Training Needs Analysis from Brefi Group

Training Needs AnalysisTraining Needs Analysis (TNA) is an essential first step in management development. If you wish to achieve the greatest improvement in performance and best value from your investment in training, development, practical experience or networking, you should first undertake a comprehensive training needs analysis. This will form the basis for designing a cost effective management or talent development programme. Training needs analyses can incorporate a 360° feedback survey, or an analysis of current corporate needs. For senior individuals an intensive interview programme, including work shadowing can be justified.

How do you design a TNA?

First set your context. Before starting on a training needs analysis, it is desirable to carry out an audit of the current situation, desired changes in job or responsibility, and probable technological and organisational developments. This will provide the information needed to determine what is required of the individual, team or organisation.

Then you can determine performance standards in terms of skills, contacts and practical experience. There are many published management competencies and standards for directors that can be helpful here. You will find many useful forms and questionnaires in our learning resources section.

Simple questionnaires help you identify where individuals stand on a range of competences in management, corporate governance and director behaviour, and corporate culture. Both the process of answering the questions, and the feedback will contribute to self awareness, especially if the results include contributions from line manager, peers and direct reports. The training need is the difference between the current performance and the required performance.

Brefi Group can help you design a training needs analysis and also provide the tools and administration for an independent confidential exercise. As well as interview and paper based systems, we provide on-line computer based systems. This is particularly helpful as the number of candidates increases.

360° feedback surveys

A 360° feedback survey helps the organisation obtain quality information about performance and relationships by posing a set of standard questions to an individual's line manager, peers and direct reports. This all around (360°) approach identifies any variation of behaviour in different roles and minimises personal bias. The information can be collected on paper forms or using computer systems; the print-out in either case acts as a third party report which managers or coaches and their clients can discuss in a non-emotional manner.

Brefi group recommends that a 360° survey should precede any developmental coaching programme. When reviewing an individual it is often best to ask open questions such as: -

  • Keep doing: What are the things which 'name' currently does which help you and which you hope (s)he will continue to do?
  • Do more of: What are the things you would like 'name' to start doing or do more of?
  • Do less of: What are the things which 'name' does which get in the way and which you would like to be done less often?
  • Development needs: What are the areas upon which you feel 'name' should really concentrate in order to improve the managerial performance of the organisation? You may wish to highlight aspects of how (s)he manages or specific objectives or accountabilities which you feel need attention.
  • Personal strengths: What do you see as the key strengths which 'name' brings to his/her job?

This information can then be consolidated by an independent consultant and fed back in a relatively unattributed manner.

Personal interviews

Personal interviews by a trained interviewer who is independent of the organisation is a means of obtaining high quality information about an individual or members of a team. Not only can the interviewer collect standard information, but he/she can ask penetrating questions to identify the reasons for the feedback.

The information can be fed back to the subject in a non-attributable manner, but with much more information, including not only actual quotes but the appropriate voice tone and emphasis of the original quote. If the interviewer is also commissioned to coach the individual or team, this quality information will ensure that real issues are properly dealt with.

Work shadowing

Work shadowing involves a coach spending time with an individual while he or she is carrying out their normal work. The coach sits in on meetings and observes the individual's behaviour in different circumstances. Feedback can then be immediate, or compiled into a formal report. The instant feedback is a valuable part of the coaching process.


Brefi Group designs, develops and licenses coach training programmes for managers who wish to improve their leadership style and for individuals who wish to qualify as professional coaches.

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