3 Reasons Why ITIL Trainers Don’t Make the Best ITIL Trainers!

So, you’re looking to book an ITIL Foundation course or perhaps an ITIL Intermediate course.  Your desired outcomes, typically in order of importance are likely to be:

  • The insight and understanding the delegates gain from the course
  • Their ability to apply what they’ve learnt to beneficial effect
  • The exam pass rate.

It’s no surprise that these outcomes depend mainly on the trainer leading the course.  The problem is, you don’t get to choose the trainer, only the training organisation.  And the problem with this approach is that many training organisations and certainly the larger ones, use trainers who pretty much do nothing but train.

And here’s the three reasons why ITIL Trainers don’t make the best ITIL Trainers:

  1. Because they do almost no other work than training, they are brilliant at walking the delegates through the syllabus, know every slide off by heart and always keep to time.  Problem is, they struggle to relate the theory to the practice and so the course can be dry and uninteresting and fail to inspire improvement.
  2. Their main objective and sometimes their only measure of success is a high pass rate.  They therefore spend lots of time helping the delegates answer practice questions and sharing their tips for passing the exam rather than discussing how ITIL can improve the value of IT.
  3. They spend most of the training doing the talking.  With little insight into the practical application of the theory, they lack the confidence and expertise to discuss the particular challenges the delegates might be facing with positive suggestions for improvement they could take away with them.

None of which helps meet your primary objectives because research has shown that delegates who simply listen to a trainer and look at slides without having a chance to relate the information to their particular circumstances, retain and understand less than 30% of the information they receive.

Now how would you feel if you knew that the ITIL Trainer assigned to your course was either the only one free, the nearest or the cheapest available?!  Sadly, that’s pretty much how all the large training providers operate, competing only on price.

The best trainers combine training with consultancy.  As consultants, they are continually working with clients to optimise the environment through the use of leading practice.  This working knowledge of leading practice learnt over many years with many different organisations makes two big differences in training:

  1. It gives the trainer the confidence to discuss with the class their own situations and challenges and therefore how ITIL might be applied in their own organisations.
  2. It provides stories, case studies and examples of the practical application of the ITIL theory, helping the delegates relate what they’re learning to their own world and take away ideas for improvement.

At the risk of stating the obvious, consultancy pays more than training, so if there’s consultancy to be done, training will take a back seat.  However, most consultants have quiet times and that’s their opportunity to train.  Therefore, the best training providers will manage their people by blending training and consultancy.

So, when you’re thinking about engaging a training provider, ask them these three questions:

  • Does your organisation provide both training and consultancy?  If not, keep looking.
  • Do your trainers also consult?  If not, keep looking.
  • What percentage of your trainers’ time is spent consulting?  If not at least 25%, keep looking.


Infrassistance is a consultancy and training company specialising in IT service management. We work with organisations of all sizes around the world and in all industry sectors, helping them optimise the management of IT services and the corresponding business benefits.