Trainer Competency

Some of the brightest minds in the country can be found on the last benches of the classroom.”  Dr APJ Abdul Kalam


In Mahabharata, Krishna performed the role of Arjun’s charioteer throughout the battle, but he was much more than that. He was Arjun’s mentor, gently guiding and advising him at every step. This relationship stands as exemplary even today when we talk of a mentor.


The role of a trainer is to develop competency and skill sets in an individual/group to perform his/her role effectively and efficiently in the workplace. The trainer should communicate to the trainees about what is expected out of training simply and professionally.

To be successful, a trainer should be observant and have excellent analytical skills. A good trainer should be able to use alternative teaching methods to cater to various individuals.

In this blog, we’ll explore the trainer competence, why it is important for any organization, how to measure the trainer competency and possible industry challenges.

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Competence (ISO 9000: 2015, Cl 3.10.4): Ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results

Skill (ISO 30401: 2018, Cl 3.30): Learned capacity to perform a task to a specified expectation

Knowledge (ISO 30401: 2018, Cl 3.25): Human or organizational asset enabling effective decisions and actions in the context

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Detailed Information

What is Trainer Competency?

By definition, competence means ‘the ability to apply the knowledge and skill to achieve the intended results.’

For the competent trainer, both ‘knowledge’ and ‘skill’ are equally important. It means, the instructor should have in-depth command about a particular subject and should also have the capability to deliver it too. If the faculty has proficiency in a particular subject but does not know, how to deliver it, the training will not be a success and vice versa.

Just like the competency (Education, Training, Skill, Experience) for any personnel in the organization is desired, the competency of the trainer is equally and even more important.  

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Example: A training is planned about Microsoft Excel. The teacher has more than 10 years of in-depth experience in the subject but does not have the soft skills to deliver the training, what will be the result? Theoretically, the training will be a success but practically it will be a failure. When the organization will take the feedback from the participants, the response from the majority of them will be negative!   

The key role of the trainer is to teach the participant about a particular subject wherein he/she has more understanding and expertise about it.

Why Trainer Competency is Important?

There are numerous reasons to have desired trainer competency. The 3 key reasons include

  1. Impact of training on the participants
  2. Improvement in business performance
  3. Fill the gaps in the participant understanding and improvement

As stated above, the success of any trainer hinges on two aspects: their knowledge and the skill to apply that knowledge.

When a participant attends any training (classroom or virtual), by default, the trainee carries the impression that the faculty will be more knowledgeable. Apart from that, the participants are also a little bit aware of the topic and at the beginning of the training, the participant judges whether the trainer is competent or not! Once the trainer can demonstrate that and can give confidence to the participants, the possibility of the success of the training enhances.

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The key contributor to the success and failure of any training depends on the competency of the faculty. For any open house or in-house training, the participants are always a combination of low, medium and high competence. It is the responsibility of the faculty to understand the different knowledge levels of the participants and to plan the training accordingly.


  1. During the training, with whom should the trainer ask the question? With the bright person or the weak person? What kind of question is to be asked to the bright candidate or the weak candidate?
  2. Online training with a participant from North and South India (Language barrier: English and Hindi)
  3. Only showing ppt, will it serve the purpose or there can be an alternate method like discussing it with the participants before sharing the slide, giving examples about the real-life scenario without sharing the ppt or using the board to engage the audience first

Those trainers, who can gauge the present status of the participants and their expectations, will most probably be successful. Otherwise, the majority of the training is not successful. Not because of the knowledge of the trainer but due to a lack of understanding of the participant’s needs and expectations!  

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How to Measure the Trainer Competency?

There are different formal and informal ways to monitor the trainer’s competency. TTT (Train The Trainer) is one of the most popular methodologies used to train the trainer and verify whether they are competent to be a trainer or not.

There are 4 key indicators through which competency can be defined and monitored. They are

  1. Education
  2. Experience
  3. Training
  4. Skill


Faculty: Microsoft Excel Training

Education: Certified course for Microsoft Excel / Diploma in computer science

Experience: At least 2 years of hands-on experience in using Microsoft Excel

Training: TTT (Train The Trainer), on-the-job training

Skill: How to understand the expectation of the participants, how to modify the training accordingly, and how to engage the trainee throughout

Apart from that Kirkpatrick four level training evaluation can be used to measure the effectiveness of the faculty competence.

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Kirkpatrick’s Four-level Training Evaluation Model: Developed and designed by Don Kirkpatrick, the 4 levels for the training evaluation include

  • Level 1: Reaction
  • Level 2: Learning
  • Level 3: Behaviour
  • Level 4: Impact

Industry Challenges:

  • How often the top management feels the importance to have a structured approach to training the trainer?
  • How often the selection of a trainer is based on competence and not on seniority and designation?
  • How often do the organizations define the competency criteria for the trainer and review it periodically?

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ISO 9001: 2015

ISO 9002: 2016

ISO 9004: 2018

IATF 16949: 2016

Industry Experts

This is the 167th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” I invite you to ask anything about the above subject. Questions and answers are the lifeblood of learning, and we are all learning. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability and promise to keep personal information confidential.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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