Are you considering getting certified in somebody’s system or licensing an organization’s thought leadership? Training and certification can be great if you need / want the knowledge, or possibly validation in the marketplace.

Finding a particular system or thought leader’s work fascinating can be another good reason to invest.

But these types of investments usually come with a high cost, and it makes sense to carefully evaluate whether you are chasing a shiny object – or making a smart investment in yourself and your business.

Below are several questions and possibilities to get you thinking.

Why do you want it?

Were you caught up in the energy of the room? Did you like the people? Did you admire the presenter? Set and setting can certainly influence us.

If you’ve been following this person or organization for a long time, maybe you already have a compelling why. If you are new to the content, maybe you want to pull up and decide if it’s just interesting or something that you need.

Getting caught up in the energy of the room can lead to buyer’s remorse later. Try to keep perspective.

What are you hoping it will do for you or your business?

Do you have a skill gap that you are trying to fill? Training and certification can certainly help with that.

Is this content or a system you could integrate into your current work? Or would you offer it as a new service?

Are you hoping it will give you credibility? Or generate leads?

All of these are valid, but it’s good to be clear about your goals and whether this training or certification could potentially meet those goals.

Does it help you serve your current client base?

A colleague of mine trains speakers and corporate employees to own the room. She’s a force herself, and does great work.

So, I was surprised when she told me she was going to take this multiday training on a complex personality assessment tool. I didn’t see how this would fit with her current services or client base. She seemed to think it would be helpful to some of her clients.

I had no issue with her wanting to take the training because she found it personally valuable and interesting, but the possibility that it might be awkward to integrate into her existing business was certainly something she needed to consider.

How much support will you get?

Do you get ongoing support when you buy the content or system? Access to a group of other practitioners for support and knowledge sharing? Access to the thought leader(s)?

How about marketing support?

How does the licensing work? Can you modify the thought leadership? Or do you have to use it exactly the way they have packaged it?

Is it known in the marketplace?

This is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself. I had a former client who got certified in a system of training that had been around for 20 years. She was confident that people would recognize the name, and that being certified in this training system would make selling consulting and training easy.

It didn’t.

While this training has been around for a long time and has been taught in many high-profile organizations, it isn’t a household name, and didn’t get her what she had hoped. She felt the training itself was good and personally got value from going through it, but as far as building a business around selling this training, it simply didn’t work.

Maybe I am a little jaded from being in the coaching ecosystem too long. What I can tell you is there are some fantastic thought leaders out there who are genuinely invested in your success with their systems, and also several snake oil salespeople.

And while I realize this is true everywhere, I would like to (hopefully) stop you from falling for a pretty face – or a killer sales pitch.