Strengths Coaching Blog

Monday, December 22, 2014

[Recap] The Great Manager With Lynn Harris

On a recent The Great Manager webcast, we talked with Lynn Harris, Director of Rehab Services for Greenfield Area Medical Center in Greenfield, Ohio. Lynn was a nominee for Manager of the Year at the 2014 Gallup Great Workplace Awards.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Coaching a Manager vs. an Individual Contributor

By Louisa Warren, Senior Practice Consultant, Gallup

The key difference when coaching a manager is that they are in a position to help and support others, and every strength they have has to be considered in the light of its impact on their team. Whilst their own goals, objectives and career plans can form the basis of one conversation, what is the difference they can make to their team through their strengths?  

I have had the opportunity to coach sales managers who were previously highly successful sales reps. An important question to begin with is, “What made you take the path of management?” Their response to this will give you a clue into which of their strengths matter the most in their new role. Whenever a manager has ‘Achiever’ in their top five, we talk about what success used to look like for them and what it looks like now. I have heard talented managers describe how they have a whole new outlook on their work, because the success of the individuals on their team now defines their own success. It is as if they are channelling that Achiever drive very differently. Conversely, I have also seen situations where the manager finds it hard to “let go” of the fact that it is no longer simply a case of setting and achieving their own goals and then speeding off to achieve them. Somewhere within themselves they need to find the resources to tune into others, to put others center stage, and take more of a back seat themselves.

A manager with high Competition has to be careful not to try to compete directly with their own team -- instead, they need to create an atmosphere in which people strive to win, both as individuals and as a team. Again, the same strength, but channelled differently. For those with particularly strong Competition, it might be necessary to use their sporting life as an extra outlet for their own need to win!

It may be important to consider the manager’s strengths first and foremost as an individual, and then through the lens of management -- as a leader of others. Circumstances change, but we take our strengths with us wherever we go. We don’t magically get a new set of themes to match the new job description. Start with clues to their success as an individual, then challenge them to think about how that success will look as a leader. Points to consider:

  • How do their themes help them to set goals (for self and others?)
  • How do their themes help them respond to the multiple demands of leadership?
  • Which themes enable them to communicate a powerful message?

Management is a different ballgame, but with the right coaching you can set a manager up for success -- to be a “talent multiplier” who will make a real difference to their team, both the individuals and the group, and help them achieve excellence.  

Louisa Warren is a Senior Practice Consultant at Gallup; she joined the company in 1991. Her primary areas of expertise are in recruitment and development. She uses her understanding of individual talent to position employees correctly in roles and help them fulfill their potential. Prior to joining Gallup, Louisa taught French and German in the secondary sector and later served as Assistant Director of the British Atlantic Committee, a NATO-affiliated organisation. A native English speaker, she is fluent in French and German and provides consulting to Gallup’s clients in these languages.

Louisa's top five strengths: Context | Harmony | Individualization | Arranger | Maximizer.

Friday, December 12, 2014

[Recap] Called to Coach: Leisa Anslinger and Stephanie Moore

On the latest episode of Called to Coach, we hosted Leisa Anslinger and Stephanie Moore, Co-Directors of Catholic Life and Faith. 

[Recap] -- Theme Thursday: Communication

On a recent Theme Thursday live webcast, we discussed the Communication theme with Gallup Learning and Development Consultant Heather Wright. Heather’s top five strengths are Communication, Individualization, Maximizer, Harmony and Focus.

People with strong Communication talents bring attention and focus to important messages. They can find words for not only their own thoughts and feelings, but for those of others. This gives them the ability to reach out and connect with others in meaningful ways.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


By Curt Liesveld, Learning and Development Senior Consultant, Gallup

Strengths coaching is an approach to coaching that intentionally focuses on a person's natural ability. My first goal as a strengths coach is to help an individual capitalize on their natural ability, that is, those ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that they can productively apply with the most ease and enjoyment. In addition, I work with individuals to help them understand and manage their vulnerability, that is, the situations and places where this natural ability can be easily misunderstood or unproductively applied. The people we coach will also need some help in understanding and owning their liabilities or disabilities, that is, those required ways of thinking, feeling or behaving that don't come with either ease or enjoyment. Finally, I find that strengths coaching must eventually focus on compatibility, that is, how a person's abilities coexist and cooperate with the abilities of others. Compatibility is crucial in both personal and professional success. It is at the core of great partnerships, great teams, great marriages and great families. As a result, the people we coach are often very interested in finding a magic formula for compatibility. 

Most of us think we will experience compatibility when we can find and choose the perfect partner or teammate. I am wondering if this is why people who use the Clifton StrengthsFinder are often tempted to use the CSF as a selection instrument. I can almost hear them thinking, "If I can just avoid the person that has incompatible themes and find the person who has compatible themes, everything will be perfect. If I can just find the magic CSF formula, we will all live happily ever after." 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Earning Trust in the First Five Minutes:
A Formula for Impact

By Angela James, Learning and Development Consultant, Gallup

As a strengths coach in a strengths-based conversation, you are the expert. Conveying that message in the first five minutes is key to building trust and, ultimately, to building your success. How do you establish a conversation that makes an impact and leaves them wanting more? How do you quickly build trust?

You may be thinking, “I need to ask great questions.” And you’d be partially correct. More than simply asking great questions, you need to consider the very best questions for the individual you are coaching. What are the best questions to ask this person, and how will they react to the information being shared? Remember the odds of meeting someone with identical themes are one in 33.3 million, so every conversation is different.

The good news is the secret to personalizing a meaningful approach for any individual is right in front of you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

[Recap] Called to Coach: Dr. Tim O. Peterson

On the latest episode of Called to Coach, we hosted Dr. Tim O. Peterson, Professor of Management and Associate Dean of North Dakota State University’s College of Business.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

[Recap] Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition With Roy Lim

On a recent Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Roy Lim. Roy is an expert at helping individuals, managers and teams grow personally and professionally.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Positivity

On a recent Theme Thursday live webcast, we discussed the Positivity theme with Gallup Senior Consultant Luke Sutton and, as always, Gallup Learning and Development Consultant Curt Liesveld. 

People with strong Positivity talents are generous with praise, quick to smile and always on the lookout for the upside of the situation. They bring enthusiasm to people, groups and organizations. They can stimulate others to be more productive and hopeful. They always seem to find a way to lighten the spirits of those around them. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Three Questions Every Leader Should Be Asking

By Stosh D. Walsh

This is the second in a three-part series of articles by Stosh Walsh. In this series, Stosh will offer insights on coaching leaders. Read the first blog article.

The two words I hear the most from individuals I coach is, “Now what?” It doesn’t matter if the person is a recently promoted first-time manager or a C-level executive. It seems this important question lingers in the minds of most leaders who encounter strengths. In part one of this series, I argued that leaders and coaches can address this important and ubiquitous question by answering the following:

  • How do these strengths enable success in this role?
  • How does the exercise of these strengths affect others?
  • What kinds of strengths are complementary?

In part one, we explored the intentionality leaders can create by examining previous successes, using specific language from Clifton StrengthsFinder results, and mapping strengths to a role’s critical functions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What About Weakness?

By Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Learning and Development Consultant

Just like doctors answer lots of questions about illness, I find as a teacher of strengths coaches, I am ironically asked quite a bit about weakness. It’s important to understand where weakness plays into the purpose and power of strengths coaching, and I believe there are three important steps to truly mastering this concept. 

Let go of the idea that a theme can be a weakness. StrengthsFinder themes are like Switzerland -- neutral. While not particularly helpful in a game of Risk, they can be relied upon to be neither good nor bad, but simply naturally recurring patterns which, when applied and understood, can help us succeed. Remember, themes don’t make people ineffective. People make people ineffective.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Recap: The Great Manager With Jerry Rudzinski

On the last The Great Manager webcast, we talked to Jerry Rudzinski, Director of Sales, Stryker Patient Handling.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Called to Coach Recap – India Edition: Samir Parikh

On the latest Called to Coach: India Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Samir Parikh.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Surprising Benefits of Creating Coaching Partnerships

By Sarah Robinson

I’ve always been impressed with great business partnerships. Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Orville and Wilbur Wright are just of few examples of partnerships that have profoundly impacted us as a society. As an individual who has managed her own business for more than 20 years, I usually fly solo when consulting or coaching. I cannot say the choice to work alone has been 100% intentional. Honestly, over the last two decades the opportunity to partner with others has presented itself very infrequently. However, in the last twelve months -- a date that without coincidence correlates perfectly with the date I became a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach -- I’ve found myself seeking out coaching partnerships and being sought out as a partner.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Restorative
(Sept. 25, 2014)

On the last Theme Thursday, we discussed the Restorative theme with Gallup Learning and Development Consultants Angela James and Curt Liesveld. 

Those with strong Restorative talents bring a solution-oriented mindset to daily problems. They readily take on projects that others believe “can’t be saved.” They can analyze a situation, identify potential shortcomings, and make the necessary adjustments.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Agenda-Free Coaching

No Plan? No Problem!

By Al Winseman, D.Min., Senior Learning and Development Consultant, Gallup

One of the most exciting things for me about strengths coaching is that I can honestly say I have no idea what’s going to happen in that hour. Now, you might think that for someone with low Adaptability, the unpredictable nature of the coaching conversation would be riddled with anxiety. I find it is far from that. It’s exhilarating and keeps me in the game. I don’t have an agenda for coaching -- and I believe that, more often than not, my lack of a plan is beneficial to my clients.

Let me explain.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Maika Leibbrandt
(Sept. 19, 2014)

On the latest episode of Called to Coach, we hosted Senior Education Consultant Maika Leibbrandt. Maika partners with leaders to improve the engagement of their followers and customers all over the world.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Maximizer

(Sept. 11, 2014)

On the last Theme Thursday, we discussed the Maximizer theme with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Adriane Wilson, and Gallup Advanced Learning Consultant Curt Liesveld.

Maximizers have and bring to others a focus on quality. They naturally prefer working with and for the best. They create strengths within groups by enabling each person to do what he or she naturally does best. Their drive toward excellence can lead to a new standard of success.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Recap: The Great Manager With Dr. Jim Harter
(Sept. 9, 2014)

On the last The Great Manager webcast, we talked to Gallup Chief Scientist for Workplace Management and Well-Being, Jim Harter, Ph.D.

Dr. Harter says that great managers don’t just provide a fun place to work, they successfully position their employees to have a chance to grow and progress over time. More than just making a team feel good, managers are responsible for engaging their teams in order to deliver exceptional performance outcomes. These outcomes can include fewer safety incidents, higher retention rates, or increased customer engagement.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Roy Spence
(Sept. 5, 2014)

On the latest episode of Called to Coach we hosted Roy Spence, Co-Founder and Chairman of GSD&M, a leading national marketing communications and advertising company. Roy is also Co-Founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute, a consulting firm that helps people and organizations discover and live their purpose.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Includer

(Aug. 28, 2014)

On the last Theme Thursday, we discussed the Includer theme with Rick Koch, Gallup Learning Design Consultant, and Curt Liesveld, Gallup Advanced Learning Consultant.

Includers are sensitive to those who are excluded and have an innate desire and capacity to bring them into the group. Their thoughtful approach to others not only increases participation and communication as they ensure everyone is considered, but it also brings a level of tolerance and acceptance of diversity.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Called to Coach Recap – India Edition: Manish Puri
(Aug. 26, 2014)

On the latest Called to Coach: India Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Manish Puri.

Manish discovered his strengths just a short time ago, in January 2014. However, over the past nine months he has completely changed the way he approaches life every day. He grew up in an environment where he was taught to shy away from his strengths and focus on developing his weaknesses. He now gets excited to start every day on the right foot, knowing that he is living positively through his natural talents.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Dr. Sangeeta Badal
(Aug. 22, 2014)

On the latest episode of Called to Coach, we hosted Sangeeta Badal, Ph.D., Gallup Client Service Advanced Consultant. Dr. Badal is the primary researcher for Gallup’s Entrepreneurship and Job Creation initiative.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Inc.: Inside the Mind of the Entrepreneur

Groundbreaking new research shows what sets Inc. 500 CEOs apart from the pack.
Gallup was pleased to take part in some exciting new research in partnership with Inc. magazine to offer Gallup’s Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder assessment to the latest cadre of America’s fastest-growing private companies. A few excerpts from an in-depth article that appears in the September 2014 issue are below. We invite you to read the full text of the article on the Inc. website. In addition, Inc. profiled 10 successful entrepreneurs from the 2014 Inc. 500 who each are the best of the best in one of the 10 talents. Read their stories.
Imagine the U.S. economy as a somber, gray landscape. Now scan it with a thermal imaging device. See those vibrant green lights indicating heat? That's the Inc. 500.
We invited our 2014 Inc. 500 leaders to complete the Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder assessment. One hundred fifty-five did so. Gallup then compared the results with those from a national sample of close to 2,700 entrepreneurs. In every dimension, the Inc. 500 leaders scored higher. In some cases, Everest-versus-Rushmore higher.
Gallup's chairman and CEO, Jim Clifton, contends that the United States invests too much attention and too many resources in innovation, and not enough in "the real source of economic energy, which is the unusually talented entrepreneur who is able to create a customer." He thinks the assessment can help identify people with entrepreneurial strengths so they can be encouraged and developed. That the assessment clocked the country's highest-performing entrepreneurs as the country's most talented entrepreneurs suggests he may be right.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Arranger

(Aug. 14, 2014)

On the last Theme Thursday, we discussed the Arranger theme with Gallup Learning and Development Consultant, Mara Hoogerhuis. Mara’s top five strengths are Strategic, Maximizer, Relator, Responsibility, and Arranger. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Called to Coach Recap – Southeast Asia Edition: Rita Chan
(Aug. 12, 2014)

On the latest Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition, we spoke with Rita Chan, one of the first Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches in Hong Kong. Rita has a passion for interacting with individuals and teams to maximize their development and productivity. She empowers people to live passionately by helping them discover their innate talents.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gallup Courses Approved by ICF and HRCI

Attention coaches, managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs! Gallup is now approved by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) as an approved coaching specific training hours (ACSTH) provider, and also by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), which is the arm of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) that issues credentials.
Why is this important? 
Participants in Gallup courses can now obtain hours toward credentials and recertification. For ICF, you can receive hours toward an ACC, PCC, or MCC credential, and for HRCI, you can receive continuing education hours toward recertification of a professional HR designation.
Who benefits?
Coaches and HR Professionals -- if you’re looking to obtain a credential with ICF or recertify an existing designation with HRCI, you can accomplish both by participating in Gallup’s public programs.
Corporate Training -- employees from other organizations who enroll in Gallup programs will receive an added benefit of receiving hours toward their professional credentials and certifications with ICF and HRCI, without having to spend extra time outside of work. Talk about employee engagement!
Entrepreneurs -- what better way to gain credibility than joining a terrific program that is approved by two of the largest credential-issuing bodies in the coaching and human resources industry? Not to mention, this is a terrific networking opportunity to grow your business and learn about exciting topics.
Below is a table that outlines the number of hours you will receive toward credentials and/or recertification with ICF and HRCI, respectively.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Keith Baldwin
(Aug. 8, 2014)

On the latest episode of Called to Coach, we hosted Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Keith Baldwin. Keith’s coaching philosophy focuses on employee engagement, and helping clients understand that they cannot reach their desired levels of success unless they first create an emotionally engaged workforce.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Varsity Management: A Formula for Maximizing Potential in People

By Jeannie Ruhlman, Senior Practice Consultant, Gallup

Many years ago someone asked Don Clifton, “So just exactly how does a person go about turning talent into outcomes? Do you just need to identify what it is they do well?” If only it were as simple as identifying strengths and talents to unlock human potential. Knowing what a person is naturally good at and positioning them to leverage those strengths and talents is a critical first step, indeed. But this is only the first installment of a lifetime investment. People don’t really develop in a vacuum, do they? We only truly develop in response to another human being.  

As Don’s conversation unfolded that day, he encouraged people to consider the opportunity to leverage talent as an equation, and so what is now called the “Varsity Management Formula” was born: 

                  Talent x (Relationship + Expectation + Rewards/Recognition) = Per Person Productivity
T (R + E + R/R) = P3®

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Recap: The Great Manager With Benjamin Erikson-Farr
(July 29, 2014)

On the last The Great Manager webcast, we talked to Benjamin Erikson-Farr, Gallup Performance Team Lead for Learning and Development professionals.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Harmony

(July 24, 2014)

On the last Theme Thursday, we discussed the Harmony theme with Gallup Global Learning and Development Manager Shari Theer. Shari’s top five strengths are Achiever, Positivity, Focus, Harmony, and Empathy. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Carin Rockind
(July 18, 2014)

On the last Called to Coach we hosted strengths coach and motivational speaker, Carin Rockind. Carin is an international bestselling author, SiriusXM’s “Happiness Guru,” and is known as “The Woman’s Positive Psychologist.”

Monday, July 21, 2014

Recap: The Great Manager With Katie Barton
(July 8, 2014)

On the last The Great Manager webcast, we talked to Katie Barton, Gallup’s Executive Director of Software Development.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Recap - Called to Coach: Belle Lockerby
(July 8, 2014)

On the latest Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Belle Lockerby. Belle is the founder of rise 365, a not-for-profit focused on business incubation and startups. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Called to Coach Recap – India: Harsh Vardhan Jajoo
(June 24, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach: India Edition we hosted Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Harsh Vardhan Jajoo. We talked to Harsh about how he couples his professional experiences with strengths-based development to create a world-class coaching experience.

Since taking the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, Harsh says he has become much more self-aware and more connected to those around him. Knowing this, he wanted to share this sense of self-actualization with others and help them discover their talents.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Margret Trilli
(June 20, 2014)

On the last Called to Coach we hosted Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Margret Trilli. Drawing on her international career in investment management, corporate strategy, and executive leadership, Margret advises families on finance and investment topics, business management, and growth strategies.

Margret began to focus intently on strengths-based development in 2006 as part of a pilot program with senior leaders in a large organization. Eager to begin, she jumped ahead of the company-wide launch of Clifton StrengthsFinder and purchased StrengthsFinder 2.0 for her team. She quickly found that it fast-tracked her ability to manage effectively by knowing the innate individual talents of her team members.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Identify, Partner, and Develop to Create Campus Well-Being


The University of Minnesota is one of Gallup’s best partners and a true example of an organization making a strategic impact on hope, engagement, and well-being through a strengths lens. More than 30,000 faculty, staff, and students have used their strengths to impact these life-changing outcomes. But this has been a process and not simply a switch that was flipped on one day. Dr. Shane Lopez, Dr. Tim Hodges, Katie Lyon, and I have worked with campus leaders to create the right strategy, the right steps, and the right measurements to create true cultural change. I asked Grant Anderson from the University of Minnesota to share the story of how a well-being outcome was implemented within Residence Life. 

Tom Matson, Senior Director of Executive Leadership, Gallup Education Practice

By Grant Anderson, Assistant Director of Residential Life and Student Development, University of Minnesota

Housing & Residential Life at the University of Minnesota launched a program centered on Gallup’s Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements in the fall of 2013 for 7,000 students. The journey toward our decision to create this educational curriculum and how it is being implemented today resulted in life lessons for all involved. We invite you to learn along with us.

Sometimes big ideas start in the smallest of places. In this case, the University of Minnesota well-being curriculum can trace its roots to playful banter between friends on Facebook. One friend was celebrating a successful strengths retreat at their institution and another friend, me, playfully mocked that retreat due to my complete lack of awareness about strengths or the benefits strengths can have on engagement and well-being. My friend pushed back on my mocking comments, and I started to think she might be onto something -- and that I might have been in the dark for way too long.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Recap: The Great Manager With Jeannie Ruhlman
(June 17, 2014)

The Great Manager webcast series compiles information and experiences from years of teaching managers how to be their best. Last week we sat down with Jeannie Ruhlman, Gallup Senior Analyst and Senior Consultant.

Only about one in 10 people have the innate talents to become great managers. These people are naturally proactive in developing people and helping them become better at what they do. Great managers never look at their employees as finished products; they continually work to make them more successful in all aspects of their roles. They work to harvest the best potential in their people, while recognizing individuals who are doing great things. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Individualization

(June 12, 2014)

On the last Theme Thursday, we met with Gallup’s Program Manager of Professional Development, Kristin Gregory, to discuss how people use the Individualization theme in their everyday lives. Kristin’s top five strengths are Woo, Empathy, Individualization, Activator, and Strategic.

People with strong Individualization talents notice and appreciate the unique characteristics of each person and can customize their approach accordingly. Like a casting director, they use their intelligence about people to position them to do what they do best. This creates a type of team synergy that leads to a more enjoyable experience and increased effectiveness.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Strengths Coaching -- What’s in it For Me?

By Heather Wright, Learning and Development Senior Consultant, Gallup

Pinch me. As a Strengths Coach, there are days when I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. Strengths coaching feeds my Maximizer. I love the fact that my purpose in coaching people is to focus on where they are strong and to help them think about leveraging that to be even better. I get excited when I am consulting with someone and I make an observation about how I hear their talent coming through in our conversation and they respond, “I never thought of it that way!” 

My favorite aspect of strengths coaching is helping people recognize the value their talent has -- not only for their success, but for others around them. Often when an innate talent is discussed, a person feels a little “aw shucks” about their gift. They assume that everyone processes information the way they do, or builds relationships as easily as they do, or recognizes the purpose in the work they do and how it connects to a bigger mission or purpose. I love highlighting for a person the ways they can not only aim their talent at a task, a process, or a relationship for their own success and improvement, but that they can also fan the flame of that talent to the people around them, making it easier for their team, their friends, or their family to benefit from the value of their talent.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Lisa Peterson
(June 6, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach we hosted Gallup Senior Practice Expert Lisa Peterson. Lisa has more than 30 years of experience as a consultant, coach, and human resources executive. Her wealth of expertise includes human capital strategy, organizational development, talent management, human resources management, and executive coaching.

Lisa was introduced to strengths during her career at Stryker. While there, she primarily used strengths for the early identification of individuals’ talents in order to produce and develop exceptional teams. Knowing individuals’ talents also gave managers a great resource to maximize the performance of their respective teams.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Recap: The Great Manager With Charlie Colón
(May 27, 2014)

The Great Manager webcast series compiles information and experiences from years of teaching managers how to be their best. This week, we talked with Gallup Senior Channel Manager Charlie Colón about how he uses Gallup’s employee engagement tool, the Q12, to help managers and leaders increase the quality and output of their teams.

Charlie notes that great managers are also great developers. Instead of only looking at their next move, great managers anticipate the future needs of their team or organization, and they align their team’s talent with those future needs. By placing talent where it thrives, managers will get the most out of their employees, while allowing them to do what they love.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Woo

(May 22, 2014)

Last week on Theme Thursday, we took an in-depth look at the Woo theme and hosted Gallup Senior Education Program Manager JerLene Mosley. JerLene supports schools and school districts in selecting outstanding teachers and staff members and provides strengths-based development to staff and students. Her top five strengths are Individualization, Communication, Positivity, Activator, and Woo.

People with strong Woo talents bring energy to social situations. They can connect with others and act as catalysts in helping people connect with one another. They have an exceptional ability to draw others out of their shell.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Debunking the Myth of Well-Roundedness

By: Darren Virassammy, Co-Founder and COO, 34 Strong

An organization I once worked with was loaded with sharp, driven, and self-motivated people. Early
on, the individuals within this organization were really able to stay in their strengths zone, some specialized in managing projects, and others specialized in estimating. As the organization grew, the executive team focused more and more on the well-roundedness of everyone. As this growth occurred, there was a significant decrease in productivity as estimators were being forced to become project managers and vice versa. You see, the focus on becoming well-rounded -- an obsession with teaching everyone how to do everything -- diluted the talent base that had been prevalent within the organization’s culture in its initial years. This dilution of talent adversely impacted profitability, employee morale, and overall performance. During this period, from one year to the next, this business increased revenue by over 30% -- a staggeringly impressive increase, right? Wrong, their profitability level for the year of increased revenue was well below the previous year, despite employees working harder than ever. Essentially, revenue had grown by 30% and the amount of total money made year-over-year had decreased by nearly the same amount.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Jamie Librot
(May 16, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach, we featured Jamie Librot, Gallup Senior Learning Solutions Consultant. Since joining Gallup in 2005, Jamie has consulted with external clients in a wide range of industries on various workplace issues. What follows are some of the highlights from the webcast.

When first discovering your strengths, it can often feel overwhelming as you dive into this language with which to describe yourself. Jamie suggests that, if you do feel as though it is too much information to take in at once, you approach it one strength at a time. There is no prescribed length of time that you should invest into each strength, but try owning your top strength first, and then moving on to the next one when you’re ready.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Called to Coach Recap – Southeast Asia Edition:
Chandru Pingali

Last week on Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Chandru Pingali. Chandru started I-Cube Consortium Ltd. to enable companies in Asia and Africa to achieve scale and growth through strategic and executive leadership.

When Chandru first discovered his top five strengths, he immediately recognized that they described him perfectly. He now tries to spread strengths everywhere he goes and to everyone he works with. When working with new teams who haven’t taken the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, he makes sure the whole team discovers their strengths. He then meets with the group as a team to determine who can capitalize on their strengths to improve team performance.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Relator

(May 8, 2014)

Last week on Theme Thursday we took an in-depth look at the Relator theme. Guiding us were Gallup’s Curt Liesveld and special guest Dr. Brian Brim, Gallup Senior Practice Consultant and author of Strengths Based Selling.

People especially strong in Relator talents form solid, genuine, and mutually rewarding relationships. Their relationships are close, caring, and trusting.

Over a quarter (28%) of people in Gallup’s strengths database have Relator in their top five, the third highest among all 34 themes. Those who have high Relator tend to value close, lasting relationships with friends and family. They often prefer informal relationships, as opposed to those with formal undertones, which can diminish the personal side of a relationship.

Relators are often at their best when they have one-on-one interactions with others. They care deeply for others, and seek people with whom they can develop long-term, meaningful relationships. Brian distinguishes Relator from Woo, stating that the two themes are unlikely to be paired together. He adds that Woo is more of the courtship, whereas Relator acts as the marriage.

Raw vs. Mature
People with strong Relator might describe themselves as somewhat introverted, as they are most comfortable around their own friends. This is an example of raw Relator. Mature Relator, however, takes it one step further by recognizing that, although they might prefer to be around their own friends, they are the most capable of providing these friends with the comfort and trust of a lasting relationship.

To hear more about the Relator theme and how people like Brian use it in their everyday lives, watch the full video above or the short theme video below.

Register now for Called to Coach, this Friday, May 16, at 1 p.m. EDT (-0400 GMT).

You can register for all upcoming Gallup Strengths Center webcasts at

Don’t forget to join the Called to Coach Facebook group. It’s a great place to network and meet others who share your enthusiasm for strengths.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Recap: The Great Manager With Jamie Hunt
(April 15, 2014)

The Great Manager webcast series shares knowledge and experience from Gallup’s many years of teaching managers how to be their best. We’re interviewing some of the best, most effective managers we know to understand what makes them great. On the most recent webcast, we hosted Gallup’s Jamie Hunt.

Jamie has been in leadership positions most of his life. Whether it was a student council leadership position in junior high school, student body president in college, or his leadership role at Gallup, Jamie says it’s his life’s mission to make sure people are in meaningful and purposeful positions.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Nicole Sedlacek
(May 2, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach, we featured Nicole Sedlacek, Executive Director of Holt County (Nebraska) Economic Development.

Nicole began her work with strengths as a guide during the pilot of Gallup’s Entrepreneur Acceleration System (EAS) in 2012. The system was designed to help small to medium-sized businesses take a strengths-based approach to business development and economic growth.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Command

(April 24, 2014)

In case you missed it, last week on Theme Thursday we took a deep dive into the Command theme with the help of Gallup’s Curt Liesveld and Dr. Al Winseman.

People with strong Command bring decisiveness and emotional clarity. They have the ability to bring to light what is often avoided or unstated. This gives them the ability to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings.

Those who have Command as one of their top five strengths might feel that they are especially unique, and they should. Only 5% of people in Gallup’s strengths database have Command as one of their top five strengths -- the lowest of all 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder themes.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The How

Written by Becky JB Hammond MBA, MHSM, Founder, Isogo and a
GALLUP® Trained Strengths Coach

Article based on research from Dr. Angela Robles, President/Founder, Forza Institute

They are both elite. They have performed and excelled at the highest levels of the sport. They have both journeyed from childhood to adulthood to succeed in the most excellent and demanding echelons of the game. By this, they have joined a class of athlete that is reserved for only the most talented and strong.

Both of them are repeat Olympic gold medalists. Both of them are two to three time NCAA All-Americans. Both of them have multiple National Championships. Both of them played 1st base in the Pac 10 conference. Both of them adore the game of softball.

What they achieved is remarkably similar. It is how they achieved it where their stories dramatically diverge. Each of them used their uniqueness to get themselves to a place of greatness.

Dr. Angela Robles once wondered whether all elite athletes share a common set of strengths that distinguishes them from the competition and leads them to excel. As a three-time ASA National Champion and former Division 1 softball pitcher for the University of Notre Dame, professional athlete, and later an NCAA coach herself, Dr. Robles could not help but question what “ideal” strengths would look like in the sport of softball. Herself a relational powerhouse and self-described “hugger” of the team, she wondered if she were an outlier or part of the norm.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Joe Bertotto
(April 18, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach, we featured Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Joe Bertotto.

Joe discovered his strengths in 2004 while working for one of Gallup’s clients. He had the opportunity to attend the Great Manager program, which not only gave him insights into his own strengths, but allowed him to see the power of strengths in other individuals and teams.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Recap: The Great Manager With Mike McDonald
(April 15, 2014)

The Great Manager webcast series compiles information and experiences from years of teaching managers how to be their best. We’re tapping some of the best, most effective managers we know to share with us what makes them great. In the first installment of The Great Manager webcast, we hosted Dr. Mike McDonald, a performance manager for Gallup’s outbound interviewing centers.

Mike started his career in broadcast journalism. Although he had aspirations of being a reporter or anchor, he found that he was at his best when he was behind the camera, producing, or directing. He quickly realized that his skills would be more beneficial if he could create ideal conditions for the people in front of the camera.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Recap -- Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition

(April 13, 2014)

The last Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition featured Gallup Senior Consultant, Robyn Reilly.

Robyn discovered her strengths while working for one of Gallup’s clients in New Zealand, understanding for the first time why she did things a certain way. Whether at work or in her personal life, Robyn always finds herself trying to relate everything she does to her strengths. Strengths not only help her understand why she is doing something, they also help her figure out how she can accomplish tasks more efficiently and effectively.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Self-Assurance
(April 10, 2014)

People with strong Self-Assurance talents can lead the way. Because they deeply trust their own instincts, they can forge ahead confidently, even on risky paths. They can instill confidence in others and show initiative in the midst of turbulence and uncertainty.

On the last Theme Thursday, Gallup Learning and Development Consultant Rod Karr joined Curt Liesveld to discuss what makes the Self-Assurance theme unique and how it can be applied to real-life situations.

Curt describes Self-Assurance as “an internal confidence to try, even though external uncertainty exists.” People with Self-Assurance have a unique ability to trust their own instincts. They often “go with their gut,” trusting their intuition with the confidence to know what is right.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Using Your Talents to Balance Work and Home

By Sarah Robinson, FRESH Concepts, Inc.

Balance is difficult to achieve since it’s influenced by many issues. Our strengths, our values, our current and future goals all impact how we gauge when we are in balance or losing our equilibrium. My top strengths include Competition, Maximizer, Achiever, Activator, and Significance, so it’s not surprising that I’m a hard worker who puts her all into everything she has on her to do list. Yes, I want to win, but that drive is fueled by my desire to be the best that I can be. As one of the first Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches, I’ve relished recent opportunities to help organizations and individuals go from good to great. I’ve been able to flex my strengths in new ways that, in the past, I had only dreamed might be possible.

But, like most people, there have been times when I’ve felt overwhelmed and unsure if I can keep the many balls I’m juggling in the air. I wear many hats, including business owner, college professor, wife, mother of three children, community volunteer, daughter, sister, friend...the list goes on almost indefinitely. There have been too many days in my 46 years when I’ve worried that I am shortchanging someone or something.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Dr. Angela Robles
(April 4, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach, we featured Dr. Angela Robles, founder of Forza Institute. Angela has developed her coaching practice to specialize in building sport teams around each individual’s strengths.

Growing up in a sports-oriented family and having played sports at a high level herself, Angela’s athletic experience helped her realize the power strengths could have within sport teams. Although she was constantly competing in sports, Angela doesn’t have the Competition theme in her top five. She became aware that it wasn’t the competition that drove her love for sports, it was the team environment and camaraderie that she was hooked on, which was ignited by her Woo theme.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bounce Back! Coaching Resilience Through Strengths

By Ian Pettigrew

I've met a number of people who would describe themselves as “burned out,” and even more people who've taken time off work due to stress or anxiety. It isn't a pleasant place to be, and a frightening response is often, "I didn't see it coming." I don't believe that is always true, so let’s highlight what can be done to avoid burnout.

I see resilience -- our own personal “bounce-back ability” -- as being a bit like a tennis ball. We will get squeezed by external pressure, but if we are resilient we bounce back to our former shape when the pressure is no longer there. A lack of resilience can be illustrated by a table tennis (or pingpong) ball that, in response to enough pressure, will change shape and stay crunched even once the source of pressure has been removed.

There are many things that we can do to develop and sustain our resilience, and these will be different for each person. They might include new healthy habits (whether physical, mental, or emotional), or things we need to address at home or work. Identifying these is an important step, but isn't very helpful unless we actually implement them and along with an awareness of strengths. This helps us tailor an individual plan that plays to strengths and is more likely to be implemented.

Friday, April 4, 2014

About My “Journey to the Moon”… I Decided to Take the Train!

By Connie Gildersleeve
This blog article is a follow-up to Putting a Man on the Moon: Confessions of a Beginning Strengths Coach, written by Connie before she attended a Gallup coaching course. In this article, Connie shares her thoughts after completing the course.

I did it! I buckled myself into my Chrysler Town & Country rocket ship and continued my journey toward becoming a strengths coach by driving to Omaha and attending the “Successful Strengths Coaching” class at Gallup University. As mentioned in my previous blog post, I had a bit of anxiety about whether I was properly prepared for my first coaching class. Truth is, everything you need is more than provided for, upon your arrival!

The atmosphere was much as I expected, a room full of positive energy from classmates waiting to dive right into the StrengthsFinder pool of knowledge! A variety of residents from other states and occupations were represented in this particular group, which I valued a great deal as we all shared “strengths” experiences from our own walks of life. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Deliberative
(March 27, 2014)

People with strong Deliberative talents bring a thorough and conscientious approach to their endeavors. They have the ability to reduce risk and prevent problems through natural anticipation and careful thought. As a result, they tend to make outstanding decisions.

On the last Theme Thursday, we sat down with Gallup’s Curt Liesveld to focus our attention on the Deliberative theme. Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Dian Christian also joined us, as she proudly holds Deliberative in her top five strengths.

People with high Deliberative have a keen awareness and sensitivity to risk. This drives them to be careful decision-makers, constantly striving to prevent adverse things from happening.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Replicating Success: How to Learn What You Already Know

By Mara Hoogerhuis, Learning and Development Consultant, Gallup

“Individuals are always stronger when they have their successes clearly in mind.”

-- Dr. Donald O. Clifton (1924-2003), inventor of the Clifton StrengthsFinder and recognized as “the Father of Strengths-Based Psychology and the Grandfather of Positive Psychology” according to the American Psychological Association.

As a Gallup Learning Consultant, I share these words in almost every session I lead. Don Clifton spent his life researching what was right with people. He and his colleagues interviewed millions of successful people over 40 years, logging and analyzing the traits that led to their success. There was greater power, Clifton realized, in studying our successes and what led to them, than in studying our failures. 

Helping your client consider their own successes can be a powerful strategy in helping them to overcome current challenges. My advice to you when studying your client’s success: be patient. I’ve posed this question to course participants, coaches, and colleagues, and found that many people have a tough time recalling a moment of past success quickly and easily. As humans, steeped in the tradition of weakness-fixing, our moments of failure and error are top-of-mind, but our successes are usually not. People often have a blind spot with regard to their own strengths, but an elephant’s memory for what they did wrong. However, I can also attest that once the conversation does turn to moments of victory and accomplishment, there is a palatable shift in the energy in the room or in the one-on-one conversation. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Dr. Jim Harter and Jim Asplund
(March 21, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach we hosted Gallup Chief Scientists, Dr. Jim Harter and Jim Asplund. With 44 years of combined experience, Harter and Asplund are the world’s foremost experts on the science of strengths.

Harter and Asplund have been working with the science of strengths since its early development stages, paving the way for over 10 million people around the world to discover their innate talents.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

“I’m Your Coach, Not Your Friend.”

“And I’m Not Even Your Mentor.”

By Al Winseman, D.Min., Senior Learning and Development Consultant, Gallup

All successful coaching begins by establishing a relationship with the person being coached. But then the lines often get blurred, and clarifying those lines is critical to whether a coach is successful or not. That clarification is easier said than done, and it’s easy to see why the lines get blurred and the focus gets fuzzy.

Let’s start with what friendship, mentoring, and coaching all have in common. In all three of these, caring, authentic, honest, deep relationships are formed. And in all three, we must invest ourselves in order to make those relationships worthwhile. Caring and investing are at the heart of all meaningful relationships, but in friendship, the end is the relationship in and of itself. Not so with mentoring and coaching.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Recap -- Theme Thursday: Activator
(March 13, 2014)

On March 13, we held the first ever Theme Thursday. With this series, we hope to provide a deeper context behind the language of strengths by talking in-depth about each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder themes.

We focused on Activator for the first theme. We brought in Gallup’s Curt Liesveld and special guest Tyler McCarty of Napkin -- a startup that helps companies tell the story of their brand, idea, or business through simple animated videos. Naturally, Tyler leads with Activator.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Recap -- Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition
(March 9, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach: Southeast Asia Edition, we featured Gallup Senior Practice Consultant Dr. Ehssan Abdallah. Ehssan’s mission is to build capacity within client organizations to improve bottom- and top-line performance.

Ehssan began his career at Gallup’s Dubai office where he quickly found that many organizations in the region focused primarily on people’s weaknesses, instead of putting them in positions to maximize their strengths. Recognizing this issue, Ehssan knew that the quickest way to turn this around would be to conduct individual coaching sessions.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Strengths Meetup in Sacramento!

Brandon Miller, Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and co-founder of 34 Strong, will be hosting a Meetup for Strengths Enthusiasts in the Sacramento, California area on Monday, March 31, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriot, 1782 Tribute Road, Sacramento, CA.

This event will feature a distinguished guest speaker, Gallup Senior consultant Jeremie Brecheisen.

 Due to the popularity of the Sacramento Meetup events, early registration is encouraged. Visit the event Meetup webpage for more information.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Called to Coach Recap: Larry Broughton
(March 7, 2014)

Last week on Called to Coach we hosted Larry Broughton of Broughton Hotels.

During his time as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army, Larry learned that members of a team can be incredibly powerful when they are put in positions to do what they do best. It wasn’t until he entered the hotel industry, however, that he became familiar with strengths-based development.

Larry discussed the detrimental effect that disliking a job can have on one’s emotional state and personal life. He says that managers need to know their employees’ strengths in order to place them in the right roles. For example, he explained that someone with Woo should be out talking to people and making sales instead of sitting behind a computer all day. On the other hand, someone with high Strategic Thinking themes like Analytical and Context should be working with numbers. When the right people are aligned with the right jobs, managers will see a noticeable improvement in employee morale and output.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Strengths Meetup in Indianapolis!

Sarah Robinson, a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, will be hosting a Meetup for Strengths Enthusiasts in the Indianapolis, Indiana, area on March 27, 2014, at the communal table at Petite Chou in Clay Terrace. Visit the event Meetup webpage for more information.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Dreaded Report Card

By Gagandeep Anand, Learning and Development Consultant, Gallup

If we reach someone’s heart, we have an opportunity to change their thinking. If we can change someone’s thinking, we can change their actions. If we can positively change actions, we can impact the world. This chain reaction sounds intuitive, but for some reason, 70% of our workforce remains not engaged or actively disengaged. My gut tells me this is because people don’t have an opportunity to play to their strengths every day, which can be traced back to our childhood. Instead of sharing research, I want to engage in nostalgia. Think about when you were a kid for a moment. Let’s imagine that you brought home a report card that looked like this:

Physical Education A+
Science   A
Creative Art  C
Mathematics  D
Humanities  B+
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