I agree with the part about being scared. There may be a management issue where he doesn't feel comfortable about being honest about his own skill set. I just went through a manager change. I couldn't have an honest conversation with my old sup without being punished in some way. It got to the point where I just didn't tell him anything. Especially when it came to admitting and fixing my own short comings.
With my new supervisor its a night and day difference. Evaluate, identify, and fix. No punishment and no problems at all with giving and receiving honest feedback.