It is tough to shop on behalf of someone else. I like garish jumpers, but I know they’re not for everyone. My Grandmother, for instance, certainly wouldn’t appreciate receiving a sweater embellished with a deer in a bowtie.

Christmas giftThe same challenges can hold true for Learning and Development managers or HR teams looking for training for people in their organisation. While people in these roles will be familiar with booking training for a broad range of subjects, if you’re not acquainted with a topic you can miss asking key questions that others may consider very important.

Typically, the issues of price, flexibility, value for money, dates and whether a course is delivered online or in a classroom will be applicable to all courses on all topics.

Here, we’d like to explain a little more about the nitty-gritty of specifically what to look for in a Lean Six Sigma course, when it’s not you that’s taking the training.

Levels of training

There are several levels of training for Lean Six Sigma, which can be confusing as they have unusual names.

What is important to know, is that Green and Black Belts are the levels that will take a practical role in Business Improvement, with the next step up, Master Black Belt, training and mentoring them.

Yellow Belt is an introductory level and provides a base understanding that is useful for those working closely with, or on projects with, Green and Black Belts.

Champion and Sponsor training helps those in supervisory and management roles to help the Green and Black Belts perform their project work smoothly by providing time, resources and support. You can read about the Belt levels in more detail here.

Practical application

One of the best ways to learn any skill is to put it into practise, that’s well known. However, Lean Six Sigma training that does not involve the practical application of the skills you are learning will not be very effective.

This is because – as well as providing a collection of Business Improvement tools -Lean Six Sigma is about changing your mindset and understanding where and how to look for improvements.

Look for training that involves games and application of real-world examples on the course, but also involves an element of training when the delegate returns to work. This last part is crucial, as delegates who do not apply their learning as soon as possible after any training course are likely to forget many of the key lessons by the time they do come to use it.

And forgetting your training means you’re not getting good value for money.

Project work

Projects are the way in which Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belts make improvements at their company or place of work. A good Lean Six Sigma course will ensure that delegates are fully prepared to undertake project work, and will guide them through the process first time.SIPOC

Be wary of Lean Six Sigma training that is based in theory and requires just a written exam and no project work – although this is technically Lean Six Sigma training, the capability of the delegate to carry out a project on their own unsupervised or unsupported will be very limited.

Good training requires delegates to complete a project in order to certify. Which brings me neatly onto the next topic…


There is no central governing body for Lean Six Sigma training, so when delegates are certified it is usually by the company that provided the training. For this reason, the process for certification is not standardised and two providers claiming to offer certification may be offering courses with the same name that deliver completely different competency levels.

Look for an organisation that provides what is considered the industry best practice for Lean Six Sigma certification. This is the same approach used by Motorola and GE; the companies where Lean Six Sigma has its foundations.

This usually involves delegates completing every day of the training course (or all modules for online training), passing a written exam and then completing a project using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) methodology. Green Belts must submit at least one project, and Black Belts must submit two, that is completed to the end of the Control phase and clearly illustrates their understanding and application of Lean Six Sigma.

We’ve got a great Lean Six Sigma provider comparison tool which you can download and use for free, with no obligation. Use it to find the Lean Six Sigma training provider that best meets your personal requirements.

Find out more about our Lean Six Sigma training courses here.

Or for Six Sigma training, click here.