent brain fog, tight muscles, stomach cramps, and I often felt forgetful. My body was sending me loud signals that something was wrong and it felt like I was permanently under attack.

But from what? At the time it felt like everything, but in actuality, it was all self-sabotage. I WAS ATTACKING MYSELF!

I knew this wasn’t how I wanted to be, but I’d been consumed by this feeling for so long I really didn’t know how to change it. I felt like a victim.

It took me another 3 years to really wake up to what was wrong and start working on peeling back those layers of self-doubt. I wish I’d done something about it sooner, but sometimes when you’re so consumed by something you just can’t see the wood for the trees.

The path back to my confidence was not one I expected. It wasn’t about reading self-help books, and gaining hints and tips. It was about slowing down and reconnecting on a deep level with the confident woman I knew was hiding somewhere inside me. She needed coaxing out, rebuilding, loving. I know I couldn’t have done this without the support of a coach to guide me.

I know the pain, disappointment, frustration and overpowering discomfort that a lack of confidence in yourself can bring, and I really don’t want you to feel this way, because it is a waste of your time, energy and potential. You deserve better. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be successful in your career.

I’ve designed a 4-week group coaching programme to help other women make the shift from feeling self-doubt to self-confidence. A programme that will help you to reconnect with who you are and step back into your full power.

If you’ve received similar feedback to the feedback I did, and you feel ready to do something about it then the Ignite Your Confidence programme is for you.

Over 4 weeks you will learn to:

  • Deepen your understanding of yourself and reconnect with who you are and what drives you
  • Discover your core strengths and how to communicate them
  • Identify and overcome self-limiting beliefs
  • Learn how to cultivate self-confidence and enhance your resilience

All with the support of a certified coach and an intimate group of women also working on developing their confidence.

Programme Dates: We will meet on Monday evenings 19:30 – 21:00 CET starting Monday 7th March and ending on Monday 28th March.

Places are limited. Deadline for applications – Friday 4th March

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