Trainer/Facilitator Selection

To deliver the Leadership Academy, it is important to understand the curriculum design. The Academy is designed to be co-facilitated, whether your agency is delivering it in person or virtually. For successful Academy delivery, trainers should possess specific trainer competencies.

As you plan for the selection of trainers, consider your organization’s capacity to use internal trainers, or the availability of resources if you use external trainers, and how to best build sustainability for your organization to deliver the training to future cohorts. Ideally, all selected trainers (some organizations may choose to use more than two trainers) would be present for the delivery of each Academy classroom session to: 

  • Enhance relationship-building between trainers and between trainers and participants
  • Deepen their understanding of the Leadership Academy as a whole
  • Enhance continuity of learning across modules, i.e., the ability to build on participant discussion from one module to the next

If time and capacity do not allow for all trainers to be present for all modules, we recommend that the lead trainer be present for all modules for consistency and continuity.

Trainer/Facilitator Preparation

The trainer’s role during sessions is to facilitate, coach, support, and reinforce the application of the leadership concepts and topics initially introduced to participants during the online modules. Once trainers are selected, it is helpful to conduct a Trainer Leadership Academy Orientation to provide an overview of all Leadership Academy components and to provide a Trainer’s Planning and Implementation Timeline.

The Leadership Academy Curriculum Walk Through should include all trainers/facilitators and coaches if possible. It is designed with the expectation that all trainers and coaches have reviewed the online modules and curriculum materials (specific to the delivery your agency is utilizing, virtual or in person, as the synchronous sessions are slightly different in the two formats). This provides trainers and coaches maximum exposure to the Leadership Academy curriculum and deepens their understanding and knowledge of the concepts.

To facilitate improvements in trainer preparation for subsequent cohorts, agencies should utilize a Trainer’s Orientation and TOT Curriculum Walk Through Survey to better tailor training and support to your agency’s needs.


*As part of Academy preparation, we recommend completing the CliftonStrengths assessment to enhance participant self-awareness. This is not required, but some activities in Module 1, Fundamentals of Leadership, build on this assessment. If your organization does not have the capacity to purchase CliftonStrengths or opts for a different assessment, you will need to customize some of the trainer curriculum materials to fit your assessment. Please review this example, Predictive Index in Fundamentals of Leadership, to see how one agency customized virtual delivery Leadership Academy materials to fit their assessment.

When using a virtual platform to deliver the Leadership Academy, keep in mind that facilitating skill development in a virtual space is different, as well as the level of engagement the trainer must maintain to maximize interest and learning. When facilitating virtually, trainers need to engage in their own learning to master the platform and all its functionalities before delivering this learning experience.

Trainer/Facilitator Support Role

Ideally, a lead trainer will coordinate support for coaches throughout the Leadership Academy, including for pre-training Readiness Coaching, Leadership Academy Coaching and Post-Coaching. This creates consistent communication between training and coaching support. The lead trainer may decide to co-lead with the certified/lead coach who delivered the Virtual Coaching Learning Program (VCLP) training for specific coaching skill enhancement. The Leadership Academy Coaching Guide is a helpful tool in supporting coaches and an important resource for coaches.

It is important to schedule a monthly support call with coaches. We recommended that early on, these are group calls with all the coaches to maximize group learning. You may decide to rotate or supplement these group calls with individual support calls as needed. Support calls with coaches follow the same continuum of support as the one coaches use with Leadership Academy participants: more prescriptive and directive during pre-training Readiness Coaching as reflected in the Training Readiness Support Agendas. Leadership Academy Coaching and Post-Coaching are less directive and more facilitative in nature and can cover a variety of topics, issues, and successes as reflected in the Monthly Support Topics for Leadership Academy Coaching and Post-Coaching.

It is important to keep in mind confidentiality when you are supporting coaches in a group setting. If you are using a platform like Zoom, coaches can send a private chat to the facilitator who can speak to the specific example or question from the coach generally, without revealing the identity of the participant; this maximizes opportunities for group learning while respecting participant privacy. Alternatively, the facilitator may request that coaches send in questions in advance of the support call to ensure confidentiality in the discussion. When needed, the facilitator should schedule a private session with the coach to speak more freely.