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Developing the developers


Questions & answersEarlier this year, we promised a further feature on the results of the Develop the Developer survey. Mike Morrison takes a look at some of the results, and how they could influence your continuing professional development.

We don't know what we don't know

The Develop the Developer survey was a comprehensive review of the development needs of trainers, by trainers. The 'top ten' personal development needs identified by those participating were:

1.Interpersonal skills
2.Understanding the psychology of learning
3.Facilitation skills
5.Group delivery skills
6.Training and development methods
7.Coaching skills
8.Consulting skills
9.Business knowledge
10.Training needs analysis

Photo of Mike Morrison"Networking is particularly important for us as the majority of us work on our own and have few colleagues to 'bounce' ideas off."

In contrast the responders identified the following 'top ten' as key skills needed by the trainer/developer population as a whole:

1.Coaching skills – as a range of styles not just one methodology
2.Consulting skills – internal and external
3.Evaluation skills
4.Diagnostic techniques – holistic and organisational as well at an individual level
5.Interpersonal and personal skills
6.Organisational development
7.Facilitation skills
8.Training needs analysis
9.Business knowledge
10.Training and development methods – delivery methods

In the past, professionals have looked towards their professional bodies to support their CPD. But in the world of people development 19% of us do not belong to any professional body. Here's a breakdown of membership:

  • CIPD (28%)
  • No Professional Membership (19%)
  • ILM (8%)
  • ITOL (5%)
  • Teaching Professional (4%)
  • CMI (3%)
  • IBC (3%)
  • Health care Professional (3%)
  • CIM (2%)
  • AMED (2%)
  • Engineering/IT Institute (2%)
  • Finance Professional (2%)
  • ICPD (1%)
  • ASTD (1%)
  • There has been a steady decline in professionals meeting and using professional bodies over the past few years so perhaps this is not surprising. The good news for sites like is that some 73% use the web and forums for learning and development.

    The following were identified as areas of growth in the world of learning and development by those who responded to the Develop the Developers survey. We have identified the top two growth areas in each area, so use this as a reference for inspiration:

  • Activity based approaches – total wellbeing and mind gym
  • Career planning – career workshops and succession planning
  • Creativity – risk taking within organisations and linking individuals and organisational creativity
  • Diagnostics - holistic and diagnostic reviews and 360 organisational reviews (business improvement reviews)
  • Equal opportunities – ageism awareness and men's development
  • Ethical development – SQ (spiritual quotient) and environmental responsibility
  • Evaluation – Kirkpatrick's levels three and four and ROI (Return on Investment)
  • Group-based training – external networking and external partnering
  • Leadership techniques – risk taking and developing a strategic view
  • Organisational development – innovation (behavioural) and Investors in People additional modules
  • Performance management – integrated performance management systems and 360 performance management
  • Retention – talent management and working from home
  • Text delivery solutions – podcasts and mlearning
  • Therapy techniques – hypnosis and time line
  • Interestingly, nowhere in the results of the survey did it highlight the need for development of our delivery skills - this could have been because the average responder had already undertaken more than 100 days CPD in their career as a trainer.

    "There has been a steady decline in professionals meeting and using professional bodies over the past few years… The good news for sites like is that some 73% use the web and forums for learning and development."

    For those of us with less I would urge you to look at providers which can provide a peer review of your delivery ability. In fact I would recommend that all trainers delivering content have a regular 'trainers MOT'.

    Organisations like TrainerBase and the The Training Foundation already provide this – TrainerBase through their Certified Learning Practitioner (CLP) programme and The Training Foundation through the TAP programme.

    If you are not a member of a professional body then regional groups from TrainerBase and others make great learning and networking opportunities, as do online groups like the Lone Trainer Network - on LinkedIn. Networking is particularly important for us as the majority of us work on our own and have few colleagues to 'bounce' ideas off. The Develop the Developer research identified that the number of people employed in an organisation primarily in a training or coaching role as:

    Number of trainers per organisation (% of responders)
    1 (27%)

    2-5 (27%)

    6-10 (14%)

    11-20 (10%)

    21-50 (12%)

    Times are changing

    Had this article been run 10 years ago, the focus would have been listing and identifying providers that could offer the above. However, times have moved on, and as we can see, self development is as much on the agenda for trainers as the people we work with. Certainly courses have their place, but so does the web and all it has to offer. We know from recent articles that there are many myths perpetuated within the world of learning and development and we as professionals need to understand what these are and do our utmost not to perpetuate them. This means research, not just taking something at face value and presenting it as fact.

    What and how are you planning to develop yourself in the coming months?

    Mike Morrison is director of RapidBI Ltd, a consulting and training company specialising in organisational development and the development of high performing teams and individuals. For more information go to
    The full Develop the Developers report will be jointly published by the BILD and RapidBI later this year.


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