‘New’ Skillsoft Quickly Expands Offerings with Acquisition of Digital Coaching Platform

Less than three weeks after combining into a larger, publicly traded company, Skillsoft Corp. expanded its leadership development portfolio with the acquisition of Pluma, a digital coaching platform that’s a great match for Skillsoft’s focus on helping organizations build a future-fit workforce.

As organizations seek to develop leaders better able to drive success in the digital economy, personalized coaching is an area of growing global demand. Coaching leaders is a top-five priority for leadership development among employers, according to Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Outlook 2021 Study

But only 29% of employers believe their internal coaching is effective, according to Brandon Hall Group’s new research, How Can You Develop Great Coaches and Mentors? One way employers can fix that problem at scale is to reach outside the organization to a virtual coaching platform.

The acquisition of Pluma, announced June 30, brings Skillsoft a global network of hundreds of executive coaches across six continents speaking more than 20 languages. Just 19 days earlier, Church Capital Corp II and Skillsoft announced completion of their business combination and the acquisition of Global Knowledge, a worldwide leader in IT and professional skill development. The combined Skillsoft Corp. began trading of its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange on June 14.

The Pluma acquisition marks Skillsoft’s entry into personalized coaching. It’s a wise first step in realizing Skillsoft CEO Jeffery Tarr’s pledge to build out the company’s enterprise learning solutions.

Beyond expanding Skillsoft’s leadership development offerings, it meets a need many employers face amid evolving learning and training priorities. Brandon Hall Group’s new leadership training study revealed three critical areas for improving leadership development:

  • Adding or increasing coaching and mentoring for leaders
  • Adding or increasing peer group collaboration
  • Increasing applicability of training to real-word scenarios

Furthermore, 90% of organizations surveyed said leader training needed to be better reinforced and 54% said the reinforcement should continue for two months or more.

Pluma helps organizations address all those areas for improvement. It will integrate nicely into Skillsoft’s AI-driven Percipio platform and offer current customers a SaaS solution that can accelerate leaders’ growth and development through services designed to drive behavioral change.

Coaches in the Pluma network are available to meet with leaders (and aspiring leaders) in real-time, use assessments to identify skill gaps, and design action plans that link to learning content in the Skillsoft Leadership Development Program (SLDP), powered by MIT Sloan Management Review.

This high-touch option is an important new complement to the blended learning approach that Skillsoft is known for. Reaching out for the market-tested Pluma solution, rather than trying to develop one in-house, is a wise and efficient use of Skillsoft’s new resources.

Digital coaching is poised to expand across all leader levels and become a powerful force in developing leaders in the years to come. The Pluma acquisition fills a need in Skillsoft’s leadership development portfolio and we expect to see Skillsoft only continue to expand its strategic advantage in the months ahead.

-Claude Werder, Senior VP and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

 About Brandon Hall Group Inc. 

Brandon Hall Group is the only professional development company that offers data, research, insights and certification to Learning and Talent executives and organizations. The best minds in Human Capital Management (HCM) choose Brandon Hall Group to help them create future-proof employee development plans for the new era. 

For over 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world influencing the development of over 10,000,000 employees and executives. Our HCM Excellence Awards was the first to recognize organizations for learning and talent and is the gold standard, known as the “Academy Awards of Human Capital Management.”

Our cloud-based platform delivers evidence-based insights in the areas of Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Talent Acquisition and HR/Workforce Management for corporate organizations and HCM solution providers.

To learn more, visit https://www.brandonhall.com

For information on Brandon Hall Group’s research and how we can assist your organization, please visit www.brandonhall.com

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.