Black women in business


As learning and development professionals, your role extends beyond developing technical expertise and other 'hard' skills to cultivating a workforce that is emotionally intelligent, collaborative and excels at communication.  

These 'soft' or interpersonal skills are the cornerstone of thriving teams and organisations, especially in the post-pandemic, hybrid-first working environment.  

And given their strategic importance and commercial necessity, it is clear these skills are anything but soft; this is where Power Skills come in.  

What are Power Skills? 

The term Power Skills has been making its way into the corporate lexicon for several years, perhaps as rebuttal to 'soft' and also to be more encompassing of other attributes that contribute to commercial success.  

Power Skills can be broadly defined leadership, communication, collaboration, empathy, adaptability, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence and include wellness, happiness and sense of purpose amongst others.  

Just take a look at the most in-demand skills requested by employers on LinkedIn: LinkedIn 2023 Most In-Demand Skills: Learn the Skills Companies Need Most; leadership, management, communication and teamwork all rank in the top 10.  

This subtle reframing will rightly attract the attention of CEOs and Boards, as well as employees, which should result in greater investment in people development.  

As all L&D professionals know, these skills are notoriously difficult to develop and in a consistent way. Because unlike technical skills, which can be taught in the classroom, Power Skills require a much more nuanced approach. The learning journey depends on many variables including the individual themselves, the working environment and the organisational culture. 

Power Skills, also referred to as durable skills, can't easily be taught, they can only be developed through experience, reflection and repetition. A small crumb of comfort for us all with the unstoppable rise of Artificial Intelligence! 

Harnessing Power Skills through experiential learning 

Learning by doing, or experiential learning has been practised for thousands of years. Think about the apprenticeship system that came into being during the Middle Ages; an experienced master craftsperson sharing their skills a young person over several years.  

In the modern work environment internships, secondments, job shadowing, coaching, peer learning and role-play exercises are all examples of experiential learning.  

In recent years, a growing group of forward-thinking companies have been using experiential learning to develop Power Skills, achieving incredible results in the process.  

At Pilotlight, we’ve been co-creating experiential learning programmes with business, developing Power Skills across the talent spectrum, for nearly three decades. Each year, we work with over a thousand handpicked leaders and managers from some of the world’s top employers.  

Our formula for success is simple but powerful: we bring together small teams of professionals that have been nominated by their employer and we match them with a charity that needs support solving an issue of strategic importance. Under the expert guidance of a Pilotlight coach and facilitator, participants are guided through an experiential learning journey that is safe and supportive, allowing everyone to practice, reflect and repeat the Power Skills that they need to develop. 

Throw in the fact they are making a genuine difference to the lives of others, improving wellbeing and job satisfaction and you have a recipe that inspires learning and develops a greater sense of purpose. 

Through our programmes, individuals regularly report double digit improvements in Power Skill indicators such as:   

  • Cross collaboration capabilities 
  • Critical thinking and complex problem solving  
  • Conducting and using research and analysis 
  • In the moment problem solving and action planning 
  • Ability to adapt leadership styles 
  • Displaying leadership mindsets and behaviours 

To borrow a phrase from a well-respected talent leader, our programmes offer individuals, “the realest of real life" scenarios which is why we refer to our work as learning and impact accelerator.

Power Skills will transform your business 

We’ve supported hundreds of L&D leaders with their people development plans as they respond to an ever-shifting external environment and internal demands and priorities.  

And despite the relentless pace of change, one thing remains constant: experiential learning is by far the most efficient and effective way of learning; it is highly motivating and engaging for individuals, resulting in better retention, creativity and innovation. 

In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, learning and development professionals play a pivotal role in shaping the workforce of the future. By prioritising Power Skills in your people development planning, you contribute not only to individual growth but also to the overall success and adaptability of your organisation.  

As you embark on this journey, remember that the true power of skills lies in their ability to transform individuals into resilient, adaptable, and collaborative contributors to the success of your organisation. 

Written by
Profile picture for user Tom Leavesley-Matthews
Tom Leavesley-Matthews
Head of Partnerships - Pilotlight

Partner with us to deliver real-world learning

Our programmes sit across the talent spectrum: from entry level to executive leadership. We deliver solutions that meet the most demanding people development objectives.

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