These are the most popular LinkedIn courses for business leaders

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This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Writer, Formative Content


  • LinkedIn has released the top-15 list of training courses chosen by business leaders and managers.
  • Coaching skills, communication around diversity and dealing with hybrid working environments were prominent themes.
  • Investing in reskilling is vital to prevent a mismatch between jobs and the skills they require.

Disruption has become a business buzzword of late with remote working, labour shortages and uncertainty replacing business-as-usual across many industries.

These changes have left some business leaders in uncharted territory, prompting a spike in sign-ups for courses that will give them the skills needed to thrive in this new world of work.

Data from LinkedIn Learning shows business leaders are brushing up on their soft skills, with the top-15 LinkedIn training courses selected covering three key areas.

Many of the most popular courses can be described as developing ‘soft’ communication skills.
Many of the most popular courses can be described as developing ‘soft’ communication skills. Image: LinkedIn

1. Developing coaching, training and caring skills

Effective coaching by managers helps employees learn new skills, build confidence and foster new relationships, while increasing company loyalty.

Courses like Coaching Skills for Leaders and Managers – fourth on the top-15 list of LinkedIn courses – help develop listening skills, patience and positive body language to nurture talent in an organization.

“Building talent has become an essential leadership competency,” says Sara Canaday who leads the course. “Leaders who consistently coach their team members help their organizations grow at unprecedented levels.”

Other of the most-popular coaching courses include Coaching and Developing Employees and Giving and Receiving Feedback.

2. Learning how to lead more inclusive conversations

Diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords. Finding an inclusive workplace is a fast-growing priority for candidates seeking employment, according to LinkedIn.

Courses like Skills for Inclusive Conversations, Starting a Memorable Conversation, and Communicating the Language of Leadership help business leaders develop the skills needed to acknowledge people’s differences, establish ground rules and build respect for differing viewpoints.

“These conversations can be difficult,” says Mary-Frances Winters who leads the Skills for Inclusive Conversations course, “because we have been mostly taught not to talk about such topics as race, religion, or politics – especially at work. So it stands to reason that we might not have the skills to do so effectively”.

3. Learning how to project an executive presence in hybrid working environments

The single most-popular LinkedIn course for business leaders is Executive Presence on Video Conference Calls.

Remote working has changed how people interact, with a new set of rules for video calls. Being in front of the camera rather than interacting in person can leave some executives feeling insecure or under more scrutiny.

Along with wardrobe, environment and technical advice, the course helps executives become verbally more expressive and engaging as well as develop positive body language. While the course can’t provide meeting content, it will help executives show themselves in a positive light during video calls.

These and other courses can help business leaders develop new skills to adapt to changing circumstances, such as those brought on by seismic shocks like the pandemic. But the benefits of reskilling stretch much further.

The benefits of reskilling

Even before the pandemic, AI, automation and other technologies were transforming our daily lives, a momentum that demands a more technically able workforce with skills that are in short supply.

The rate of technological change has caused a disconnect between current education programmes and the skills employers will need both now and in future. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 predicts that half of all employees around the world will need to be reskilled by 2025.

Another World Economic Forum report, Upskilling for Shared Prosperity 2021, makes the economic case for investment in reskilling programmes to avoid a mismatch between job vacancies and the skills needed to do them.

Investing in upskilling programmes could add $6.5 trillion to global GDP by 2030.
Investing in upskilling programmes could add $6.5 trillion to global GDP by 2030. Image: PwC

Modelling shows that accelerated wide-scale investment in upskilling to close the skills gap could add $6.5 trillion to global GDP by 2030, using 2019 as a baseline. Reskilling would help match skills with jobs, boosting global productivity by 3% on average by the end of the decade, the report predicts.

Reskilling could generate up to a 7.5% increase in China’s GDP by 2030.
Reskilling could generate up to a 7.5% increase in China’s GDP by 2030. Image: PwC

Less developed economies and countries with wider skills gaps would see the biggest gains as a percentage from GDP from investing in reskilling programmes. China could see up to a 7.5% GDP boost, for example, while countries like the US, India, Spain and the UK could also reap high rewards.

Programmes like the World Economic Forum’s Reskilling platform; launched at the Annual Meeting in Davos 2020, aim to bring together policymakers, business leaders, online learning platforms and civil society organization to address the global skills gap and provide better education, skills and jobs for 1 billion people by 2030.

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