Strengths Coaching Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2016

How to Talk About Failure: What Weak Moments Teach Us About Strengths

By Maika Leibbrandt 


Strengths coaches spend more time studying success than failure. We know there is infinitely greater potential for growth by investing in talent than there is in fixing weakness. Yet, even our top themes come with inherent vulnerabilities. In my experience, endless potential does not exist without understanding our limitations.

I lead with Strategic, Ideation and Adaptability. In a crisis, my instinct is to gather information, develop a flexible plan and adjust accordingly. I am excellent at responding to the needs of the moment. When others follow my lead, I provide stability by accepting change and quickly develop creative solutions to help my team bounce back. I do not require advance preparation or a flowchart of potential answers. My style is fluid. Dynamic. Functional. 

All of this is excellent until success means I have to be consistent. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

[Competition S2] Being at the Very Top is Success

On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant discussed the theme of Competition.




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People talented in the Competition theme have an enduring relationship with victory. They constantly seek it and learn deeply from their wins and losses. Competition has a close relationship with winning. Competition is keenly aware of benchmarks and constantly compares itself to others. Competition is emotive and passionate. It comes from the guy. While Competition may seem intimidating to others, Maika said, "Don't apologize for it. It is a great strength. It is an awareness that winning does matter." 

Monday, March 28, 2016

[Communication S2] A Passionate Relationship with Words

On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant discussed the theme of Communication.




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Maika explained, "Communication is a theme and way of being, it is not a 'thing you do.'" Communication is rich in verbal currency. People highly talented in the Communication theme are good with words. They have a natural ability to process thought out loud. They are great at communicating with others either through speaking or writing. As Communication is an influencing theme, it works best when others are involved. Communication can easily translate thoughts into words. People with high Communication are good conversationalists and presenters.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

[GWSW] Consistency: Even-handed, Egalitarian and Fair

Consistency is a keen awareness about the need to treat people the same by setting clear rules and applying them evenhandedly. Words that best represent the Consistency theme are: uniformity, rules, efficiency, balance and fairness. Someone with Consistency often acts as the conscience of a group or team. They are egalitarian, even-handed and selfless. People with Consistency focus on the group, not on individuals.  They accomplish tasks in a fair and consistent manner.  Consistency believe that the rules are the same for everyone, so individuals with high Consistency are great at giving credit where credit is due. Consistency believes, "It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, it is what we do every day."

Please register for our Consistency Webcast on Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Download the Theme Thursday Companion Guide on Consistency here to follow along with the show!






Friday, March 25, 2016

[Recap] Neurosemantics, Strengths and Reaching Your Goals

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke to Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Yvette Martin.








Yvette incorporates neurosemantics and strengths coaching into a powerful coaching program for her clients. Neurosemantics is the study of how people encode meaning and how that informs our view of reality and our behavior. Yvette helps her clients fully understand their motivations, fears, talents and strengths with two tools: the Enneagram from the world of meta-coaching and neurosemantics, and Clifton StrengthsFinder from Gallup. Yvette explained, "Both tools align beautifully" because Enneagram identifies a person's core motivations and Clifton StrengthsFinder identifies how "a person shows up in the world and the language for their behavior." For instance, Yvette's core motivation is "...to have fun and freedom" while her core fear is to be "...trapped in boredom." Yvette's motivation and fear align well with her number one strength, Positivity. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Building Stability Through Strengths

by Brian Brim Ed.D.

In our first blog, we introduced you to the four needs of followers based on Gallup’s bestselling book, Strengths Based Leadership. In this series, we are looking at the four needs of followers -- trust, compassion, stability and hope -- and how leaders should be thinking about each through the lens of their own strengths. So far we have explored trust and compassion. For this blog we will focus specifically on the third need, stability.

Building a sense of stability is an incredibly important aspect of leadership. When asked about how leaders contribute stability to their lives, followers frequently use words like “security,” “strength,” “support” and “peace.” It turns out that employees who have high confidence in their company’s financial future are nine times more likely to be engaged than are employees with lower confidence. Things just work better when employees feel a sense of stability. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

[Recap] Live Your L.I.F.E. Through Strengths

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke to Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Beckie Jorgensen.







About 15 years ago, Beckie left the corporate HR world and opened her own consulting business. As a first-time business owner, Beckie reached out to a coach to guide her through this professional transition. This coach had Beckie take Clifton StrengthsFinder. Beckie was shocked that she had not encountered this assessment during her long career in HR. After taking StrengthsFinder, Beckie went into what she described as "Learner mode" (her #6 strength) and read books, watched webcasts and completed any strengths activities she could find. Beckie quickly incorporated strengths into her consulting business and in the spring of 2015, she became a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

[GWSW] Connectedness: Seeing the Bigger Picture

Things happen for a reason. Those with strong Connectedness talents are sure of it. They have a powerful conviction that everyone is connected. While each person is responsible for his or her own judgments and actions, those with strong Connectedness believe everyone is part of something larger. Connectedness is global spiritual perspective that produces an integrated holistic practice. Those with high Connectedness talents typically have strong faith -- religious or otherwise -- and often view things in the context of how they fit into the bigger picture.

Please register for our Connectedness Webcast on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Download the Theme Thursday Companion Guide on Connectedness here to follow along with the show!







Thursday, March 17, 2016

Developing a Model for Strengths on Campus

Students Hesham Akif, left, and Jared Hain complete a
strengths worksheet in class at the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln College of Business.
by Becky McCarville

“We want to leverage strengths to give students a better opportunity to have a great job and a great life,” says Mark Pogue, Executive Director of the Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).

The Clifton Foundation and Gallup have partnered with UNL’s College of Business Administration (CBA) to establish the Don Clifton Strengths Institute and the Strengths Lab, which will reside at the new $84 million, 240,000-square-foot College of Business Administration building set to open in 2017.

Mark is using the Strengths Lab to research the best ways to implement strengths on campus and develop a model that other colleges can follow. CBA has been using StrengthsFinder for many years, but the new course provides students with strengths identification and develops their strengths through coaching. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

[Command S2] Leadership and Inspiration for Others

On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant discussed the theme of Command.




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Command is the least common theme, and therefore, it can become a caricature of a strength because people don't interact with others with high Command as often as other themes.  But once Command is understood, it easy strength to love. Command is about explosion and presence. It is never passive, but not aggressive either. Command is the kid on the playground that everyone else tends to follow. Command is the leader that pushes teams through barriers and beyond obstacles. Command has the presence, courage and ability to be clear and dispassionate in an influential way. People with Command are decisive, sometimes controlling and incredibly inspirational. They believe and operate in absolutes. People talented in the Command theme have no uncertainty. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

[GWSW] Competition: Grit, Determination and Boundless Energy

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.




Please register for our Competition Webcast on Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Download the Theme Thursday Companion Guide on Competition here to follow along with the show!









Friday, March 11, 2016

[Recap] Stop Fixating on Weaknesses, Instead Build Strengths

On a recent Called to Coach: India, we spoke to Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, R Mohan.











In the corporate world, R Mohan's partners often wanted to focus on fixing their weaknesses or their teams weaknesses. These partners would look for gaps in workflow and bottlenecks in projects. R Mohan found that this focus on weakness pervades Indian culture. He explained, "People don't like to boast or brag about themselves here culturally,. You need to give them permission to talk about their strengths because, normally, they would talk about their weaknesses."  R Mohan gives his clients, colleagues and teams this "permission" through Clifton StrengthsFinder. He explains to them that Clifton StrengthsFinder will help them perform better at work and will close the gaps in project workflow by allowing people to improve their strengths. Understanding and knowing their strengths will, according to R Mohan, "...help them understand why things aren't happening the way they should."

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Major Life Changes and Strengths

by Rosanne M. Liesveld


I rarely teach a strengths seminar where someone does not ask, “Do your strengths change if you go through a significant life change?” It seems the question often comes from a person who has encountered an event in their life that was pretty life-altering. I’ve heard people talk about those life events in reference to a major job change, a divorce, having a baby, the death of someone close to them and other meaningful incidents. Our researchers would likely say that we don’t have the longitudinal data to make a determination about this question. And sure, a big change in your life could change the way you approach things, right down to your natural patterns of behavior. But based on my understanding of human talent, I know we tend to become more of who we are as things get challenging, so my stock answer had always been, “No, usually one’s strengths don’t really change that much, no matter what the situation.” And then I became one of those people who experienced a major life change.

Monday, March 7, 2016

[Recap] "A World Built on the Strengths of its Inhabitants"

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Global Strengths Evangelist, Paul Allen.  









Paul quoted Don Clifton, "Imagine a world that was built on the strengths of its inhabitants." The Clifton Strengths movement is becoming a global phenomenon. Just this spring, a briefing on Gallup's Strengths Coaching was held in Manila for the first time and it attracted over 200 attendees in less than five days. The Clifton Strengths movement is growing exponentially in countries like India, Australia, South Africa and Singapore. In fact, Singapore is well on its way to becoming one of the first strengths-based countries. Paul also mentioned that Rhode Island will be the first strengths-based state. The governor and state government are passionate about bringing strengths to the entire Ocean State.  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

[GWSW] Communication: Great Speakers and Great Listeners


The Communication theme is predominant in people who have a natural ability for verbal expression and who can provide conceptual clarity and social connection. Communication is not only a social theme -- it also helps facilitate and guide understanding in conversation.

People with Communication typically value being understood; they want people to get what they’re saying. Those with high Communication are not only great speakers, they are also great listeners who value dialogue. Communication energizes people. People with Communication feed off of great conversation.




Please register for our Communication Webcast on Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Download the Theme Thursday Companion Guide on Communication here to follow along with the show!









Thursday, March 3, 2016

[Belief S2] An Anchor that Grounds You During the Storm


On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant discussed the theme of Belief.





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People exceptionally talented in the Belief theme have core values that are unchanging. Belief provides purpose to their lives. Belief is an executing theme -- it drives people to do what they believe and to participate in things they hold up as important. Belief is like an out of this come the purpose for their lives. Belief is like a lighthouse. It is a beacon in the darkness for others to see a person's values. Maika explained, "Gallup doesn't give a set of values to Belief, but people with high Belief often can tell you their values."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

[Recap] EP10 and Strengths in the Booming Tech World

On a recent Called to Coach: EP10 with Erin Stadler, one of the first Gallup EP10 Trained Coaches, and also a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach.








As the coordinator for a tech company accelerator, Erin has incorporated the EP10 assessment and results into her third week with start-up tech companies. EP10 helps Erin understand her individual clients, but more importantly, it helps her understand the team of entrepreneurs and their dynamics. Erin also said, "By that time, the clients can be stressed so their theme dynamics begin to pop up organically." When those theme dynamics occur, Erin said it was helpful to have a language and framework to understand them. Moreover, EP10 helps entrepreneurs understand their business partners' strengths -- and where they might best contribute to the new company.

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