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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Meet Your Strengths Coach

Gallup's Strengths Evangelist, Paul Allen
by Becky McCarville

The strengths movement continues to soar. More than 14 million people have now taken Gallup’s Clifton StrengthsFinder (CSF) assessment, and that number grows every day.

Gallup is developing technology to connect anyone who has taken CSF with a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. The technology will also allow users to connect with others who have taken the assessment, making strengths a social experience.

We recently talked with Paul Allen, Gallup’s Strengths Evangelist. Paul will be one of the speakers presenting at the
CliftonStrengths Summit, Gallup’s inaugural strengths coaching conference happening this summer in Omaha, Nebraska.

Paul also spoke about Gallup’s new strengths-based technology platform, which will premier at the summit, and how it will connect Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches with people seeking feedback after taking CSF.

A New Social Platform

Though technology is integral to the future of strengths development and coaching, people still need meaningful conversations with knowledgeable and caring strengths experts to gain the most from their CSF results.

“Strengths don’t develop because of technology,” Paul says. “Strengths develop from feedback from a strengths expert who can really help people unpack, understand and aim their strengths at their goals in life. Technology facilitates getting that conversation started with the right coach.”

Inspired by Uber and Airbnb, Gallup’s new platform, which launches in July, creates a strengths-based community that enables anyone who has taken the assessment to schedule a feedback session with a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach.

By designing a coaching marketplace similar to Uber or Airbnb, “We’ll have a matching engine that helps us recommend the right coach for the right person at the right time,” Paul says. For example, based on the criteria users input into the technology, Gallup might recommend several possible matches, and users can browse other possibilities as well. Ultimately, users will make the final choice.

Leading With Strengths

When people experience burnout and are disengaged, society and the world loses, Paul says, citing Gallup research that just 33% of U.S. employees are engaged, and only 13% of workers worldwide are engaged.

Strengths develop best in the framework of mission and purpose, Paul says, referring to Don Clifton’s book, Soar With Your Strengths. People want to love what they do and use their strengths every day at work. CSF gives people more clarity about their individual talents, and that self-awareness can affect the choices and goals they set throughout the various stages of life.

“Don [Clifton] talked about how we destroy a lot of people by expecting the wrong thing from them,” Paul says. “If you align your expectations with people’s natural talents, everybody wins. High expectations can be great, but only if those expectations are aligned with a person’s natural talents.”

Learning about strengths is an ongoing, lifelong journey. And strengths can help individuals capitalize on their unique talents when exploring career options -- they can even spark a career or life change. Coaching and frequent conversations about strengths are fundamental to increasing engagement, whether it’s at school, at work or in life.

For example, when people learn a new language, they have to practice. And the more conversations they have, the more likely they’ll become fluent in that language. Gallup wants to enable every person who takes CSF to get a feedback session with a certified coach so they can have more of meaningful conversations that can help them build their strengths.

Gallup research finds that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work and are more productive individually and in teams. Excellent quality of life is also a benefit.

“The best antidote to disengagement that I know of is learning your strengths, living your strengths and playing to your strengths for a higher good every single day of your life -- whether that’s at work or in your community,” Paul says.

Unleashing Talent

Strengths enthusiasts, practitioners and coaches will convene at the CliftonStrengths Summit July 18-20 to learn, share and network. Attendees can choose four or five topics or speakers -- out of more than 50 sessions -- that are most relevant to them, in addition to attending the major keynotes and announcements.

“The vast majority of sessions will be from experts in the field telling their stories and explaining their recipes and playbooks for deploying strengths with individuals, teams and organizations,” Paul says. “The conference is going to be the best teaching the best, and that’s the future of the strengths movement.”

The summit will offer an opportunity for strengths coaches to hone in on what matters most to them whether they’re focused on education, healthcare, small businesses, large organizations, nonprofits or other niche markets, such as helping ex-convicts discover their strengths as a way to reintegrate into society.

“To come together at a summit with 50 other people who are applying strengths with the same type of audience that you are -- all of the sudden, you’re not alone anymore,” Paul says. “Now you know 50 other people that you’re going to stay in touch with, and you’re listening to two or three of them share their ideas about what worked and what didn’t work. You go back home, and everything’s different. You’re not alone, creating your own playbook from scratch.”

In addition to Paul, who co-founded earlier in his career, featured speakers at the summit include Gallup CEO Jim Clifton and Roy Spence, co-founder and chairman of GSD&M, a leading marketing, communications and advertising company. He is also the co-founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute, a consulting firm that helps people and organizations discover and live their purpose.

Visit CliftonStrengths Summit to register for the strengths coaching conference.

Register for future webcasts.

Becky McCarville is a writer at Gallup. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is currently working toward her master's in English. 

Becky's top five strengths are: Learner, Achiever, Responsibility, Maximizer and Input.


Sharon said...

I would love to see an online gathering place where people with the same strengths could discuss their challenges and opportunities. I have primary strengths of Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Context, Strategic.

Ashis Sen said...

Agree. I have always believed that using one strengths is the best antidote to boredom and lethargy.

Ryan [ Coach Rye ]Salvanera said...

Unfortunately, I will NOT be at the summit. Still, I am so excited about that new social platform.

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