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Train-the-Trainer: Essentials for Designing, Developing, and Delivering Effective Corporate Training

President Of TrainSmart, Inc.
Train-the-Trainer: The Ultimate Instructor Development Workshop for Corporate Trainers

Take a survey of any training department, and chances are 90% of the staff members never intended to work in corporate training. They were recruited to facilitate training because they were subject matter experts, great presenters, demonstrated initiative, approached work with enthusiasm, and were committed to quality.

These are all excellent criteria for professional trainers, but those qualities alone will not help the most talented person succeed as a training professional. Without a complete appreciation of adult learning principles and how to design content so that the material will “stick” and “engage,” even the brightest, the most enthusiastic, most dedicated professional is going to miss the mark.

Training isn’t rocket science, but it’s also not a slam dunk. Since most trainers never attended a training course for instructors, they try to model what they think a trainer should do.

Many take the college professor approach—emoting that they are the subject matter expert by lecturing for 90% of the time, leaving a few minutes in the end for questions.

Most of us were bored to death in those college lectures, and the actual amount of information learned: is highly questionable. The same result occurs in corporate training sessions where its more presentation style than interactive training.

Others know just enough about training to be dangerous. They know, for instance, that they are supposed to “engage” the audience, so they prepare some questions to ask the group.   However, when they ask the first question, they are met with blank eyes and zipped lips.

Not to be deterred, they try a second question. The result isn’t any different. Stares and silence. The trainer begins to sweat. They don’t know what to do when the participants don’t respond to their plan.

Still, others are unaware they use “verbal fillers”: the ums, the “so’s,” the “you knows,” and the “likes.”  While all of us use the fillers to a degree, it’s a problem when the participants start tracking the number of fillers the trainer says. Too often, the trainer has no idea that these fillers are detracting from their credibility and effectiveness.

Training isn’t just about being a subject matter expert. It’s not just about having a design that on paper should result in an engaging experience. It’s not just about the delivery. It is a three-legged stool. You need to excel at all three of the training legs: design, development, and delivery.  If one leg falls short, the entire training topples.



Our content is mapped to the professional competencies defined by the Internal Board of Certified Trainers (IBCT), the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction ensuring workshop participants focus on training best practices.

With an instructor-to-learner ratio never greater than 10:1, participants who attend TrainSMART’s Train-the-Trainer process receive instruction, feedback, and coaching on the key elements of successful training: design, development, and delivery.

Before the training, we ask participants to select a topic they want to work on throughout the training process.   The participants apply that topic throughout the course to reinforce the key learning objectives and translate concepts into concrete solutions.

Designing A Training Session

Designing a training session is like completing a complicated puzzle. The answer depends on many factors:

The audience. A training for millennials might look very different than a training session exclusively for baby boomers. The audience’s experience, communication styles, and learning preferences can all play a role in the training design.

Adult learning principles. Regardless of the audience, participants in TrainSMART’s Train-the-Trainer course all experience the power of incorporating adult learning principles into their design. These principles are the foundation of every single training.

The platform. Is it face-to-face training, a virtual training session, computer-based training, or on-the-job training?

The need.  What must the learner achieve by the end of the training versus what would be nice to know?

The available time.  A training session that can occur over five days will look very different than a training session that is limited to four hours in the morning.

The instructional strategies. The approach the trainer selects to teach a concept or process includes but is not limited to group activities, teach-backs, discussions, games, and assessments.

As participants work through the Train-the-Trainer process we make sure they are always keeping the end in mind. What does the final training look like? What must it achieve? Who is it for?


If you think of the design as the blueprint for the training, then the development phase is all the tools required to make the training come alive.  As part of the Train-the-Trainer course participants is introduced to the best practices regarding the material needed for a successful training program. These can include but are not limited to facilitator and participant guides, job aids, PowerPoint decks, training checklists, forms, and third-party tools to increase participation, engagement, and learning.


When you tell students that part of the Train-the-Trainer process includes being videotaped three times, their first reaction is typically groaning. No one likes the camera, but it is one of the most effective ways to help trainers strengthen their skills and learn how to deliver a training session that exhibits the qualities they want their audience to see in them.

Because the delivery of the material is as important as the design and development, it is critical for participants to appreciate that their delivery is directly linked to how well participants will learn the material. In this course, participants explore how the use of their voice, body language, their eye contact, and even their smile play a role in the overall success of a training program.

Throughout the three rounds of videotaping, participants receive instructor and peer-to-peer feedback.  They receive coaching on areas they need to focus on during the Train-the-Trainer. They receive strategies on how to continue improving the areas of delivery that would benefit from continued work.


Public vs. Private Workshops

TrainSmart offers two distinct approaches to this instructor training course. Both can be held either on-site or in a virtual environment.

Private Workshops:

For organizations that have five to ten employees (subject matter experts, trainers, managers, and supervisors), TrainSmart works with your team to customize the content. We have the flexibility to take a deep dive into the areas that are most relevant to your team, and a lighter touch on areas that may not be relevant. In these private workshops:

  • The client’s materials can be applied throughout the session
  • Client templates and processes can be integrated throughout the training

Public Workshops:

These are ideal for organizations that have one or two people that would benefit from attending a skills development course for corporate trainers. These public workshops are held coast to coast. More than fifty sessions are held throughout the year.  Like private workshops, public workshops are limited to ten participants.

As long as a participant’s material is not confidential, they are welcome to use a work-related topic to practice their skills and apply their learning of the various steps in designing, developing, and delivering a training session.


TrainSmart’s three-day Train-the-Trainer Course is the only face-to-face workshop in the United States that the prestigious International Board of Certified Trainers (IBCT) recognizes as part of their certification process. People who complete this Train-the-Trainer process may apply for IBCT Certification. The IBCT is an international leader in setting the criteria and pace of excellence in training.

Once the certification is approved, the participant will be able to add their certification designation in their signature line – a designation that everyone who receives an email from them will see.

Certification increases the credibility and trust in the trainer.  It opens up opportunities— some global industries require certification for their trainers, and potentially, certification can increase earnings.

Over the past 25 years, more than 65,000 people have taken this instructor training course. It is highly interactive, engaging, and fun.

2023 Dates
3-Day Train-the-Trainer


Enroll In TrainSMART's 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course In San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA
April 19 – 21, 2023
July 11 – 13, 2023
September 6 – 8, 2023


Enroll In TrainSMART's 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course In Orlando, FL

Orlando, FL
January 18 – 20, 2023
June 14 – 16, 2023
October 4 – 6, 2023
November 8 – 10, 2023


Enroll In TrainSMART's 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course In Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN
March 28 – 30, 2023
May 17 – 19, 2023
September 19 – 21, 2023
November 1 – 3, 2023



Enroll In TrainSMART's 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course In Austin, TX

Austin, TX
February 22 – 24, 2023
May 24 – 26, 2023
July 19 – 21, 2023
October 25 – 27, 2023


Enroll In TrainSMART's 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, GA
February 7 – 9, 2023
April 12 – 14, 2023
July 10 – 12, 2023
December 13 – 15, 2023


Enroll In TrainSMART's 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course In Nashville, TN. Learn how to deliver and design training.

Nashville, TN
February 15 – 17, 2023
April 19 – 21, 2023
July 26 – 28, 2023
October 18 – 20, 2023


Enroll In TrainSMART's 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course In Nashville, TN. Learn how to deliver and design training.

Norfolk, VA
February 7 – 9, 2023
May 9 – 11, 2023
July 19 – 21, 2023
October 11 – 13, 2023


Chicago, IL
March 14 – March 16, 2023
May 3 – 5, 2023
August 2 – 4, 2023
November 28 – 30, 2023


Enroll In TrainSMART's 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course + Certification In Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
January 23 – 25, 2023
March 8 – 10, 2023
October 18 – 20, 2023
December 6 – 8, 2023


Miami, FL
March 1 – 3, 2023
August 9 – 11, 2023
November 15 – 17, 2023
December 6 – 8, 2023



Charlotte, NC
April 3- 5, 2023
June 21 – 23, 2023
September 26 – 28, 2023
November 1 – 3, 2023



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