I am surrounded by a lot of women who are passionate about what they do. People who attend conferences or network events, or get in touch through this blog with me, are usually already aware of the effort required to succeed.
Sometimes though, I meet people who forlornly say that they would be more successful/confident/financially secure/[insert any other word here] if only their company would pay for them to go on a training course.
Training courses are great. I know because I have been on many over the years. Training courses paid for by another person are even better. It all depends on the quality and efficacy of your trainer. However, you can still get a lot from a training course if you choose well.
Courses are not what they seem. You can sit in a classroom and learn, then go back to work the same way you did before. Even project management certification doesn’t mean you will be able to work differently. The certificate is not what you want to achieve, but the certificate.
To make the training course lessons stick, it takes serious action planning at the beginning of the course, following up with your manager, and personal commitment. Although training courses are great, they are not the only way to learn.
There are other ways to receive training, besides a classroom course
It’s okay to learn things in different ways. Companies are cutting back on the number of people who take courses.
I can tell because I receive more marketing emails from training providers than I ever did (and cold outreach via LinkedIn messages – bleurgh).
Companies are spending their money on other things than sending employees on courses. All of this adds up into the fact that you’re unlikely get lucky if you’re in the “if only I could” school of thought.
Training is not just about courses. If your company is cutting back on training, but you still want to learn new skills, there are many other options. Here are some options
Are you interested in a career in Marketing? You can reach out to someone and ask them to go with you for the day. It might take a few calls to find the right person.
It should be written as if the reader really wants to learn more about their work. People are usually grateful that you are interested.
This was something I learned while working as a summer intern at a management college. One of my tasks was helping the Research department by calling people and asking if they would be willing to speak at a college-organized conference. Each cold call was a nightmare, but everyone said yes.
Do you have a mentor? Get one if you don’t already. It’s free if someone is in your organization. I can make it reasonably priced if you are using me. It would be a cold manager that wouldn’t support the idea.
Mentor someone else if you have one. Mentoring someone else will help you develop your skills and introduce you to other people.
Industry Press
Do you ever read the industry press? Not just PM Today, PM Forum online.
You can put aside project management and read the news related to your company’s main focus, such as insurance, law, or construction. If you don’t belong to your professional body, such as the Chartered Insurance Institute, the CIPD or others, then find someone who is. Once they have finished, get their society magazine. Reading – in print or online – can help you to find a lot of information.
Many online publications offer forums where you can find training and development tips from the experts.
If these ideas don’t appeal to you, here are some alternatives:
Online courses/workshops
Industry webinars