Have you ever developed or used a competency model to create a training program? These frameworks define the skill and knowledge requirements of a job and can help organizations close skills gaps and create talent development strategies. By arranging knowledge and skill requirements into categories, competency models organize and elaborate on what employees need to perform their jobs successfully.

Maybe you use competency models for employees in your organization. Maybe you’ve even created one or two yourself. But have you ever considered the competencies you need to perform your job effectively? Which skills are most important for training managers to develop, and how can you be sure you are cultivating them appropriately?

Training Industry, Inc. created the Training Manager Competency Model™ to help you answer those questions. Like any good competency model, it’s based on extensive research (namely, on our longitudinal research study on great training organizations).

We’ve found that great training organizations are led by training managers who have both foundational leadership competencies as well as the competencies needed to perform seven core learning and development (L&D) manager responsibilities. Read this article to learn more; then, take our self-assessment to learn which areas you should focus your professional development on in 2020.

Training Manager Competencies

Foundational Leadership Competencies

Leaders in any function need some key skills in order to manage people, lead strategy, and model organizational values and mission. These competencies include integrity and honesty, project management, customer service, driving results, organizational awareness, driving performance through others, presentation skills, change management, planning and attention to detail, and business acumen.

Effective training managers are effective business managers. They understand how their organization operates, what their stakeholders need in order to be successful, how to use learning and development to meet business goals, and how to plan and manage a budget. They know how to lead a team meeting; manage employee performance; give and receive feedback; and collaborate with peers, subordinates and supervisors.

The good news is, as a training manager, you know where to go to develop these skills. Participate in one or two of the same leadership courses you offer learners. Find a mentor in your organization or in your broader network. Join a professional association. Develop cross-functional skills by volunteering for project teams. Follow business news in L&D and in your organization’s industry. These methods will help you become a more effective leader and business partner.

Training Manager Competencies

Our research has identified seven core responsibilities training managers must perform successfully in order to lead a great training organization. These responsibilities translate into the core competencies of a training manager:

Strategic Alignment

When a training organization is strategically aligned to the business, its programs and goals are created to meet the business needs of the enterprise, and all learning is meant to help drive business results. To achieve strategic alignment, training managers must have two competencies:

  • Influencing/negotiating, or the ability to persuade, build consensus and gain cooperation to obtain information and accomplish goals.
  • Strategic thinking, or the ability to understand organizational goals, formulate objectives, determine priorities, adopt a short- and long-term view, and recognize opportunities to accomplish training objectives.

Evaluating Performance

Training managers must be able to determine whether training is meeting business needs and improving organizational performance. To do so, they need two competencies:

  • Performance measurement, or the ability to apply the principles and methods for evaluating program or organizational performance using financial and nonfinancial measures, including identifying evaluation factors, metrics and outcomes.
  • Organizational performance analysis, or the ability to apply the methods, techniques and tools used to analyze program and organizational performance and deliver key performance information used to inform decisions, actions, communications and accountability systems.

Developing and Delivering Solutions

Using needs assessments and evaluative information, training managers develop and deliver learning solutions that meet business needs. Doing so requires two competencies:

  • Employee development, or the ability to apply concepts, principles and practices related to planning, evaluating and administering training, organizational development and career development initiatives.
  • Creativity and innovation, or the ability to think divergently, solve problems and pursue possibilities.

Optimizing Process

Training organizations include a large number of processes, and their leaders must be able to manage them effectively through:

  • Creative thinking, or the ability to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of various solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Problem-solving, or the ability to identify problems, determine the accuracy and relevance of information, use sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and make recommendations.

Selecting and Managing Resources

Selecting and managing employees, materials and vendors, including outsourcing, is often a significant component of the training manager role. It involves decision-making as well as the management of personnel resources, or the ability to plan, distribute and monitor work assignments, including identifying the best people for specific tasks; evaluate and provide feedback on work performance; and motivate, develop, coach and direct people as they work.

Identifying Needs

Identifying training needs involves performing an analysis to understand organizational problems and involves two competencies:

  • Information management and organization, or the ability to identify, gather, organize, maintain, and determine the importance and accuracy of information.
  • Consultation, or the ability to identify and provide guidance to stakeholders by listening to their needs and identifying processes to address them.

Managing Technologies

The final responsibility of the training manager is managing technologies and the technical personnel required for creating, managing and delivering training. It requires competency in human factors, or the ability to apply the principles, methods and tools used to identify and apply information about human behavior, abilities and limitations to the design of tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs and environments for effective human use, as well as competency in the application of learning technologies.

Career Resolutions for 2020: 5 Steps to Build Your Professional Development Plan

Competency models can seem overwhelming at first. Where should you focus your professional development in 2020? Here are five steps to take to build your professional development plan:

  1. Assess your current state (this free self-assessment can help).
  2. Identify gaps.
  3. Look for options for professional development.
  4. Share your plan with your supervisor and/or peers, where relevant.
  5. Revisit and reassess your plan regularly.