The CliftonStrengths Coaching Blog is a resource for those who want to help others truly understand their strengths and learn how to use them. Gallup experts and outside contributors share tactics, insights, and strategies to help strengths coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams, and organizations everywhere.
Called to Coach Recap: Kathy Kersten (Nov. 15, 2013)
Last week’s guest coach was Kathy Kersten, former senior manager of employee onboarding and engagement at Rackspace Hosting. Rackspace is a billion-dollar information technology hosting company that is leading the way in cloud solutions.
After joining Rackspace in 2006, Kathy took the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. When she first received her results, she knew that her strengths described her, but she didn’t think they were anything special. Although her strengths resonated with her, she didn’t realize how she could really use them to differentiate herself from the world.
It wasn’t until she attended a strengths training session at Rackspace that Kathy understood how her perspective of the world greatly differed from her colleagues’ perspectives.
Kathy talked to us about her strengths journey, while sharing insights about a company-wide strengths movement during her career at Rackspace. Creating a Strengths-Based Culture
One of the most important steps before instituting strengths into an organization is getting leadership buy-in, which Kathy says she achieved right away from Rackspace executives. She then looked at ways to develop a strengths-based culture in her organization. One of the most helpful tools that she incorporated into every aspect of the organization is the Gallup Path.
For example, Rackspace introduces its employees to strengths as soon as they start with the company. Before their first day on the job, new Rackspace employees receive their top five strengths on their offer letters.
One of Kathy’s favorite ways to work with strengths is in a team environment. She notes that when people who know their strengths get together, they tend to feed off one another and leverage each other’s strengths.
Feeling “Boxed in” By Your Strengths
Some people view their strengths negatively, and they feel that others will think negatively about them because of certain strengths that they have. For example, if someone solely has strategic thinking strengths in their top five, they fear that others might think they are one-dimensional, and that their skills are limited to those requiring strategic thinking.
It’s important for individuals to know that their strengths span far beyond their top five. When people sense a negative connotation toward their strengths, coaches need to remind individuals that these prominent strengths represent how they get something done -- not specifically what they get done.