Hidden Talents of Leaders

June 15, 2023

Overview: It takes an experienced and skilled leadership coach to explain why some leaders are so much more successful than their peers despite not doing anything revolutionary. The answer is often in the hidden talents of these leaders. Hidden leadership talents are nuanced skills that don’t show up on resumes and are not measurable.

“I have this ability to find this hidden talent in people that sometimes even they didn’t know they had.” – Berry Gordy. 

Leadership coaching aims to ask leaders questions that lead to revelations and perhaps the discovery of hidden talents. A skilled coach never directs a leader or offers one-size-fits-all recipes for success. Leadership coaching is a partnership and a joint journey of discovery.

A talented coach can help leaders discover talents they didn’t know they had. How do these hidden talents factor into leadership? Do they have a role in making leaders stand out, or are they mere distractions that are better left undiscovered?

How Hidden Talents Make a Difference in Leadership

Hidden skills don’t appear on resumes, but they’re there, and they can make big differences. Hidden talents determine how leaders fulfill their roles, not what they do to make things work. They’re soft skills that are difficult to quantify, measure, and identify.

Leadership coaching sometimes falls into the trap of assessing leaders solely on measurable skills. 360-degree surveys provide deeper and wider pictures of leadership abilities, however. Skilled coaches can learn a lot about leaders by engaging them in meaningful conversation.

Some leaders are wildly successful, turning everything they touch into proverbial gold. They don’t do things others can’t do, yet they’re so much better than anyone else at what they do. Here are a handful of nuanced, soft leadership skills that can help leaders succeed.


Some people find it easy to adapt to new situations and quickly changing circumstances. As the world around us continues to accelerate, those who adapt better find opportunities easier and thrive amid change. Such leaders stand out. It’s easy to pinpoint what they do to handle change better, but it’s more difficult to decipher what makes them more adaptable and agile than others.


Many people like to avoid problems that beg for solutions. They experience the process of problem-solving as stressful, as it carries the possibility of failure. Others don’t fear failure and throw themselves into problem-solving with abandon. They see problems as challenges they must overcome to prove their mettle and gain personal satisfaction.

Successful problem-solving requires focus and tenacity coupled with generous doses of leadership maturity.

A Sense for Organizational Power Dynamics

Executive coaching insists on developing leaders’ inner- and outer-core competencies as they comprise the source of most leadership talents.

Heightened emotional intelligence turns some leaders into outstanding communicators. Others use EQ to decipher and exploit organizational power dynamics to their advantage.


“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou. 

Resilient leaders carry positive attitudes through the hardest times, giving hope and motivation to those they lead. Leadership success is impossible without a positive, forward-looking attitude.

Resilience is a matter of attitude, stemming from deep within a leader’s inner core. It’s a talent some people have from birth. Executive coaching can help those not endowed with this hidden talent to develop mindsets and attitudes that facilitate resilience.

Wielding Influence

Influence, a hard currency of leadership, is a complicated commodity. For some leaders, however, influence is as natural and simple as showing up for work. Talented leaders influence others through their solution-focused attitudes, energy, perspectives, and abilities to build trust.

Influencer leader.
Influence is a leadership superpower.

Strategic Thinking

It’s surprising how widespread transactional thinking is in life. People seldom consider further-reaching objectives and implications.

Leaders with talent for strategic thinking consider long-term consequences and potential alternative outcomes (both positive and negative) for their actions and business decisions.

Why We Keep Some Talents Hidden

Not all talents are obvious. Some, we use without ever thinking about them or being aware of their existence. Others we suppress, as we see no benefit in them. Still, others we never discover. In the context of leadership, hidden talents are skills that don’t show up on resumes and aren’t measurable, yet their existences are obvious via the impacts they make.

Contact us to learn more about how you can join the IL Movement as a coach or how you can benefit from partnering with us to bring IL Solutions to you and your organization.

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