How leadership coaching upskills leaders and managers effectively for emerging needs

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There’s demand industry-wide for leadership and soft skills. Trouble is, it’s really hard to truly learn nuanced, soft skills of leadership or conflict resolution, from watching passive content. Ultimately, our most human of skills are best learned…human to human.

Educational institutions haven’t adequately prepared managers to manage in volatile times — they are great at instilling knowledge, which is most relevant in stable environments. In times of advancement and uncertainty, that knowledge is insufficient.

For the world’s top organizations, this has left them with the responsibility of developing the soft skills and leadership traits required to deal with these times…

We are the beneficiary of The American Dream gone right.

First written and shared with the Degreed team in November 2015.


I wanted to express my gratitude for Degreed. Behind Degreed, behind the story of Degreed, you will find so much of what makes America special.

Degreed wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my parents. My father came from humble beginnings and dedicated his life to his family, working to provide a better means of life for his family than he had, and teaching us the value of hard work.

Degreed wouldn’t be here if not for mine and others’ formal education — public school and private university…

Soft-skilled students + in-demand hard skills = talent for employment outcomes

from Podium Education Data Science course with Robert Alvarez, PhD —

Podium Education believes that colleges should provide every one of their students with a direct path to a great career. To achieve that, they’ve built online programs that instill “soft-skilled students with the in-demand hard-skills that lead to great employment outcomes.”

I had crossed paths with the Podium team back when they had created academic programs for waitlisted students to backfill dropouts. They’ve evolved. Now they develop online programs, blending Silicon Valley with academia with Hollywood, and partner with academic institutions, universities, and colleges to deliver that content to improve student outcomes. In a COVID world, their timing was good.

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$5,250. That’s how much your company can claim annually as a tax credit after reimbursing employee education, known as corporate tuition reimbursement. But companies typically have only a 3-5% take rate on these programs.

If the Economic Forum number is right that 75 million jobs will be displaced by 2022 alone, it means many employees will need to reskill, starting right now.

How to reskill or upskill in the system we already have

One way to move up in a company is to become more valuable. To do that, you may need to reskill or upskill. Corporate reimbursement programs are an underutilized approach to achieve exactly that. Why aren’t employees taking…

Apprenticeship-based learning

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We started a school focused on providing apprenticeships for our students, in creating and launching BookClub Jr., part of I am a dad of three and my oldest is 50% through her K12 education. I didn’t want to blink and have become the cobbler whose kids didn’t own shoes — that’s what made all this a reality.

Here’s an update on our progress.

What the students like about school

Here are a few things they’ve said they like about it so far.

  • autonomy: homework can be done on your own time
  • flexibility: time-boxed activities; you control how you spend your time (learning time management)
  • different…

But you have to understand the incentives

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The apprentice model can work in America. And more of us should be trying it. But you have to understand, it’s about incentives. For example, you must be able to answer: How do you involve a 13-year-old in your business in a non-exploitative way? And how will that meaningfully help that 13-year-old and my business?

That’s not so easy to answer, although companies have tried. In the past, business models that attempted to make apprenticeships happen realized it doesn’t work to first make the partnerships and then ask people to take these students on as apprentices. …

Time must be allocated to learning

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Your colleague calls and invites you to happy hour on Thursday. You tell him thanks but you can’t because you’re in the middle of your Wharton Business School Executive Learning. “No worries,” he says, “that’s interesting.”

Next year, the same colleague invites you again, and this time you also already have a prior commitment — you’re learning data science on your own — so you can’t join him. He has a different response: “C’mon, you’re putting data science ahead of our relationship?”

Why the different reaction?

Unfair, but it’s about permission in informal learning.

What kind of permission?

Informal learning’s problem is that it…

Cynt Marshall & Simon Sinek with keynotes on employer education, skills, and the future of work

When we went into enterprise, a lot of people congratulated me on a successful pivot. What they don’t appreciate is: That was always anticipated.

Our demo day video — which is still on our Degreed homepages and marketing pages — reveals that yes we always intended this. Going into enterprise was part of that playbook.

Degreed | Demo Day — Sept 11, 2013

We pursued that with clarity and tenacity and it has added up to this.

How to Join Degreed LENS 2020

We’re so excited about the Degreed LENS event this year. Our keynotes this year will be Cynt Marshall and Simon Sinek who I…

Developing author-led book clubs from the ground up

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In a society which emphasizes teaching, children and students — and adults — become passive and unable to think or act for themselves. Creative, active individuals can only grow up in a society which emphasizes learning instead of teaching.

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander

New good and even great books are published every day, but the lessons and learning in those books aren’t fully realized nor manifested. Why? Because unlocking the power of a book is hard.

Ever since books were written, people have gathered to discuss them. To debate the ideas that struck in a business guide…

On creating a common and universal language for skills

What if every time you applied for a job or moved between companies the recruiters or your new team already understood — in a clear and detailed fashion — what you knew and what skills you had? But not only that. Imagine they already could see the depth of your knowledge and comprehend the level of your skills and sub-skills? This way, they might better understand how to fit you into their organization and carry on a better conversation together about what contributions you might make alongside the people already there.

A System of Record for Skills & Education

Degreed is fast becoming the system of record for…

David Blake

Co-founder & Executive Chairman of Degreed and managing partner of The Future of Work Studios.

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