10 Trainer Skills You Need (+ Challenges Trainers Face & How To Solve Them)

Wuraola Ademola-Shanu
April 24, 2023
min read
September 19, 2023
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It’s important for trainers to continually upgrade their skills. So we've listed the top skills every trainer should possess and update, including the challenges trainers face and solutions for them.
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Benjamin Franklin couldn't be more correct when he said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

It shouldn't be a surprise to see the increase in the demand for training — from organizations and individuals. For example, in 2017, the total training expenditure in the U.S. rose to 90.6 billion dollars, increasing about 32.5 percent over the previous year. 

There has also been a four-fold increase in the number of individuals seeking out online learning opportunities on their own initiative, a five-fold increase in employer provision of online learning opportunities to their workers, and a massive nine-fold enrolment increase for learners accessing online learning through government programs.

Developing skills as a would-be trainer (from scratch) can be difficult. However, if you're a trainer looking to update and improve their skills, it is much easier, especially when you know where to start from.

In this article, we'll explore who a trainer is and identify the necessary skills for trainers — if you're looking to achieve a successful career in the training industry.

Dig in!

Who is a trainer? 

A trainer is a specialist responsible for increasing an individual's productivity by teaching new skills and knowledge to them. Trainers use seminars, lectures and exercises to update an individual's or even employees' knowledge. 

What are a trainer's responsibilities?

A trainer does the following (but is not limited to):

  • Evaluate/conduct market research to determine where skills are lacking.
  • Create training programs to address skill gaps in individuals or employees.
  • Schedule appropriate training sessions.
  • Prepare learning materials for programs.
  • Develop onboarding programs for new participants.
  • Plan and implement an effective training curriculum
  • Conduct surveys to gauge the effectiveness of training programs.
  • Oversee and direct seminars, workshops, individual training sessions, and lectures.
  • Research new teaching methods.

What are trainer skills?

Trainers need a specific set of skills to not only help them stand out from the competition but also achieve maximum effectiveness at teaching people. Unlike in the past, the skills for trainers exceed traditional teaching competencies like public speaking and presenting.

Nowadays, trainers must equip themselves with vital skills ranging from problem-solving to active listening skills,  management, communication, and design-thinking skills; amongst others. Since they'll be working with different individuals in different stages of learning and with different needs, trainers need these skills to help them become versatile and flexible.

Below is a detailed list of skills every trainer needs to possess.

1. Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving is a skill for trainers that enables them to recognize issues and fix them with logical, timely, and appropriate solutions. This skill allows trainers to easily deal with a variety of obstacles or unpleasant circumstances during training sessions.

Additionally, problem-solving skills help trainers easily identify individual and common skills,  knowledge gaps, and know how to bridge them together. When you're able to recognize common problems with your audience, you'll be able to plan out your training programs to fit their learning needs.

Therefore, problem-solving skills not only help you during active learning sessions but also enhance the effectiveness of your development programs.

2. Pedagogy

Pedagogy is defined as the art and science of teaching or providing training. It leverages specialized methods and strategies to facilitate learning and effectively optimize your learners and student outcomes.

In simpler terms, you can say pedagogy equips you with knowledge on how best to teach effectively.

There are many different approaches to pedagogy, and what works best will depend on the individual learner, the learning context, and the specific goals to be achieved. Therefore, there are different methods you need to use since different people will learn differently. These learning styles include: 

  • Interactivity: This learning style enables people to learn best via activities such as group tasks and team activities.
  • Listening: This learning method allows your students to learn best and absorb knowledge from just sitting and listening to you.
  • Seeing: With this method, your students learn best through seeing things, especially when they're visually appealing. It could be seeing PowerPoint slides, viewing printed materials or seeing something on video.

Since there are different ways in which we best absorb information and learn and oftentimes, you must use different learning styles to teach if you want to excel in your profession.

🔥 Scribe top tip: Incorporate activities, visuals and group discussions into your verbal teaching.

3. Communication skills

While communication skills are important in any field; however, they are particularly important for trainers. After all, you need to be able to convey information clearly and concisely so that your audience can understand and apply what they have learned from you.

In lieu of this, below are important communication skills every trainer needs:

  • Listening: You need to be able to listen attentively in order to understand your trainees’ needs and concerns, what they do and don’t understand, and how you can direct the training. Understanding your trainees enables you to provide the best and most appropriate training possible for your learners.
  • Speaking: Apart from active listening skills, you should be able to give clear and concise instructions. This will ensure that your learners understand your lessons without confusion and implement what was taught easily. 

4. People management skills

The ability to build rapport with your trainees is one key skill every trainer must possess. Having great people management skills enables your trainees to be more comfortable and receptive to the training you're providing.

Additionally, it's important to note that emotional intelligence is a vital people management skill to develop. It's particularly useful because it empowers you with the following:

  • How to put people at ease.
  • How to be empathetic toward other people.
  • How to get on well with other people.
  • How to/strategies for providing constructive feedback.
  • How to manage difficult people and situations.
  • How to be open towards others and be interested in other people.
  • How to be supportive and assertive.

5. Time management skills

As a trainer, time management skills are needed to be successful. Being able to effectively manage your time ensures that your training sessions are productive and efficient. 

Simply put, effective time management can improve the quality of your training sessions and deliver exceptional results that meet the needs of your trainees. It can also reduce stress for yourself and your audience.

Good time management helps you achieve the following:

  • Meet deadlines.
  • Be more organized.
  • Avoid last-minute rushes and stress.
  • Prioritize tasks and priorities.
  • Schedule and plan training sessions effectively.
  • Allocate adequate time for each project.

6. Coaching skills

Being a great coach helps you guide trainees to find the answers themselves, rather than necessarily directly teaching them. Therefore,  while handling certain topics, you'll need to act as a "facilitator" instead of a teacher.

7. Feedback skills

Feedback skills allow you to determine whether or not your trainees are absorbing what you are teaching them, whether they are progressing as they should, if they are enjoying the training or the opposite; or whether they aren't achieving the expected results required of them.

🔥 Scribe top tip: Ask for feedback towards the end of the training to give participants enough time to complete the feedback. Additionally, consider making the feedback system anonymous to increase the chance of receiving valuable feedback, as the participants will be able to give feedback without any concern over being identified.

8. Adaptability skills

As a trainer, you should be prepared for all kinds of unexpected challenges and problems during your training programs. When you have an adaptive mindset, it helps you to easily adjust to changes or unforeseen events, be open to new or improved ideas, methods, and approaches — and equip you to achieve and unlearn specific approaches and procedures in order to explore new possibilities. 

9. Organization & leadership skills

Being a trainer means you must be able to manage your daily tasks and remain calm under high-stress situations. Not only will these skills help you achieve clarity about your daily goals; but they would also help you understand your trainers, and find ways to motivate the spirits of competitiveness and achievement in them.

10. Ability to research & develop the right training material

This trainer skill involves ensuring that your training and skill development methods are relevant, well-researched, and comprehensive.

Developing research skills is vital for finding the right content for your training course. The ability to research will see your trainers gain the foundation of a thoroughly researched knowledge base. 

When creating your training content and sourcing information, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I thorough with the quality of the sources I'm getting my content from?
  • Are my sources reliable?
  • Is the content relevant to what I'm giving my students?
  • When was this content last updated?

Types of training

The two most common types of training are internal and external training methods. However, there is technical and business management training as well. So, in this section, we'll explore each training type, highlight their pros and cons, and when best to use them 

Internal training:

Internal training uses the company's own trainer (most likely an L&D employee) to develop and deliver specific types of training to its employees.


  • Internal training is cost-effective, informal, and improves a company's current training methods and employee communication 
  • It helps employees easily understand and follow their trainers' teachings due to workplace familiarity.
  • A senior team member training junior team members can help to build relationships and a team dynamic. Additionally, the senior employee can learn something new from their junior employee.
  • Internal training also reinforces the trainer's knowledge and helps them to find any gaps in it.


  • Since it's an "inside job," internal training can limit the scope of "out-of-the-box" skills presented during training — and ultimately narrow the perspective of the organization.
  • It could increase the chances of employees being distracted by colleagues or feeling compelled to complete other tasks — since it's a fellow colleague offering the training.

External training

Also known as outsourced training, external training is conducted by trainers from outside a company. They may be someone your company already has a relationship with or an industry expert who can share the latest trends to help your staff stay ahead of the competition.


  • External training allows employees to be taken out of their comfort zone — hence, compelling them to find new solutions or approaches to doing things.
  • It also gives teams the chance to learn from industry experts, snap out of their "tradition is the only way" mentality and view things from a different perspective.
  • It also future-proofs your team’s and business's knowledge because they’re learning from someone whose job it is to pay attention to industry trends.


  • External training is more expensive than in-house training.
  • It can also take longer to organize since most excellent trainers are busy people.
  • With external training, sessions or courses are often limited to a certain number of slots, or only open for sign-ups a few weeks a year. This could pose a problem for individuals or employees looking to take certain courses at a particular time or duration.

Business management training

This type of training includes the development of interpersonal skills as well as project management skills to help employees perform their duties effectively. Business management training is often termed "people skills" because of its broad application and transferable characteristics.

Technical training

Referred to as "hard skills," technical training is provided for job-specific skills. Because of the nature of technical knowledge, both internal and external training programs can be applied to technical training.

For example, internal training can be used to formalize the existing knowledge and training of an organization's employees. External training, on the other hand, offers individuals or employees the opportunity to think outside the box.

Regardless, There's no wrong way to train. However, you should choose techniques based on the lesson and trainees. Sometimes, the best type of training could be a combination of internal and external training — or technical and business management training. 

A mix of all training methods could be advantageous to your trainees as it exposes them to each type; while also learning the invaluable skills and knowledge to be gained from them.

5 Challenges trainers face in creating effective training materials

Trainers, irrespective of location or industry, face similar challenges, especially when you are just establishing your training program, and can be parsed down into a few key considerations.

So, what are the most common challenges trainers face when creating effective training materials? Let's explore some below:

1. Lack of variety in the learning format

To make training a wholesome experience for participants, different elearning formats should be incorporated.  For example, the use of visual and interactive elements like screen recordings, annotated texts, images, videos, charts, or even audio can help learners grasp and assimilate training easily.

2. Lack of automation for quiz delivery

When manually deploying quizzes, most trainers tend to forget the scheduled rollout; hence,  causing delays in the users’ learning.  A great way to solve this problem is to automate training deployment so that trainers won’t have to manually send them.

3. Keeping trainees engaged

Keeping participants engaged throughout a training session or for the entire training period can be a major training challenge. However, don't give up just yet!

For example, there are different ways to engage your students. It could be via gamification or using interactive elements to keep them engaged — without losing sight of assessing their competency.

4. Boring course templates

Being a trainer (even if you're a super busy one) would mean being a "jack of all trades at some skills."

Creating a course from scratch can be very tiring and monotonous. And for visual participants? Using plain and boring course templates could be all they need to get unmotivated. 

Therefore, to ensure that learners are engaged, your course must be visually appealing and interactive. 

5. Absence of process documentation

Imagine teaching students every month or year without having a central platform or database where all your courses are kept and secured. Or say you just wing it when it comes to your topics or have to answer each trainee's questions every time they ask, irrespective of whether you've just answered that question a few seconds ago or during the last training program.

Frustrating, right? You bet!

So, what can you do? Document every process! Process documentation not only ensures that all of your training information is standardized, consistent, and easily shareable; but also helps you minimize errors and achieve the consistency your trainees are looking for.

Luckily, you don't have to search the nooks and crannies of the internet for the best process documentation software. 😁😁

*Enter Scribe!* 🥳🥳🥳

With Scribe, all you have to do is simply turn on the recorder, and voila! Watch Scribe automatically create step-by-step visual guide — complete with text, annotated screenshots and links — in seconds! 

Instead of constantly spending a huge chunk of time answering "how do I…?" questions, Scribe will help you:

  • Turn your digital processes into step-by-step guides, complete with text and screenshots — and other visual elements you like.
  • Empower your trainees to learn processes. 
  • Fill gaps in any formal training programs.
  • Reduce the time it takes to create a process doc for your training content.
  • Improve process consistency across your training program.
  • Automatically redact sensitive information.
  • Quickly answer “How do I…?” for your trainees.
  • Boost onboarding and adoption for new participants.
  • Deliver high-quality documentation and visuals.
  • Replace or support live training with on-demand training content.
  • Create training templates instead of doing them from scratch.

Basically, there's a Scribe for anything you want to do. Don't just take our word for it. See what fellow trainers like you said about Scribe:😎

(Source: Twitter)

(Source: G2)

(Source: G2)

Still not convinced? We've got you!

Check out:

Hayden Kerr, an IT Manager at SynzEzy, who uses Scribe to create amazing training docs and combines Scribe with some of your favorite tools and Danim Ahmed, Principal at Beacon Benefits, also uses Scribe to quickly and efficiently roll out training programs.

Ready to create your next training doc? Sign up for free and watch Scribe create your training content ready in seconds!

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