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Forbes Coaches Council

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.

Leadership skills aren’t stagnant. Different generations moving in and out of the workforce dictate changes to the ways people lead.

This is one reason leaders need to be constantly updating their skills. If you’re wondering what skills have come into play lately for the modern leader, read on for insights from 13 professional coaches of Forbes Coaches Council.


From left to right: Leslie Mizerak, Irvine Nugent, MaryAnne Gillespsie, Rey Castellanos, Adrienne Tom, Linette Montae, Maureen Metcalf, Gia Ganesh, John O’Connor, Michelle Tillis Lederman, Jody Michael, Shauna C. Bryce, Steffan Surdek. All photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Executive Presence 

Executive presence is a relatively new leadership concept. It is a must for CXOs as well as their direct reports. Executive presence is more than charisma; it shows up in how leaders trust and are trusted, how leaders communicate, how leaders develop strategy, and how leaders carry themselves under pressure. Executive presence can be developed through thoughtful and actionable development.   – Leslie Mizerak, Lead Coach Mentor, LLC

2. Resiliency 

Over the past decade, the pace of change and the growing complexity of the business environment has increased dramatically. Leaders often find themselves overworked and overwhelmed in response to these challenges. Building up their resilience is an essential skill set. Resilient leaders are able to manage personal and organizational anxiety effectively and exude calm and confidence.   – Irvine Nugent, Sonos Leadership

3. Culture Management

Since 2014. the word “culture” has been a top trending word on People are looking for bigger purpose, more involvement in communities, excitement to walk through the doors, and something to be proud of. Leaders have to have the skill of creating culture, maintaining it, and growing it. Check out Zappos for an example. They have a “culture book” called The Fool Rules.   – MaryAnne Gillespie, Red Apple Coaching

4. Navigation Of Ambiguity 

Rapidly increasing rates of change and growing complexity has made navigating ambiguity essential in leadership. We’ve begun to see disruptive change in all directions, and leaders must be agile to navigate the ambiguity and stay competitive. Leaders who can remain calm and relaxed and continue to inspire their teams in the face of increasing complexity give their companies a tremendous advantage.   – Rey Castellanos, Feed Your Wolf

5. Hybrid Of Skills 

Versatility across multiple areas of business is proving to be a coveted leadership trait, especially within the C-suite. Gone are the days of singular expertise; businesses covet skill diversity now. The greater the exposure to various job functions, the better leaders can navigate the ever-evolving world of business, climb the career ladder, and take the helm.   – Adrienne Tom, CERM, CPRW, MCRS, Career Impressions

6. Multigenerational Management 

It is now the norm for organizations to have employees ranging from age 16 to 75. And while this scenario is commonplace, managing a multigenerational workforce is quite a challenge. Leaders must be versed in helping employees examine generational stereotypes about their coworkers. Leaders will also be forced to extinguish their own preconceived notions on how to effectively lead a diverse team.   – Linette Montae, Profitable CEO

7. Collaboration 

Because of the increased level of interconnection across boundaries and disaggregation (outsourcing), many problems can only be solved by working across functions and companies. Leaders must know when to collaborate, and how demonstrate the skills required — including clear communication and interpersonal skills when working with others who may have different agendas and perspectives.   – Maureen Metcalf, Metcalf & Associates, Inc

8. Emotional Intelligence 

EI is a new sought-after leadership skill. EI is the ability to be in tune with your own emotions and the emotions of others. All businesses involve some form of communication and relationship management. EI gives us the ability to regulate our emotions and understand one another, thereby bringing out the best in each other and the best possible outcome for the organization.   – Gia Ganesh, Gia Ganesh Coaching

9. Social Media Presence 

Demonstrating restraint, kindness, professionalism and moderation online never used to be a leadership requirement, but I believe it may be one of our most important to set an example at work, at home, and to others who watch what we say and do. Now more than ever, the lines are blurred between our social and professional selves.   – John O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

10. Authenticity 

Leaders used to be able to keep a distance from the masses. Today, confidence and belief in leadership is directly correlated to engagement, productivity and retention. Authenticity is about connecting to all levels of your team, personally and professionally. Access to leadership has been a trend in organizations. Leaders now need to let people see the person behind the curtain, not just the position.   – Michelle Tillis Lederman, Executive Essentials

11. Mastery Of Crucial Conversations 

The ability to engage in crucial conversations, absent from the pervasive authoritarian leadership style of the past, is now recognized as an essential leadership skill. Because emotionally charged conversations can get messy, some leaders still prefer to avoid them, which creates a gap in leadership and can significantly impact employee morale, retention, and the company’s bottom line.   – Jody Michael, Jody Michael Associates

12. Leadership Of Virtual Teams And Independent Contractors 

Hiring professionals, then turning them into a team, has always been a challenge. It’s even tougher when those people will never be in the same room. Yet, it’s not just global businesses that have non-employee team members in different time zones. Now, even local or micro businesses commonly have remote teams of bookkeepers, VAs, SEO specialists and others. They need people who lead virtually.   – Shauna C. Bryce, Bryce Legal Career Counsel

13. Co-Creative Leadership 

In many organizations, management teams do not know how to co-create with their employees. If you want engaged teams, you need to empower team members and be in a position to create change with them instead of for them. The trouble is people do not take time to experience the growing pains associated with learning to collaborate. Co-creative leaders get engaged teams and better results.   – Steffan Surdek, Pyxis Technologies


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