Strengths Coaching Blog

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gallup's Called to Coach Recap: Debby Kratky

(July 18, 2013)


Last week’s guest coach was Debby Kratky, the director of capacity building and training for Workforce Solutions in Tarrant County, Texas.

Devoting herself to helping others achieve their dreams, Kratky uses the Clifton StrengthsFinder to find employment for ex-inmates who are considered by many to be “unemployable.”



You may also listen to an Audio Recording of this event.



Here are some highlights and insights from Debby Kratky's Called to Coach:


People who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time find it difficult to fill out an application, let alone land an interview. By understanding the language of strengths, they can describe themselves in new ways with fresh insight.

Kratky doesn’t do this alone. She has given her staff the opportunity to discover and embrace their own strengths, making it easier for them to mentor and coach the individuals they work with.

Success Stories
An individual who spent over 32 years in prison was thought by many to be unemployable. Using his strengths, he accepted who he was, made clear goals, and went out to accomplish those goals. Kratky’s staff successfully helped him find his first job since incarceration.

A New Orleans man named Lonnie served a long prison sentence. Although he was willing to take any job, his dream job was to become a tugboat captain on the Mississippi river. Kratky advised him to focus on his dreams, and she helped him use his top five strengths to realize his potential. Lonnie is now a proud tugboat captain in New Orleans.

Help Others Achieve Their Dreams
Kratky believes that each person has their own dream job, and one person’s ideal job is not necessarily the same for anyone else. As coaches, it’s important to refrain from instilling our passions onto someone else. It’s key to act as a strengths guide, helping others find and accomplish their dreams.

Join us for the next Called to Coach on August 9, from 1:00 to 1:30 U.S. Eastern Time, with guest Michael Dauphinee, an executive coach from the Dauphinee Group. Click here to access the registration page.


Debby Kratky is the Director of Capacity Building and Training for Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County. Debby is a subject matter expert for local, state, and national representatives on issues about ex-offenders and reentry, Welfare Reform, Homelessness and Fatherhood Programs, as well as families living in crisis.

Strengths: Input | Strategic | Ideation | Maximizer | Connectedness

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to PLUG Your LEAKS

By Brent O’Bannon, Executive Strengths Coach

I am often asked about the tug-of-war that seems to go on between our weaknesses and our strengths. Patterns of non-talent, or the themes that do not hang out around the top of our strengths profiles, are simply that -- patterns we do not naturally possess. These themes become weaknesses only when we have to use them. In the best scenario, we would all understand our strengths and work to align them with our expectations every day. Until then, there may be requirements you must meet that just don’t seem to feed your strengths. Think of it like a boat: In order to sail forward quickly and effortlessly, we must capitalize on what we do well. If we have a leak in an area that doesn’t affect the boat, we probably won’t spent much time fixing it. But if our leaks get in the way of us being successful, they must be addressed. In this post, I will focus on weaknesses and how to plug your leaks.

Maybe you think the strengths approach is one-sided. Nope. As a coach, I realize we all have weaknesses in our personal lives and in business. Weaknesses are like water leaks in a sailboat, and if we don’t plug our leaks, we sink. You may be experiencing a major weakness if you are not good at an activity and don’t feel passion for that activity, yet it’s important to your career success. A minor weakness is sometimes called a “learned behavior” that we are average-to-good at, however we do not enjoy or have passion for this activity, and the activity is not a major part of our job responsibility or career success.

Use my acronym below to help you identify your top personal and professional leaks (weaknesses) today.

L: LOATHE
What activity do you hate doing with a passion? You’re going to laugh when I confess this, but I loathe and hate dealing with the cable TV remote control or anything related to hooking up a DVD and cables. When you loathe an activity, you will find a way to…

E: ESCAPE
What activity do you want to avoid and get someone else to do? You guessed it, I ask my wife to take care of the remote control and hooking up any electronics. Similarly, she hates installing the toilet paper, so for 27 years I’ve been the one who puts it on the roll.

In business, I loathe and avoid entering data and dealing with Quickbooks, so I’m frequently singing, “Help me Rhonda! Help, help me Rhonda!” Oh, I’m determined enough (whether I’m smart enough is questionable) to learn how to control a TV remote and figure out Quickbooks, but I will always be…

A: AVERAGE
What activity is a weakness in your life or business that, no matter how much you learn or practice, you will only be average or below average in performance? Many professionals despise public speaking and try to get better by reading books or going to Toastmasters (which I recommend). The truth is, they can get better, but they will only be average or below average in performance because it’s not their strength.
In fact, you can become average in a weakness and still feel a…

K: KINK
What activity, no matter how much you improve (and I recommend improving your weaknesses to a point) there is still a kink in your stomach? A feeling of stress and strain?

My wife gets a feeling of stress and a kink in her stomach just thinking about dealing with conflict personally or professionally. It is a weakness of hers, however she has learned how to plug that leak (and lean on me to help, since this is one of my strengths). In 28 years of marriage, we have had a couple (okay, our fair share) of conflicts, big and small, but we are still afloat.

We have found a way to PLUG our leaks so we don’t sink.

One of my coaching clients loathes public speaking. He wants to escape it or get someone else to do it for him. He tries to improve, but still just feels average. He even feels a kink in his stomach when he presents a report to the senior management team. His top five strengths are Deliberative, Belief, Responsibility, Discipline, and Relator.

How can he PLUG the LEAK?

P: Plan
Plan on consciously using one or more of your signature strengths to boost your weakness. If your strengths are Deliberative, Belief, Responsibility, Discipline, and Relator, then you could decrease the stress (landmines) before you speak, stick with topics on which you can share your strong Belief, use Responsibility to make you follow through with quality, structure your talk with Discipline, and open your heart so you connect with your audience.

L: Leave
You will likely have to do some public speaking in your work, but what if you could eliminate 80% of public speaking? Of course, don’t volunteer for public speaking jobs. Make it clear to your boss and team that you want to decrease any opportunity that could create public speaking moments.

U: Unite
Who on your team could you unite with that excels at public speaking -- who loves public speaking and could take the pressure off of you? Many companies hire a spokesperson. You can, too, in critical public speaking situations. Who knows! You could even barter with someone who has the strength of public speaking.

G: Grow
We all have to do things that we are weak at to some extent. Go to Toastmasters or hire a coach to help you maximize your speaking abilities. Grow in the basics and let it go. Take the pressure off of yourself to be the best at everything, and invest your time and energy in your strengths.

Brent O’Bannon is a Gallup Certified Executive Strengths Coach who has conducted more than 27,000 coaching sessions and spoken to more than 60 organizations in the U.S., China, Dubai, and Afghanistan. For more information visit www.brentobannon.com

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gallup's Called to Coach Recap: Curt Liesveld
(June 28, 2013)

Our guest coach, Curt Liesveld, has been a strengths coach at Gallup for 14 years. Liesveld answered the call to coach after realizing his “intense interest in the nature of human beings.” Along with a sociology degree and a theology background, Liesveld uses the Clifton StrengthsFinder to study humans and transform their raw potential into talents at which they excel.

Liesveld not only coaches individuals, he also coaches other strengths coaches who want to improve the wellbeing of others. He genuinely enjoys coaching others and seeing the impact strengths-based coaching can have on people’s lives.



You may also listen to an Audio Recording of this event.



Here are some highlights and insights from Curt Liesveld’s Call to Coach:

Transforming “being” into “doing.”
We have to care equally about who people are and what they do. Being is who we are by nature. By focusing on our strengths, it helps us understand how to do what we do best.

How many people lived their entire life not knowing what their strengths were?
This question always loomed in Don Clifton’s mind. It sincerely troubled him to know that people went their entire lives devoid of the opportunity to do what they do best every day. This same question serves as inspiration for coaches to help others discover their strengths and live fuller, happier lives.

How do unlikely strengths pairs work together?
There are 561 possible pairs of themes and any of them can work together to make up who you are. The two themes that most unlikely fit together are Activator and Deliberative; a person with this pair has a sense of urgency and caution at the same time. When unlikely themes are paired, we have to start thinking, “How does that give me an advantage?”

Can your strengths change over time?
At the core of who someone is, there is something enduring and consistent. Once you become an adult, there are consistencies between who you are and who you’ll become. There are some things that do change, however. What you know changes because your education expands your knowledge, your skills change because of your experience and practice, and your values can change over time due to events like marriage and the birth of a child.

Liesveld’s top five strengths: Responsibility, Relator, Maximizer, Learner, Analytical

The next Called to Coach event will be with Debby Kratky on July 18, at 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time. Kratky works for Tarrant County, Texas as the director of capacity building and training for workforce solutions.