For the past seven years, Training Industry has surveyed learning leaders from a variety of industries to identify the process capabilities and best practices that define great training organizations. Over 1,600 learning leaders from more than 1,300 organizations across the globe have contributed their expert opinions. A summary of past years’ research was recently published in the book, “What Makes a Great Training Organization?” and this body of knowledge makes up the foundation of our Certified Professional in Training Management program.  It is clear that leadership is a major contributor to training functioning, but what does our research say about preparing training leaders for their role?

In 2014, 223 learning leaders representing approximately 200 organizations participated, providing their insight into the processes that, when performed well, drive sustainable impact and make a significant difference in business performance.  New to this iteration was an examination of the ways in which great training organizations prepare their training managers to lead the business. Chief among their preparatory strategies is the provision of strategic information and support for outside development opportunities (see table below).

Preparation Process/No. of Respondents

Given the importance of leadership in setting direction, it is surprising that such a large percentage of organizations reported not preparing managers to lead. When we compared organizations that were rated good or great at one or more essential process capability, we found that preparation was related to training organization functioning. As depicted in the graph below, good training organizations are 2.5 times more likely to provide some form of preparation, twice as likely to offer training on managing the training function, and 64 percent more likely to provide support for outside development, proving that preparing training managers for their role is critical.

Good/Great, Average or Below

With so many organizations not providing formal preparatory training, what mechanisms are they using to ensure training managers are prepared for their roles? We also collected information about the typical qualifications of training managers as part of this study. The majority of training managers possess a combination of experience and education (see chart below for breakdown). The typical training manager has a Masters or higher level degree (i.e., Ph.D. or Ed.D.) and five or more years of experience in learning and development or the field/industry in which they operate.


It’s clear that training leaders shape the future of the businesses they support. The results of our study demonstrate the importance of preparatory activities and education to training process capability performance. Future iterations of this study will expand upon these results, delving further into the impact of training manager competencies on organizational performance.