ATD Competency Model

ATD launched an updated competency model in 2014. The ATD Competency Model defines the skills and knowledge required for talent development professionals to be successful now and in the future. It captures changes driven by digital, mobile, and social technology; demographic shifts; globalization; and economic forces.

The ATD Competency Model:

  • defines the latest competencies needed for success across the entire TD industry.
  • provides a professional development roadmap for TD leaders and practitioners.
  • provides the opportunity to align individual and organizational goals against an industry standard backed by research and forward-thinking.

The model emphasizes foundational competencies that are important to everyone in the field and specific areas of expertise (AOEs), which are the specialized knowledge and actions required by specific roles.

View additional resources about the ATD Competency Model here:

Need a printable PDF of the Model? Click here: ATDCompetencyModel-ATDLV.pdf

Performance Improvement

(formerly Human Performance Improvement)

Apply a systematic process for analyzing human performance gaps and for closing them.

Key action items include:

  • Identify the customer
  • Conduct performance analysis
  • Conduct cause analysis
  • Analyze systems
  • Gather data
  • Incorporate customer and stakeholder needs
  • Select solutions
  • Manage and implement projects
  • Build and sustain relationships
  • Evaluate results against organizational goals
  • Monitor change

Training Delivery 

(formerly Delivering Training)

Deliver informal and formal learning solutions in a manner that is both engaging and effective.

Key action items include:

  • Manage the learning environment

  • Prepare for training delivery

  • Convey objectives

  • Align learning solutions with course objectives and learner needs

  • Establish credibility as an instructor

  • Create a positive learning climate

  • Deliver various learning methodologies

  • Facilitate learning

  • Encourage participation and build learner motivation

  • Deliver constructive feedback

  • Ensures learning outcomes

  • Evaluate solutions

Evaluating Learning Impact

(formerly Measuring and Evaluating)

Use learning metrics and analytics to measure the impact of learning solutions.

Key action items include:
  • Identify customer expectations

  • Select appropriate strategies, research design, and measures

  • Communicate and gain support for the evaluation plan

  • Manage data collection

  • Analyze and interpret data

  • Apply learning analytics

  • Make recommendations to aid decision making

Integrated Talent Management 

(formerly Career Planning & Talent Management)

Build an organization’s culture, capability, capacity, and engagement through people development strategies

Key action items include:

  • Align talent management to organizational objectives

  • Use talent management systems

  • Equip managers to develop their people

  • Organize delivery of developmental resources

  • Promote high-performance workplaces

  • Coordinate workforce and succession planning

  • Facilitate the career development planning process

  • Facilitate career transitions

  • Support engagement and retention efforts

  • Implement individual and organizational assessments

  • Use talent management analytics to show results and impact

Knowledge Management 

(formerly Managing Organizational Knowledge)

Capture, distribute, and archive intellectual capital to encourage knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

Key action items include:

  • Advocate knowledge management

  • Benchmark knowledge management best practices and lessons learned

  • Encourage collaboration

  • Facilitate social learning

  • Establish a knowledge culture

  • Support the development of a knowledge management infrastructure

  • Leverage technology

  • Manage information life cycle

  • Design and implement knowledge management solutions

  • Transform knowledge into learning

  • Evaluate knowledge management success

Instructional Design

(formerly Designing Learning)

Design and develop informal and formal learning solutions using a variety of methods. 

Key action items include:

  • Conduct a needs assessment

  • Identify appropriate learning approach

  • Apply learning theory

  • Collaborate with others

  • Design a curriculum, program, or learning solution

  • Design instructional material

  • Analyze and select technologies

  • Integrate technology options

  • Develop instructional materials

  • Evaluate learning design

Learning Technologies 

(new AOE for ATD Competency Model)

Apply a variety of learning technologies to address specific learning needs.

Key action items include:

  • Use technology effectively across the different areas of expertise

  • Identify when and how to use technology as a training and development solution

Managing Learning Programs 

(formerly Managing the Learning Function)

Provide leadership to execute the organization’s people strategy; implements training projects and activities.

Key action items include:

  • Establish a vision

  • Establish strategies

  • Implement action plans

  • Develop and monitor the budget

  • Manage staff

  • Model leadership in developing people

  • Manage others

  • Manage and implement projects

  • Manage external resources

  • Ensure compliance with legal, ethical, and regulatory requirements


(updated for ATD Competency Model)

Apply a systematic process to improve others’ ability to set goals, take action, and maximize strengths.

Key action items include:

  • Establish coaching agreement

  • Establish trust and intimacy with the client

  • Display coaching presence

  • Demonstrate active listening

  • Ask powerful questions

  • Use direct communication

  • Create awareness

  • Design learning opportunities

  • Develops goals and plans

  • Manage progress and accountability

  • Meet ethical guidelines and professional standards

Change Management 

(formerly Facilitating Organizational Change)

Apply a systematic process to shift individuals, teams, and organizations from current state to desired state.

Key action items include:

  • Establish sponsorship & ownership for change

  • Build involvement

  • Create a contract for change

  • Conduct diagnostic assessments

  • Provide feedback

  • Facilitate strategic planning for change

  • Support the change intervention

  • Encourage integration of change into organizational culture

  • Management consequences

  • Evaluate change results

Business Skills

Be able to:

  • Analyze needs and propose solutions.
  • Apply business skills. 
  • Drive results.
  • Plan and implement assignments.
  • Think strategically.
  • Innovate.

Interpersonal Skills

Be able to:

  • Build trust.
  • Communicate effectively.
  • Influence stakeholders.
  • Network and partner.
  • Demonstrate emotional intelligence.

Global Mindset

Be able to:

  • Accommodate cultural differences.
  • Convey respect for different perspectives.
  • Expand own awareness.
  • Adapt behavior to accommodate others.
  • Champion diversity.
  • Leverage diverse contributions.

Personal Skills

Be able to:

  • Demonstrate adaptability.
  • Model personal development.

Industry Knowledge

Be able to:

  • Maintain own professional knowledge.
  • Keep abreast of industry changes and trends.
  • Build industry sector knowledge.

Technology Literacy

Be able to:

  • Demonstrate awareness of technologies.
  • Use technology effectively.

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