Business Training Trends in 2011

Here is my subjective take on what will be hot and what will be err…not, in business training in 2011. I’d take these training trends with a pinch of salt as my bias is very evident – other opinions are very welcome.

12 “Hot” Training Trends in 2011


How can training providers prove that what they are doing is no a waste of time and money? As budgets are squeezed yet further this will be increasingly important. I have mixed feeling about this as some things are very hard to measure yet well worth working with, and it could make training limited and reductionist; however for the most part I’m happy with this trend as as trainers we need to be in integrity that what we are selling works. In business terms training is always an investment and should always cost less than £0 net in the long-term.

E-Learning that Doesn’t work

Sadly the pressure on budgets will continue to encourage people to buy e-learning that doesn’t work. It’s OK for passing on information, but this is only one very limited type of learning. Don’t be fooled by the flashing lights!

Adult Development

Promoted by Ken Wilber’s Integral Model adult development has started to catch on in training and development. There are not just types of people in training (e.g. Myers Briggs) but also sequential movement along growth hierarchies. See for example Spiral Dynamics, Kegan or Torbert.

Embodied Training

Ok, so I’m really biased on this on 🙂 but I have seen a definite growth in the number of providers offering training that involves the embodied whole person for leadership, stress management, communication training and team building. See for example Roffey Park, The Beyond Partnership and Physical Intelligence. Why? Because it goes deep quickly, sticks and is as interactive as it gets.

Values-Led Leadership

Values-led approaches to leadership development such as Servant Leadership and Covey are coming of age as business admits there are multiple bottom-lines and people get tired of the old ways that got us into the recession. About bloody time.

Change Management

Managing the mess beautifully rather than designing perfection will be a trend for 2011, so change management will be central to much training.

Systems Theory

While systems theory has been around for a while and The Fifth Discipline is on any self-promoting management guru’s coffee-table, I see it moving into the mainstream now as the complexity if problems people faces increases.


Replacing dialogues of stress management, resilience will continue to be a buzz-word in 2011. This could be a very positive thing (I work in this area myself in conflict zones) or another plaster over a gaping wound, or a way of shifting the blame for overwhelm and suffering of employes to employees. We will see.

“Not” – Training Trends 2011

Power Point

Just a fervent prayer that trainers move away form show and tell to more interactive and “sticky” methods. Happily I don’t seem alone in this view and the dreaded Power Point is definitely on the wane.


While there are many good quality and ethical NLP practitioners, I have heard many people get tired of “tricks that don’t work or aren’t ethical”. If one more person pulls some inauthentic NLP BS on me in 2011 I will slap them – anchor that.


Like NLP, coaching has started to suffer from the bad press of ill-trained people. Every man and his dog seem to be an “executive coach” these days. happily there are still some quality providers of coach training out there, so maybe it’s just a matter of buyers getting more discerning.

Time Management

Traditional time management has been on the out for a while now and is being replaced by courses which focus on productivity through commitment, energy and attention management in a more holistic manner.

What are you thoughts?


    • Mark Walsh
    • Mark Walsh