Designing and Conducting Soft Skills & Management TNA

Designing and Conducting Soft Skills & Management TNA

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A Few Thoughts

After over 30 years of designing and conducting different TNAs (Training Needs Analysis), the approaches I take now for a TNA, for either soft skills or senior management has become less and less structured.


Partly because of the VUCA world we live in; for example, a leadership framework designed 5 years ago, can only address some of the needs of a leader today. While leadership frameworks are still very useful; I do not believe they should be the main driver in the TNA process.

The quantitative aspects of the analytical process obviously play a key role, and remain mostly unchanged; the biggest changes are in qualitative research. Whereas “question checklists” still have a place in one on one interviews, the “old fashioned” probing question technique, and blank paper in the right hands is a formidable tool.

A couple of examples of how the humble probing question technique can help the TNA, example one, time management: most time management programs are about setting priorities and simple self-organization, when if you explore the real problem is the person completing the task, often does not have a good dialogue with the task assigner (the boss).

Example two: inspirational leadership, is the most common leadership competency identified for development, the challenge is no competency framework can determine all dimensions, it requires a skilled L&D professional to find out the real/specific needs, again this can only be done by questioning (blank paper and probing), not a questionnaire.  

A final word, or thought, change is constant, how have you changed your TNA process?

Garry Howell

October 14, 2019   

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