How to Become a Corporate Trainer (7 Steps)


Jan 24, 2022 - Rasool Somji

No organisation can afford to stand still, which demands continuous investment in new staff skills and knowledge. Also, by focusing on the ability and confidence of employees, companies underpin their productivity.

For some employers, this means developing in-house corporate trainers. Basically, the most competent and experienced staff are given the ability and authority to pass on their knowledge to colleagues. Either as a full-time post or alongside their other responsibilities.

Other organisations use external, ad hoc, corporate trainers. In that case, vital workforce or management skills enhancement is provided by industry experts who are:

  • Educators
  • Freelance instructors/coaches
  • Representatives of specialist corporate training bodies

Also, some companies that have their own corporate trainers share that expertise with non-competing business partners. For instance, when you buy new machinery and IT, the supply sometimes lends out their corporate trainers to help you bring your workforce up to speed, as quickly as possible.

Reasons to create internal corporate trainers

As a company, the advantages of nurturing your own corporate trainers are many. You can certainly put cost savings high on the list, as they reduce your dependency on external skills training courses and tutors.

This is particularly true if you have a substantial staff turnover or need regular onboarding to get new and seasonal employees fully operational in a seamless way.

When you invest in personnel who upskill colleagues, you can create bespoke learning opportunities for your workforce. As well as having round the clock access to highly versatile and responsive job coaching. Your activities to upskill employees can be organised around shift patterns, differing learning speeds and abilities, and your current business pressures and needs.

Reasons to become a corporate trainer

What about the individuals involved? Why would you want to know how to become a corporate trainer, working internally, freelance or for a training provider?

If you're being nurtured to do this role in-house – part or full time - it adds to your value as an employee. It can also be a way of continuing to do something you are passionate about while passing on insights and abilities to colleagues.

Salaries for corporate trainers vary, as the niches involved are highly diverse. You could be in-demand to upskill global business leaders or work within an in-house HR team to support colleagues.

Wherever you are based as a corporate trainer, it can be a rewarding task. There's a great deal of job satisfaction when coaching others to improve their abilities and confidence, and in turn, building an employer's competitiveness and profitability.

As it's such an attractive proposition for individuals – and for companies - here are seven steps to becoming a corporate trainer.

1. Choose and research your specialism

Though a corporate trainer is more of a generalist than some types of training professionals, you still need a niche. It's impossible to be all things to all people, and be successful in your post.

This video features a software developer who discovered his passion to be a Technical Corporate Trainer.

Other examples include being a corporate trainer in lean manufacturing techniques. Or, you could be based within an educational institution or training provider specialising in leadership skills.

The important thing is to choose a field in which you can demonstrate practical abilities and knowledge, and the skills needed to pass those along to colleagues or clients.

You should also research the training methods and systems appropriate to your specialist area.

How would a corporate trainer deliver skills enhancement? It depends on the requirements of your business area but it could mean providing support with:

  • Training course development
  • One to one sessions with key team members
  • Small groups of employees in a meeting room
  • Across multi-staff workshops and seminars off-site
  • On the job guidance and tuition in real-time
  • Intranet resources for eLearning
  • Virtual coaching and tuition online

You may also need to travel nationally or internationally if you are a corporate trainer involved in onboarding, acquisitions, mergers and business development.

Make sure you understand the requirements of the area you hope to specialise in.

2. Develop communications skills

Whichever specialism you choose, there is one universal skill needed for corporate trainers. You must be an effective communicator. Including constructive listening skills, great business writing abilities and the acumen in delivering presentations that people engage with.

There's a big gap between being brilliant at your niche and being brilliant at passing along skills and knowledge to other people!

It's highly recommended that you find business communication courses that develop your competence in public speaking and writing for business. Including the best ways to deliver presentations online.

Even if you are largely producing online learning materials or conducting one-to-one coaching, the ability to deliver presentations successfully is vital. It will win you contracts, or ensure your employer invests in your role.

3. Continuous professional development

Finding the best communications courses online runs alongside all the other training you will need as a corporate coach, mentor and educator. It's best not to assume existing skills set you up for continued success as a trainer in your speciality.

You will be expected to constantly update your knowledge and abilities. This is especially true if you are in a specialist niche and need to demonstrate an understanding of the latest advances, legislation and industry changes, for example.

Consider whether sector qualifications or a university degree would add to your credibility as a corporate trainer.

4. Enhance your CV / Resume and value

Embarking on advanced business communications training – and professional development in your specialist area – are important to building your profile as a corporate trainer.

However, there are other things you can do to make you more 'employable' or attractive to new clients. For example, you could join industry bodies and trade associations, to network and build your contacts. Are there trade conferences, exhibitions and seminars you can attend, to disseminate what you learn during your training sessions?

Also, would a period of work experience in a specialist area increase your own understanding and value, or do you need a business mentor who enhances the skills you offer to your clients/colleagues?

For instance, if you work in-house, you may enhance your abilities as a corporate trainer if you spend time with customers, suppliers, or other non-competing companies, to better understand their perspectives.

5. Focus on power skill development

This guide to how to become a corporate trainer has already emphasised the importance of advanced business communications skills. Communication is sometimes referred to as a soft skill, but we prefer the term power skill!

There are other attributes classed previously as 'soft skills' that will help you to build a career as a corporate trainer. Including problem-solving and good observational abilities (more on this later).

The power skill you will use every day is emotional intelligence. This refers to managing the emotional and mental responses of your colleagues and clients, not just their physical activities. You will often see it referred to as being empathetic.

It's actually contemporary common-sense! To get the best out of people, you need to have a holistic understanding of their pressures, distractions and concerns. They won't learn from you if you're not able to identify and dismantle any obstacles.

This goes both ways. To show emotional intelligence as a corporate trainer, you need to understand yourself better too. What are your stress triggers and personality traits? How can they be managed better, so you are successful, calm and engaging as a corporate trainer?

Corporate training session

6. Stay alert to your audience responses

As a skilled and empathetic corporate trainer, you are far more likely to be taken seriously by your employer and your audience. However, to be truly effective, you also need to know how to hold the attention of individuals or groups of people throughout training delivery.

This links to the 'power skills' reference above, as one of the most crucial abilities you need, is to be able to 'read a room'. Stay alert to body language and try to gauge when someone is struggling or bored, and not actively flagging that up.

You may need to think on your feet and change the content or delivery of your training to get everyone's attention and ensure they are truly understanding what you're saying.

7. Be willing to check and demonstrate your competence

Lastly in this guide to how to be a corporate trainer, you must be able to show your employer or clients that you provide tangible outcomes. They aren't going to invest in your skills – or award you training contracts – if your effectiveness is not clear and measurable.

The US Association for Talent Development reports that 20 minutes after training, 60% of the learning is forgotten!

Look at ways to check with your trainees that they are still engaged and enthusiastic as your tuition or coaching progresses. You certainly need systems for evaluating their level of understanding after the training is complete.

Looping back to emotional intelligence, there may be times when you have to accept someone needs more of your time and focus, to get to their end goal. If you have strong, empathetic communication skills, you can uncover this without 'blame or shame'. Be ready to modify your content, delivery and follow-up support to meet individual needs.

Taking time to ensure everyone learns at their own pace and achieves a satisfactory outcome, will be greatly appreciated by your employer or client. Making it more likely you get the best references to further build your career as a corporate trainer!