The Most Popular Online Courses Among the C-Suite

March 28, 2017

The skills business leaders are looking to improve the most.

Curious what skills CEOs, CTOS, CIOs, CMOs and the rest of the C-Suite are actively working to improve?

Well, to find out, we pulled a list of the 10 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses among people with a C-Suite position on their LinkedIn profile – i.e., the skills business leaders are actively seeking to improve the most. Free courses, which invariably garner more viewership, have been excluded from this list.

The 10 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses among the C-Suite are:

1. Online Marketing Fundamentals

Instructor: Brad Batesole

Course Description: Learn how to promote your business effectively online and develop a targeted online marketing strategy that engages potential customers throughout the digital landscape. In this course, Brad Batesole explains today's digital marketing techniques in simple, easy-to-understand terms, demonstrating how you build a successful online marketing campaign for all digital channels: search, video, social, email and display.

2. Body Language for Leaders

Instructor: Carol Kinsey Goman

Course Description: In this course, workplace body-language expert Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, reveals how body language is perceived and often misread, and shares the six nonverbal signals you need to know to make a positive first impression. She also discusses the importance of body language for leaders, and shows how you can establish leadership presence. Lastly, she provides simple and effective tips on communicating with gestures and stance.

3. Strategic Planning Fundamentals

Instructor: Mike Figliuolo

Course Description: Join executive leadership consultant and coach Mike Figliuolo as he reveals how to implement a strategic planning process in your organization—a process that can be repeated yearly and ensures you get input from all relevant stakeholders. In this course, Mike shows you how to establish and articulate your organization's core competencies, vision, mission, and strategic filters. Using these criteria, he shows how to prioritize competing initiatives, how to allocate resources to best support those initiatives, and how all of these factors combine to create a compelling strategic plan.

4. Project Management Fundamentals

Instructor: Bonnie Biafore

Course Description: Bonnie Biafore has always been fascinated by how things work and how to make things work better. In this course, she explains the fundamentals of project management, from defining the problem, establishing project goals and objectives, and building a project plan to managing team resources, meeting deadlines and closing the project. Along the way, she provides tips for reporting on project performance, keeping a project on track, and gaining customer acceptance.

5. Raising Startup Capital

Instructor: Rudolph Rosenberg

Course Description: Entrepreneurs need capital to achieve their business goals and meet significant milestones, whether they're launching a new product, acquiring key customers or reaching a revenue goal. In this course, author and entrepreneur Rudolph Rosenberg provides an overview of the main avenues to raising capital (such as crowdfunding, angel investors, venture capital and more), identifies the key stakeholders and shows the best ways to market your project and ask for funding.

6. Leadership Fundamentals

Instructor: Britt Andreatta

Course Description: In this course, leadership consultant Britt Andreatta, PhD, explains what real leadership is, how to assess your strengths, and ways to cultivate the traits the best leaders employ to make their organizations strong and innovative. The course includes information on developing and mentoring your team, creating an engaging workplace, developing political savvy, analyzing your industry, and honing your emotional intelligence.

7. Top 10 Marketing Challenges

Instructor: Drew Boyd

Course Description: Marketing is tricky business. Relationships need to be managed with clients, salespeople and customers. Prices and contracts must be negotiated. The business must grow. Drew Boyd has been in marketing for over 30 years, and he has worked with the best marketing minds in the world. In this course, he covers the 10 most challenging situations you might face in a marketing role, and offers solutions for overcoming them. These tips are under 5 minutes each – even the busiest marketing professional can watch them, and reap the rewards down the line.

8. Managing Your Time

Instructor: Todd Dewett

Course Description: In this short course, author Todd Dewett, PhD, shares four time-management tips that help everyone from busy executives to new employees get more out of their work day. Learn how to think differently about time management, embrace the 80 percent rule, find your "Einstein" window, protect that window and broadcast your availability to ensure others know when you'll be available.

9. Mergers and Acquisitions

Instructor: Tim Galpin

Course Description: Companies spend more than $2 trillion on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) every year, yet over 70 percent of these growth measures fail. In this course, professor and M&A expert Tim Galpin first explains why mergers and acquisitions occur, why they fail, and how to avoid making common mistakes. He then helps you craft your M&A strategy and outlines the eight stages of a merger. Finally, because integration is critical to M&A success, Galpin explains how to create work streams to ensure efficiency, and how you can measure whether your efforts have been successful.

10. Asking Great Sales Questions

Instructor: Jeff Bloomfield

Course Description: All too often sales calls become an interrogation, leaving the prospects wondering where the conversation is leading. In this course, author and Fortune 500 sales coach Jeff Bloomfield provides an alternative, based on the principle that effective sales start with focusing on the issues that matter most to your customers. Jeff helps you gain insight into your customer's business problems, and use those insights to guide your sales questions. He teaches you how to create and ask effective, probing questions; validate the business impact of your solution; and dig deeper when necessary. He also provides advice on maintaining the right tone throughout the conversation – leading to a more successful sales interaction and a long-lasting relationship with the customer.

Three Takeaways From the List

The list provides some valuable insight into the strengths and potential weaknesses of the C-Suite. Here are three takeaways from the top 10 courses:

  • The C-Suite wants to learn more about sales and marketing.

Few CEOs have a sales background and even fewer have a marketing background. Precisely for that reason, we see marketing and sales courses (the course Sales Fundamentals would have been 11th on this list) scattered throughout the top 10, with Online Marketing Fundamentals holding the top spot.

Clearly, these are two areas the C-Suite identifies as blind spots and wants to improve. It’s also a reminder to salespeople and particularly marketers that the C-Suite often isn’t overly knowledgeable in these areas, but is eager to learn more about them.

  • There are clearly some courses of particular interest to the C-Suite.

There are some courses on the list that apply specifically to the C-Suite. For example, Mergers and Acquisitions and Raising Startup Capital both are courses that are uniquely of interest to the C-Suite.

  • But, for the most part, the C-Suite isn’t much different than the rest of us.

What’s most interesting about this list though is that many of the courses on it are also popular among all levels of workers. For example, Project Management Fundamentals, Managing Your Time and Leadership Fundamentals aren’t just popular courses for the C-Suite – they are popular courses among all employees at all levels.

What does that mean to you? Sometimes, talking to someone in the C-Suite can be intimidating. If I were placed in a room with my CEO, for instance, I’d probably freeze up in fear.

But this list shows the C-Suite isn’t much different than the rest of us. While there are some courses on the list that uniquely apply to them, most business leaders face the same challenges the rest of us do: namely, the desire to become a better leader, time management and managing projects.

Clearly, these are challenges most of us will face throughout our entire career, regardless of how high you climb. Hence, if you can start mastering them early, you’ll see lifelong benefits.