Understanding the Different Types of Learning Agility and Their Uses

In today’s highly capricious business environment, leaders have to be quick & innovative thinkers; always on their feet, and always open to change. Their leadership skills are constantly put to the test with many more unfamiliar & unseen situations. Hence, a skill like learning agility is regarded as such a necessity for business leaders today. But what is learning agility? Imagine finding yourself in a new & unfamiliar situation and not knowing what to do – but then figuring it out. That is the essence of learning agility.

A recent survey on leadership potential found that learning agility was the most frequently used criterion to measure leadership potential. According to the survey, 62% of the participants chose to learn agility as a skill over other important criteria such as intelligence, personality, and emotional intelligence. Furthermore, 56% of the companies had used learning agility to find candidates with high potential and 51% had used it to hire senior executives.

However, recent research reveals that learning agility can further be categorized into seven distinct categories. Categorizing them adds a new perspective and clarity in our understanding of these people known as learning agile. This research brings us to our next question; how does the knowledge of the different profiles of Learning Agiles help a company?

By understanding the specific strengths and weaknesses of professionals across each of the respective profiles, organizations can make more calculated decisions with regard to hiring new candidates. This knowledge can be further developed by an organization to optimize the use of their talent in the most efficient manner. The Korn Ferry institute broadly classifies the agile learning personalities into seven different profiles, namely:

1. The Problem Solver

When faced with a challenging problem, they are the first to try and find a solution. They go about solving the problem by first understanding the intricacies, then leverage their experience, intuition, and work until they make a breakthrough.

2. Thought Leaders

They love a challenge as much as any of the other profiles, the only difference being that they work best from behind the scenes, instead of being in the spotlight.

3. Trailblazers

They are direct, to the point, and will do whatever it takes to get results, even with limited resources at hand. They dare to set foot on uncharted territories with confidence, courage, and conviction. However, there are times where these learning agile should tone it down, keeping in mind their co-workers.

4. Champions

As the name suggests, personalities who fit in this category save the day with their sharp skill, and they do so with panache. They can diffuse tense circumstances with humor and charm and as a result, keep the overall mood positive in the workplace.

 5. Pillars

Compared to all the other categories of learning agile, individuals from this group struggle the most with undefined and new situations. Their specialty lies in implementing well-thought-out, structured improvements rather than making new innovative changes.

6. Diplomats

When circumstances are tense, and everyone is worked up, these are the people you rely on to ensure that everything turns out smoothly. With their cool and calm demeanor, they can adapt their personalities to fit any given situation and as a result, gain trust from others.

7. Energizers

With their larger-than-life personality coupled with unconventional and quirky thinking, they can inspire people around them and ensure work gets done efficiently and smoothly.


Each learning agility profile comes with its fair share of strengths and weaknesses. While some job requirements seem specially curated for a specific group of learning agile, other job requirements can take them out of their comfort zone. It is finally up to the company on how they would like to allocate these professionals based on their profile.

If you’re looking for an accurate assessment tool that helps identify and assess a candidate’s learning agility, then this assessment from TalentLens is just what might interest you.  Raven’s TM Advanced Progressive Matrices is a gold standard, highly trusted assessment that helps organizations measure learning agility, lateral thinking and other cognitive abilities required for performing in jobs that require solving problems and tasks without drawing on prior knowledge.