Strengths Coaching Blog

Friday, October 30, 2015

[Recap] Strengths in Higher Ed, the Clifton Strengths Institute and StrengthsQuest

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with the Executive Director of the Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska College of Business Administration, Mark Pogue.








Mark was one of the creators of StrengthsQuest -- an initiative to transform students' lives through strengths. Today, StrengthsQuest has grown into a development and engagement program to help students and educators use strengths to achieve academic and career success. This program has been invaluable in introducing strengths to educational organizations across the U.S.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

[Recap] Strengths Transformations for Youth and Entrepreneurs

On a recent Called to Coach: Singapore Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Yeang Cherng Poh.








Since discovering the Clifton StrengthsFinder, Yeang Cherng has focused on leading his clients from strengths discovery to a strengths transformation. He pushes them beyond the moment of wonder and surprise at finding out their strengths to a point where strengths can change their lives. The goal of strengths for Yeang Cherng is not just self-discovery, but to be the vehicle to propel them forward personally and professionally.

Yeang Cherng spent 12 years in the non-profit sector of Singapore. He worked for an organization that promoted cyber wellness for youth -- teaching them the benefits and perils of the Internet and video games. He would often hold interventions for young people who spent so much time on the Internet or playing video games that it harmed their scholastic and social lives. He found that knowing the strengths of these young people was key to successful intervention. He could help them diversify their activities by finding pursuits they would enjoy, and that fit their strengths. This helped to end their addiction to the Internet and video games and set these young people up for long term success.

Yeang Cherng is also one of a select group of international coaches who has completed Gallup’s Coaching Entrepreneurial Talents course, which focuses on using the EP10 assessment to identify entrepreneurial talents. He has partnered with two people in Singapore to build a large entrepreneurial coaching business, and they often use the EP10 assessment as an initial "quick look" tool for their clients. Then, they use the Clifton StrengthsFinder to help their clients understand more about themselves and their teams. As he does with all his clients, Yeang Cherng tries to push these entrepreneurial clients to experience a strengths transformation.

Visit Gallup Strengths Center to browse our myriad of products and learning opportunities for strengths-based development.

Continue the coaching conversation on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a great way to network with others who share a passion for strengths!

Yeang Cherng Poh is the Director and Principal Consultant at Kingmaker Consultancy Pte. Ltd. He holds a Masters of Mass Communication and is both a Gallup-Certified Strengths as well as a member of the pioneering group of Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder coaches in the world. Yeang is a leading practitioner-researcher of evidence-based programmes for risky online behaviour. He pioneered the Cyber Wellness Movement in Singapore and served on the advisory committees for the Media Development Authority (MDA) from 2002 to 2007.
  
Yeang Cherng's top five strengths: Achiever | Relator | Strategic | Ideation | Analytical.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Compare and Contrast: Strategic

How Your Least Favorite English Composition Essay Question can Build Your Coaching Knowledge-base

by Al Winseman

Strategic is one of the biggest buzz-words in business today. Leaders and managers want their teams to be “strategic”; employees are urged to think “strategically” instead of “tactically” -- to “play chess” instead of “playing checkers”; and nearly every list of competencies that one encounters in a performance review has a “strategic thinking” category that employees are supposed to master if they have even the slightest hope of being promoted. The word is so overused and overdefined that it has lost almost all its meaning.

Yet in the taxonomy of the Clifton StrengthsFinder themes of talent, Strategic has a very specific definition -- and what’s more, Strategic is the fifth-most commonly identified theme among the over 12 million individuals who have taken the Clifton Strengthsfinder.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

[Recap] Fixing the Square Peg in a Round Hole with Strengths

On a recent Called to Coach: India Edition, we spoke with Gallup-certified Strengths Coach, Anand Pillai.









During his career, Anand has held many high-powered management and human capital positions, including Chief Learning Officer of one of India's largest employers. Well before he knew about the Clifton StrengthsFinder, Anand saw the value in focusing on what was right with people when trying to manage and coach them to be more productive and engaged in their work.

Friday, October 16, 2015

[Competition] Dispelling Myths About Competition

On a recent Theme Thursday live webcast, we discussed the Competition theme with Jamie Librot Gallup Senior Learning Solutions Consultant. Jamie's top five strengths are Achiever, Woo, Focus, Arranger and Competition.








The essence of the Competition theme is comparison. People with Competition are instinctively aware of other people's performance. They have a deep aspiration for first place. Competition drives them to outwork, outshine and outperform anyone else. They will invest in teaching, research, training and study to win. People with Competition have grit and determination, but also a boundless energy and enthusiasm to chase their goals. They are at their best when they can measure their performance against others.

People with Competition need tangible metrics like scorecards and other performance indicators. They love to measure goals in any way possible. Competition is a strong, external motivator that provides people with clarity through comparison. Those with Competition love to seek out challenges and push themselves to do better. It is not enough for them to do their best, they must be the best. And on top of that, they want to compete with the best -- they can lose energy when surrounded by mediocrity.

There is a persistent belief in our culture that it is in poor taste to compare yourself to others, leading some to believe competition is a negative quality. Yet our society constantly compares people, products and services in many areas of life. We laud comparison shopping -- finding the best deal, the perfect college or the top team. Clearly, competition is valued in our society and used in daily decision making for many people.

Jamie wants to dispel a number of myths about Competition. First, that Competition is a bad thing -- it is not, as discussed above. Second, that Competition doesn't have a gender. While Competition is more common in men, women like Jamie identify strongly with it and find it to be a critical component of who they are. Third, Competition does not make you a bad leader. Prior to joining Gallup, Jamie was a manager with direct reports at an education company. In just two years, she was able to manage and coach the most poorly performing center to become the most productive center. Jamie credits that management win, in part, to her Competition because it made her into her teams' best cheerleader and supporter.
To hear more about Competition and how Jamie uses it in her everyday life, watch the full video above or the short theme video below.




How do you use Focus in your everyday life? Share your thoughts on the Called to Coach Facebook page.
 
Pressed for time? We now have all of our Theme Thursday videos in short, easy-to-digest snippets in which Curt and other Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches break down the nuances of each theme.

You can register for the next Theme Thursday and all upcoming Gallup Strengths Center webcasts at gallup.eventbrite.com.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

[Strengths Spotlight] Expanding Your Strengths Book Launch

On a recent Strengths Spotlight, we spoke with two Gallup associates about Gallup's latest publication, Expanding Your Strengths.  






 


Written by former Gallup Learning and Development Senior Consultant Curt Liesveld, Expanding Your Strengths explores theme dynamics. While each talent theme expresses itself alone in predictable ways, when combined, themes influence each other in myriad ways. The more you know about your themes in relation to each other, the more you will understand them and use them in your day-to-day life.

Gallup Senior Learning and Development Consultant Heather Wright explained that Curt loved to talk about strengths as elements on the periodic table. Each strength has its own inherent and unique qualities, but amazing things happen when you observe strengths in combination with each other. Like oxygen and hydrogen, both elements are interesting on their own. But in combination as water, these elements allow life to flourish around the world and become a source of endless study.

That is why in Expanding Your Strengths, Curt explores themes in combination to study how they work together. In the book, Curt explains his fascination with these combinations of strengths, saying, "Compatibility is crucial in both personal and professional success. It is the core of great partnerships, great teams, great marriages and great families. As a result, the people we coach are often interested in finding a magic formula for compatibility."

In studying theme dynamics, Gallup coaches understand that all 34 themes are compatible with each other, but some themes are more likely to pair together than others. For example, Heather recently coached two Gallup call center managers on their strengths. One manager, Laura, had Positivity and Achiever in her top 5; while John, her colleague, had Analytical as his number one strength. Laura loves to be the cheerleader of the call center -- she is always encouraging interviewers to focus on the end goal. John enjoys diving deeply into call center stats, often trying to determine who is the most successful interviewer of each survey or which interviewer is the most efficient and has the best quality. On their own, Laura and John are good managers because they know how to motivate people -- one with positivity and the other with hard data. But together, Laura and John are a management juggernaut. They can encourage any person to work harder, smarter and faster -- and stay engaged. In this way, studying theme dynamics through Expanding Your Strengths can have a dramatic impact on teams as well as individuals.

When you purchase Expanding Your Strengths you also receive access to an interactive Web app that allows you to explore theme dynamics. Use it to examine your own theme pairings as well as those of others. Expanding Your Strengths is sold exclusively through Amazon and, at this time, is only available in the U.S..

To hear more about Expanding Your Strengths, watch the video above.
You can purchase Expanding Your Strengths immediately here. Visit Gallup Strengths Center to browse our myriad of products and learning opportunities for strengths-based development.

Continue the Expanding Your Strengths conversation on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a great way to network with others who share a passion for strengths!
 
 

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Four Things Followers Need – and How Leaders Can Use Their Strengths to Provide Them

by Brian Brim, Ed.D.
 
In their bestselling book Strengths Based Leadership, coauthors Tom Rath and Barry Conchie explore the topic of leadership through the lens of strengths. In addition to discussing how different leaders can create success through the application of their own strengths, Rath and Conchie’s research also examined the specific emotional needs people have to experience with their leaders in order to feel engaged and connected to the organization and their day-to-day work.
Through this research, the authors brought forth four key areas of focus: trust, compassion, stability and hope. When people feel those things, they feel more involved in their companies.
The Impact of Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope
Gallup studied 10,000 people in “follower” job roles between 2005 and 2008. We found that leaders who are perceived to be trustworthy and compassionate and who offer stability and hope have a significant impact on their employees. For example:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

[Recap] Coaching, Sabbaticals and the STOP Method

On a recent Called to Coach: Australia Edition, we spoke with Gallup-certified Strengths Coach, Richard Burton.








Richard started his professional career in property investment and sales. But after being in the industry for almost ten years, he wasn't feeling fulfilled. He needed to really think about what he wanted out of his career and his life, so he took an eight month sabbatical to reflect on what to do. Richard had always been fascinated with helping others, so he started to meet friends and acquaintances over coffee to discuss what issues plagued them. It was then that he started informally coaching others.

Richard expanded his coaching practice and began accepting clients. Two years ago, he discovered the Clifton StrengthsFinder and incorporated it into his coaching repertoire. Richard explained that StrengthsFinder helped him become a better leader, coach and "talent spotter." Specifically, it helped him and others from getting mired in trying to fix weaknesses. Instead, he honed in on improving his strengths and using them every day.

Richard also believes that coaches need to help their clients curb their hectic schedules by taking mini-sabbaticals and using the acronym STOP. STOP means to Step back, Think, and Organize your thoughts before you Proceed. This method helps clients evaluate their careers -- do they enjoy their work, or are there activities outside of work that they "get lost in?" STOP helps Richard's clients focus on the latter activities and turn those into the basis of a career.
  
To hear more about Richard and his coaching experiences and expertise, watch the video above.

Visit Gallup Strengths Center to browse our myriad of products and learning opportunities for strengths-based development.

Continue the coaching conversation on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a great way to network with others who share a passion for strengths!
 
Richard is a living, breathing example of living on purpose, through leveraging his own strengths. At the age of 37, despite holding a senior profile in the Australian property market, and with a young family to provide for, he made the huge decision to pause and transform his career. He took time off – long enough to identify his own strengths, passions, talents, core values and identity to find his InnerZone.  
 
 
Richard's top five strengths: Connectedness | Ideation | Empathy | Maximizer | Learner.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

[Recap] Infusing Strengths into U.S. Education

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Executive Director of Education and Workforce Development, Brandon Busteed.





 
Brandon explained that fundamentally, Gallup is an education company -- it provides education and advice on engagement, strengths and well-being to business leaders and companies throughout the world. Brandon wants to bring that education to U.S. schools. His goal is to turn all universities and schools into strengths-based organizations. Brandon explained that students who know their strengths, receive one-on-one strengths coaching and participate in a curriculum infused with strengths are more engaged students with a better chance at having higher engagement in their future careers and having higher lifelong well-being.