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Monday, November 18, 2013

Putting a Man on the Moon: Confessions of a Beginning Strengths Coach

By Connie Gildersleeve

Photo Courtesy of NASA
Not long before I came into this world, John Fitzgerald Kennedy declared, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” Imagine the look on people’s faces when he made that statement! Now consider my top five Clifton StrengthsFinder themes: Futuristic, Positivity, Maximizer, Strategic, and Self-Assurance. In other words, I get excited and dream up big ideas on a regular basis and fully believe there is a way to make them all come true. I’ve seen that same crazy look reflected back at me when I share my ideas with others. “So you think you’re going to put a man on the moon, huh?”

Prior to taking the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, I found myself discouraged when friends, family, or colleagues didn’t immediately jump on board with all of my latest ideas. After diving into the nuances of my Signature Themes, I now understand that I need to announce my very “Futuristic” ideas in smaller doses for the general public’s consumption.  The “Self-Assurance” within me has no doubt that my ideas are fantastic; I just need to practice presenting them in doses that other people can swallow. 

With the Clifton StrengthsFinder as a guide, the more I learn, the more intrigued I am to not only apply this wealth of knowledge to my own life, but to help others apply it to theirs. So as others have said, I truly feel “Called to Coach!” Very soon I will be attending Gallup University for my first class -- “Successful Strengths Coaching” -- and I can’t wait to be surrounded by strengths enthusiasts!

Because it is so rewarding to make a personal talent connection to one of my stronger themes, my only real fear in becoming a strengths coach is that I won’t see the same connection with clients who have themes high on their sequence of 34 that are low on mine. As coaches, it is vital to share what we have learned about ourselves, so we can help one another better understand the themes to which we don’t naturally connect. I am so looking forward to having these discussions with my coaching classmates at Gallup and with the authors of future postings shared here on the Strengths Coaches’ Playbook blog. 

As I count down the days to class, I can’t help but wonder if I could be better prepared. I’ve been tuning in to the “Called to Coach” webinars and reading about strengths between my life’s daily events, but have I read all the relating books I should? Is there something on Gallup’s website I have yet to discover? What did the “CSF guy” have to say today; did I miss his latest shared wisdom? I am so passionate about the importance of people understanding their strengths that I don’t want to be just a good coach; I want to be an awesome coach. So when I allow the anxiety to build about whether or not I’m prepared for this first class, I simply remind myself of my talents. I like people. I like connecting with people, learning from people, sharing with people, and helping people -- which is exactly why I’m signed up for this class. So, I’ll give myself permission to breathe a bit, knowing full well that I’m not a rocket scientist, but that I can go with confidence knowing I will be provided the tools I need for my coaching rocket ship when I get there. 

Becoming a strengths coach is my personal “journey to the moon.”  I look forward to sharing more about my mission very soon.

Connie is a Futuristic Entrepreneur.  She is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Beautiful Life Retreats.  With Connie as their Gallup Trained Strengths Coach, Guests of  Beautiful Life Retreats are given the opportunity to learn how to utilize their strengths to achieve their goals & dreams.  She will also be expanding her Strengths Coaching to individuals, organizations and businesses locally and beyond the borders of her home state of Nebraska.   Connie can be contacted through the following website:

Connie's top 5: Futuristic | Positivity | Maximizer | Strategic | Self-Assurance

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