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Frances Ferguson

Glasstap Ltd

Training Design Manager

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What currently gets forgotten in traditional Train the Trainer courses?


I have been offered a wonderful opportunity to pitch for a project to design a program of continuous professional development for L&D professionals.

I am really excited about this & have lots of ideas whizzing around my head but would love to hear your thoughts as to what skills are often left out.

My particular passion is making sure that the training leads to changes in workplace behaviour, but what do you think should be included?

I would love to hear your ideas, thoughts or challenges.

All the best.


9 Responses

  1. Negotiation and influencing skills

    As both a corporate employee and now with my own company, I have found that one of the major skills needed is the ability to influence senior managers/clients of the need for and benefits of a particular programme or intervention. Negotiating budgets/time needed is often a challenge as well.

    Hope that gives some food for thought


  2. mirroring sue’s answer….

    …as you are dealing with CPD for existing L&D professionals rather than a TTT for new starters I suggest an exercise I did with a similar group a couple of years ago.

    They were given an initial enquiry from a line manager……but they had to get to the real problem behind the performance problem by questioning a role player.

    When they got to the real problem they had to propose an intervention that would turn around the problem, rather than just provide a course.  Some of the problems were ones which were "red herrings"… intervention by the L&D function could turn around the problem….the issue was two fold: could they see this and would they accept it and not propose a solution, since to do so would be a waste of time and money and would damage the credibility of the L&D function.

    When they proposed a solution to a solvable problem, the role player challenged them on aspects as wide ranging as the lead time to put it into effect, the down time of staff to attend it, the cost of delivery, the credibility of the intervention, the office-political ramifications of some attendees being seen to be attending the intervention, and some staff members not.

    I hope this helps



  3. Include other stakeholders too

    I entirely agree with the answers given, assuming it’s about how L&D can make a difference in a more strategic sense.

    In this I would add in something about other stakeholders.

    L&D often works too much in isolation. A course is delivered and then, hopefully, its impact on the workplace is evaluated. However, much of the factors influencing the eventual impact are outside of the control of L&D: the local management, the nature of the role, team dynamics, physical workplace and many other factors.

    I believe strongly in L&D working with other stakeholders (HR, communications etc.) to design more holistic interventions to improve the chances of change sticking.

  4. Business Acumen for Trainers

    Last year I put some materials together to form a one day Business Acumen for Trainers workshop. Although designed for independant training consultants, it explores business acumen in a training environment. Information about the workshop is on

    I am happy to provide the materials for free.

  5. 2 strands?

    Hello Frances – good luck with your pitch – I hope you get the work.

    I believe that there are two strands to the CPD needs of L&D professionals:

    1) Training practice: This includes developing skills and utilising latest thinking in both designing and delivering training so that it really has an impact.

    2) Training management: this includes everything from TNA to training strategy to "selling" training interventions to others in the organisation etc.

    I run Trainers Exchange, which is  quarterly networking and development event for people in the L&D profession and we help people develop their knowledge and skills in both these strands through workshops and speakers, and people seem to value this approach, which works for everyone whether they are a training provider or a training manager.

    I hope this helps


  6. Thank you to all of you

    Great responses so far, lots for me to incorporate. Thank you for being so generous with your time.

    I would love to hear from anyone else happy to share their thoughts and join the debate.


  7. just some thoughts….


    Train the Trainer can be a wider topic than you first imagine, assuming the standard domains of train the trainer are part of this proposal :), then in my experience you have two audiences in most companies – Hard skills and Soft Skills trainers – so key topics for me are always Planning and Analysis of Need, Methods, Media, Communication, Dynamics and Differentiation, Evaluation and Feedback processes, Stakeholder management, Benefits realisation, Negotiating outcomes and Solutions selling.

    These are high level titles and there are more sub sets and content to this. You may want to also give thought to social learning activities as a sustainable program of development; Karen O’Leonard from Bersin & Associates has a great paper on this, and a Social Learning Architecture which almost encompasses a 70:20:10 model, if that’s the sort of thing that you feel has value.

    I hope this is of interest?



  8. basics…?


    as well as the:

    business accumen & identifying REAL need

    I would add good design … really good learning design (based on properly researched needs & identified output/ performance measures)- there are few if any trainings in the UK that actually teaches instructional design effectively -and this will apply equally to classroom, e & m solutions, so is "future proof" to a certain extent

  9. Missing elements?


    I agree with what has been posted above. A number of those items might come under the banner of consultancy skills (as in Phillips and Shaw’s book on the subject) or L&D Business Partnering, especially knowing the business, stakeholder management and business partnering. The depth you might cover this with people new to the role is the question. I’d suggest an initial basic level would be very useful with perhaps more in-depth skills work when they have their feet under the table.

    Another possible gap would be helping learners to be more self sufficient or self managing in their learning, and being more well developed and skilful as a learner. 

    Lastly, I think it would be good for them to have a good grasp of the role of learning in improving performance, in continuous improvement, in change and in embedding inter-team and organisational learning.

    A course can only cover so much, but a blended programme or trainer training journey would not only model good practice and expose them to non-course methods, it would also make covering all this ground a more feasible proposition.

    Let me know when you have designed it! Best of luck


Author Profile Picture
Frances Ferguson

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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