Strengths Coaching Blog

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Using CliftonStrengths for Positive Student Mentoring - Called to Coach S5E30

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with TeamMates Mentoring Program leaders, Allyson Horne and Tess Starman.






Please describe TeamMates
  • Teammates is a school-based mentoring program
  • Started back in about 1991 with a group of about 20 mentors willing to give an hour a week in the school district
  • They were screened and trained
  • Now have close to 8,000 across Nebraska and Iowa, expanding into Wyoming, South Dakota and Kansas
  • We’re not just school-based, we’re strengths-based
  • Focused on the good; do a lot of strengths spotting
  • Grades 3-12
  • Mentors and mentees stayed matched over the years
How did it start?

  • Coach Tom Osborne founded Teammates
  • Had a vision to help students get to the post-secondary education opportunity
  • Tom was a student of Don Clifton at UNL
  • Strengths-based focus gives us the opportunity to build trust between mentors and mentees
  • There are no at risk factors that students have to have in place to be matched with a mentor
  • We believe all students deserve to have an additional, positive, caring adult in their life
  • A strengths-based mentor who will journey with them throughout their lifetime who sees what’s right with them from the very beginning 
How would you describe strengths spotting?

  • Grades 3 – 8 grade take StrengthsExplorer
  • High school students take CliftonStrengths
  • Print 3 copies of their results - 1 for the student, 1 for parents, 1 for mentor
  • We equip the mentors with the language to spot strengths in action
  • Mentees can turn into strengths spotters as well
  • If I can look at and notice something that is right and then say this is great about you, it builds on your sense of self
What training do mentors get?

  • The mentors we’re equipping don’t need to be coaches
  • When mentors sign up they go through a 2 ½-3 hour new mentor training
  • Right from the beginning we don’t just focus on policy and procedure
  • We focus on relationship building; showing up and being a good listener
  • Listen to whatever your mentee wants to talk about; be present in that moment and listen
  • Meet once a week during the school year, for usually about 40 minutes, over many years
  • I’m there for you unconditionally, I’m still going to show up and affirm what is right about you
  • This focuses on hope and research shows that highly hopeful kids do amazing things
  • If they’re looking forward to seeing you, they’ll be more hopeful and more engaged
  • Mentors show higher engagement, too
  • Doesn’t require massive training or education
  • If you want to build hope in another person, just show up and focus on what is right about them
  • Reciprocal strengths spotting happens


How have you seen the impact in your own kids?

  • Received my strengths-based education certificate in 2010
  • Learning my Top 5 was mind-blowing-I felt like someone had been following me around my whole life taking notes about the way that I uniquely see the world
  • Understanding our kids’ strengths helped us realize more about them and changed the way we parented
  • I know where they shine and it’s very different from me
How are you using strengths inside Teammates?

  • All of us know our strengths
  • Tess and I offer strengths coaching to all of our staff
  • Every one of our staff meetings or development days start with a strength activity
  • We take the activities that our mentors use and practice them
  • This gives us insight into what works or what needs to be tweaked
  • I think about strengths all the time, even when I’m sending email to staff
  • Everyone looks at support differently and needs different things
  • Look at how you can honor other people’s strengths
  • Encourage staff to do strengths spotting with each other
  • We have 20 FTE in central office staff
  • How do you know they are engaged?  We do Q12 measurement
  • We have 140 chapters of Teammates each with a coordinator
  • We bring them together for Gallup Strengths day to learn and take learning back to their community 
  • The ripple effect continues 
Q&A

  • % success rate?  We have not yet begun to measure that
  • How do we measure the impact of equipping people to know what’s right about one another?
  • It’s a challenge to define success…what does that mean?
  • We track grades, attendance, and behavior
  • Also Gallup’s measurement of hope
  • Our mentees are more likely to graduate from high school for the state of Nebraska
  • We utilize Gallup Student Poll with students matched to a mentor – it measures engagement, hope and strengths  (gallupstudentpoll.com)
  • How did you forge relationships with school districts?
  • We’ve had very positive school district engagement
  • Knowing there is a safe, adult friend willing to meet with a student is very positive
  • How do you choose your strengths-based mentors?
  • It’s the willingness to show up, they go through a screening, interview and training process
  • We don’t match based on strengths, best match based on common interests
  • Our coordinators know the kids
  • No certain skill set is required of the mentors, just showing up is most important
  • Can you help other chapters get going?  Check out the Teammates web site
  • Also look at Mentoring.org for establishing a mentor program

How do you get parents engaged?

  • Parents have to give permission for the child to participate
  • They get a parent handbook and learn more about the role of the mentor
  • If the mentee does strengths, the parents get a copy of their results
  • We equip parents with the login and code for StrengthsExplorer so they can use all of the activities there
  • We use an activity from StrengthsExplorer
  • Find someone you don’t normally interact with; share something you recently did that you’re proud of; when did it happen and what strengths/talents brought that to the table
  • We encourage mentors to be the recipients of brags
  • Parents are very excited about strengths
  • They love hearing good news come home from school
  • Have you leveraged the strengths-based parenting resources?  Yes for those that express interest
  • We provide codes for matched mentors and mentees 
Have you worked with the Gallup Purdue index?
  • Mentoring is mentioned as the second piece in that
  • We don’t use it at Teammates
  • Our former mentees are becoming mentors themselves
Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Cheryl S. Pace, contributed to this post. 

Join us at the 2018 CliftonStrengths to learn more about improving your workplace through strengths. Register today before early bird pricing ends! 

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!



Allyson Horne is a Training and Support Specialist for TeamMates Mentoring Program and has worked in the field of mentoring as a mentor, program coordinator and regional director for over 10 years.  Allyson earned her certificate in Strength-Based Education from the Clifton division of Gallup University in 2010 and coordinates program-wide training and strength-based education for the TeamMates Mentoring Program. She has presented at Gallup’s Strength in Education Conference for institutes of higher learning, the National Mentoring Summit on Strengths Mentoring, and consecutive years at the Midlands and Iowa Mentoring Partnership’s annual conferences.

Allyson’s top five strengths are: Input, Communication, Strategic, Woo, Empathy.



Tess Starman is the Data & Match Support Specialist for the TeamMates Mentoring Program. She is the database administrator and responsible for collecting all company data, providing metrics and measuring outcomes to ensure the effectiveness of TeamMates. She also assists in the implementation of CliftonStrengths within the mentoring program.

Tess's top five strengths are: Context, Adaptability, Strategic, Learner, Individualization.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Intellection

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Several years ago while watching Late Night with David Letterman, Dave turned to his band leader Paul Shaffer and said – with self-deprecating humor, “You know, Paul, there’s no off position on the genius switch.” I always laugh when I remember that image, but it’s the phrase that I think best fits Intellection. Always thinking, always pondering, always the internal hum of the turbines of the mind. Satchel Paige is said to have mused, “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” Intellection cannot relate to that quote, because there is no time that is not thinking time. For those high in Intellection, thinking is synonymous with doing. Individuals who have Intellection in their Top Five are introspective and need time for musing and reflection. “Let me think about it and get back to you” are words those high in Intellection utter on a regular basis. Descartes famous phrase “I think, therefore I am” succinctly sums up the point of view of Intellection.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the differences and similarities between Intellection— a thinking theme – and Learner, Input, and Analytical – three other thinking themes.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Powerful Partnership through Acceptance: A Deep Dive into 1 of the 8 Elements of Collaboration

By Tonya Fredstrom and Adam Hickman


If you’ve read Gallup’s Power of 2, you know the eight elements of creating powerful partnerships: Complementary Strengths, Common Mission, Fairness, Trust, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Communicating and Unselfishness. Beginning a partnership with purposeful attention to complementary strengths is a good starting point, but how do you continue to grow a “Power of 2” that yields greater results than either partner could achieve alone? What we’ve learned may be helpful as you work with your clients to become more intentional about forming, developing and maximizing partnerships. 

Partnerships are quickly and easily formed with people most like yourself. However in our case, Adam was new to Gallup whereas I had been with Gallup several years, so we didn’t know if we were like each other or not when our manager first asked us to partner on a project. As we worked together, we got a clearer picture of how we were alike — and how we were different. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Input

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Some of the most meaningful moments I’ve had in the last three years came while I had the extreme privilege of co-leading Strengths Coaching courses with Gallup’s Strengths Guru, the late Curt Liesveld.  I always learned so much from Curt – about Strengths, about coaching, and about life. One of the many things I learned from Curt was the value of comparing and contrasting. Curt would often say that one of the best ways of gaining clarity on themes was to do what your English teacher asked you to do in essays:  “compare and contrast.”  Just as this process helped students better understand what were often times complex concepts, it can also help coaches better understand the intricacies of different themes. 

Any theme, when paired with another, takes on the power and edge of its partner.  So the beauty in understanding how two themes work together lies in the opportunity it provides as coaches.  We can help people understand they are not either one theme or another, but the combination and of several themes altogether.  

 If you’re ready to take your understanding of individual themes to the next level, this activity of compare and contrast will help you better coach around the themes of talent  This installment compares and contrasts Input with Learner, Analytical, and Includer.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Strengths Circle of Competence: A Powerful Concept for Reaching Success

By Carlos Martinez



Puzzle pieces and upward graphCompetence is defined as the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. As an individual and a leader, I always strive to display competence by leveraging my own strengths to maximize the strengths of others. I am privileged to have the opportunity to do this each day while directing a manufacturing site that employs individuals with a wide range of educational backgrounds, from high school graduates to those with doctoral degrees. It is my mission to help individuals achieve success by understanding their strengths and aligning them to a role with an aim for performance excellence. 

When individuals understand that leveraging their strengths leads to efficient and successful achievement of their goals — competency — they can more clearly identify the areas that may lead to the opposite result. We can visualize such practical knowledge as a circle. Everything inside the circle is a strength, and everything outside the circle is not. This is our strengths circle of competence.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Futuristic: Creating a Vivid Picture of the Future - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Futuristic with guest Travis Guse. 





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“Wouldn’t it be great if ...” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests — a better product, a better team, a better life or a better world — it will always be inspirational to you. 

You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future, and they energize you. They can energize others too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Strengths: A Way to Help People Find Their Voice - Called to Coach - S5E28

On a recent Called to Coach Australia Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Kate Cawthorn.







Kate Cawthorn is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of Speakers Institute. As a regular speaker at events, Kate has travelled across Australia and internationally, and has helped over one thousand people discover their CliftonStrengths. 

When you think back to your Accelerated Strengths Coaching course and when you were coming to terms with your top 5, can you talk about that?
Being in a room with an amazing group of people and hearing about their businesses and what they were doing with coaching and strengths, Kate felt envious of their strengths. Strengths like Focus, Discipline and Strategic that helped her classmates put a well-structured coaching business together. She felt she had all the mushy ones. 

“It was a blind spot for me to see a value in my strengths. Before the coaching space, I hadn’t been able to see the value.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Ideation

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Woman PaintingThose with strong Ideation talents are fascinated by ideas. A new idea makes their day, and often times the ideas come like popcorn. I had a colleague high in Ideation who said she would often vow to stay quiet during team meetings, but at around the 20-minute mark found herself clutching the edge of the table in order to keep all the ideas from bursting forth. I see three aspects to Ideation: Creativity, Complexity, and Connectivity. Ideation can be very creative, and the creativity can take two forms. One is a blue sky, blank canvas approach. Some with Ideation high are at their best creating something out of nothing. The other form of creativity is reacting to and improving/changing that which already exists – looking at something and thinking, “What if we did this, or changed this? What would it look like if we turned it around this way?” Ideation loves complexity, often just for the sheer sake of the intricacy of it all. One individual with Ideation in his Top Five is fascinated with Medieval European history – not because he has Context, but because that era of history is so complex and variated. Ideation also loves to make the complex simple and find the common thread. The connectivity of Ideation comes from the ability to see and find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena or ideas. Finding the connection is a particular thrill for those high in Ideation.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the similarities and differences between Ideation and Intellection, Futuristic, and Input.  All of these themes are thinking themes, so there are many similarities among them. But the differences, while often subtle, are important.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Celebrating You for Combating Strengths Skepticism

By Tim Simon


Strengths and Weakness wheelIn 2016, the CEO of a well-known assessment company wrote a review of the CliftonStrengths assessment in a prestigious business magazine. I think three statements pretty much sum up the review: 

1.   Strengths-based coaching weakens individuals.
2.   We would be better off if society ended its fascination with strengths.
3.   If an organization’s focus is to make people productive and effective, then they should work on mitigating people’s weaknesses.

I can respect those who disagree with the science and functionality of the CliftonStrengths assessment, although there is ample evidence that the CliftonStrengths assessment is valid, reliable and practical. Gallup’s 2015 meta-analysis of individuals who received strengths-based development confirms the practical and measurable results of the assessment. More than 17 million individuals have taken the CliftonStrengths assessment, and the number of individuals and organizations using the tool continues to grow each day. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Context: Looking to the Past to Discover a Powerful Future - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Context with guest Marty Monte. 





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You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the present. From your vantage point, the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time, a time when the plans were being drawn up, that the present regains its stability. The earlier time was a simpler time. It was a time of blueprints. As you look back, you begin to see these blueprints emerge. You realize what the initial intentions were. These blueprints or intentions have since become so embellished that they are almost unrecognizable, but now this Context theme reveals them again. 

This understanding brings you confidence. No longer disoriented, you make better decisions because you sense the underlying structure. You become a better partner because you understand how your colleagues came to be who they are. And counterintuitively, you become wiser about the future because you saw its seeds being sown in the past. Faced with new people and new situations, it will take you a little time to orient yourself, but you must give yourself this time. You must discipline yourself to ask the questions and allow the blueprints to emerge because no matter what the situation, if you haven’t seen the blueprints, you will have less confidence in your decisions

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Futuristic

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Man looking at a future city“What’s next? … Here’s where we should be in ten years. … Future generations will thank us. … We need to do some long-range planning. … Here’s my vision of what we could become.” These are all statements that individuals high in Futuristic have likely said or thought at one time or another.  Futuristic sees tomorrow in vivid detail, anticipates or imagines what could be, and inspires others with that vision. Futuristic is not content with the status quo, but rather is inspired but what the organization, relationship, the situation can become. Those with Futuristic in their Top Five often spend so much time thinking about and envisioning the future that today can seem like the past.  Futuristic challenges an organization or team to think beyond quarterly results and create a plan that will bring long term success. Forecasts and projections energize those with strong Futuristic talents, and their approach to problem solving is far less concerned with how we got here than with where we are going.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast I examine the similarities and differences between Futuristic and Strategic, Consistency, and Positivity.

Friday, September 22, 2017

BP10 Quarterly Update - Called to Coach S5E29

On a recent BP10 Quarterly Update, we spoke with Gallup Global Channel Leader, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation, Todd Johnson.




The BP10 just passed 100,000 completes. It’s not 17 million like the CliftonStrengths assessment, but we’re on our way! About 60,000 of the 100,000 completes are students, with over 20 countries participating. We’re going to start running frequencies on the BP10 completes, we’ll be looking at prevalence. What is the number one builder talent? What is the most rare? Stay tuned for more data on that.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Builder Talent in Action: Will This Disruptor Solve America’s Job Problems?

By Jessica Buono

Have you ever heard of a job factory?

You will soon. 


Jason Walker will change the world. He can’t help but take ideas and transform them into something valuable. He continuously seeks out and discovers novel solutions and new paths that anticipate the needs of communities, businesses and customers. 

Jason pushes beyond boundaries in ways that others would never imagine, and he’s good at it.

You see, Jason is a Disruptor. And job factories and corporate venture factories are his latest disruptions.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Analytical: The Insistence that Theories be Sound - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Analytical with Gallup's Benjamin Erikson-Farr. 





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Your Analytical theme challenges other people: “Prove it. Show me why what you are claiming is true.” In the face of this kind of questioning, some will find that their brilliant theories wither and die. For you, this is precisely the point. You do not necessarily want to destroy other people’s ideas, but you do insist that their theories be sound. You see yourself as objective and dispassionate. You like data because they are value free. They have no agenda. Armed with these data, you search for patterns and connections. 

You want to understand how certain patterns affect one another. How do they combine? What is their outcome? Does this outcome fit with the theory being offered or the situation being confronted? These are your questions. You peel the layers back until, gradually, the root cause or causes are revealed. Others see you as logical and rigorous. Over time, they will come to you in order to expose someone’s “wishful thinking” or “clumsy thinking” to your refining mind. It is hoped that your analysis is never delivered too harshly. Otherwise, others may avoid you when that “wishful thinking” is their own.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Coaching Q&A With Dean Jones - Called to Coach S5E27

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Talent Development Architect, Dean Jones.






Dean Jones is the principal architect of Gallup's global client learning strategy. Dean consults with clients on strategic solutions to address key business issues, including organizational development, performance management, learning and development, productivity and workforce effectiveness.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Context

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Woman looking back in a rearview mirror. Where have we been? What has worked before? What hasn’t? How did we get here? Are there prior best practices we can implement? These are all questions individuals high in Context are likely to ask. Context focuses on understanding the past in order to make sense of the present, and to chart a course forward. Those with strong Context talents are very likely to enjoy history, look to the “blueprints,” and become wiser about the future because they understand the past.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I examine the differences and similarities between Context and Analytical, Connectedness, and Restorative.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Positive Psychology in Practice: Each Moment Matters

By Tim Simon


In 2004, Gallup published the book How Full Is Your Bucket? The book was a collaboration between Don Clifton and his grandson, Tom Rath.

In the book, Don and Tom discuss the importance of everyday interactions and how increasing the positive interactions can make a big difference in a person’s life, stressing that, “Positive emotions are essential daily requirements for survival.” Essential daily requirements. It almost sounds like a slogan for a daily vitamin. But this statement is grounded in years of solid research, beginning with Don’s work at the University of Nebraska in the 1950s and continuing today with hundreds of scientists around the globe.    

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize recipient and Gallup Senior Scientist Emeritus, suggests that each day, we experience approximately 20,000 moments. A “moment” is defined as a few seconds when our brains record an experience. The moments that stay with us are either positive or negative -- usually not neutral. While we cannot take time to analyze each moment of our life, we could consciously begin to practice the art of increasing the number of positive interactions each day. Think about how just one positive interaction can turn your day around. Think about how these daily interactions can change your life and those you connect with.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Analytical

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Analytical Magnifying Glass
Analytical is what I call a “questioning” theme – people high in Analytical tend to ask a lot of questions. The questions they ask are most likely of the “prove it to me” variety:  “Where did you get that information? What does the data say? Have you done your homework? What are your sources? What is the evidence to back it up? How do you know this will work?” Analytical focuses on the facts, figures, data, and evidence to come to conclusions and find patterns. Before acting, individuals with Analytical in their Top Five will weigh the evidence, study the data, and make an informed decision – then take action. Sound thinking is the hallmark of Analytical, and objectivity is the goal.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I will explore the similarities and differences between Analytical and Strategic, Learner, and Focus.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Executive Coaching - Called to Coach S5E26

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Glenn Williams.






Glenn Williams is the CEO and founder of Outward Looking International (OLI), a leadership consulting company which he launched in 2010. Glenn spent more than 25 years as a psychologist and an executive across 40 countries before starting OLI. OLI's mission is to change the ways leaders think and behave in regards to performance. Glenn's top five strengths are Learner, Arranger, Strategic, Achiever and Responsibility.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Relator: Cultivating Relationships with Depth and Longevity - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Relator with guest Ryan Salvanera. 





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Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people — in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends — but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship.

You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears and their dreams, and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk — you might be taken advantage of — but you are willing to accept that risk. For you, a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Are You a Bad Manager? How to Ensure Your Answer is No

By Paul Walters


Man Stopping Dominoes From Falling“How’s work?” I asked over drinks with a friend. It didn’t take long for our conversation to center on good versus bad management practices. I’ll save some of the choice words my friend used to describe her boss, but the general themes were micromanagement, caring more about process than outcomes, weakness-focus, lack of recognition, and the list continued.    

I then asked how she felt. She dreaded going into work; used all possible days off available; loathed having to meet with him; and felt undervalued, demotivated, and a general heaviness. It had gotten so bad that she refused to talk to her partner about it because talking about it wasn’t cathartic — it only made her more miserable. No wonder we were meeting for drinks. She needed some help, she needed an outlet, she had to escape the negative experience she felt trapped inside. 

She then turned to me and said, “Okay. You work for Gallup. Tell me what to do.” I thought for a second and said, “Well I actually can probably offer more to him than I can you.”

Think about some complaints you’ve heard from family, friends and colleagues about their work. What is one consistent grievance that you hear? More likely than not, it is about that individual’s manager. That’s because, put simply, some managers shouldn’t be managing. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Relator

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

Group of people using Relator ThemeIf you have Relator as one of your Signature Themes of talent, it’s very likely that you have an inner circle – a small group of friends that you’ve likely had for a long time, maybe even since childhood. And that inner circle is hard to get into, and even harder to get kicked out of. Relator is selective, and tends to be slow and cautious in establishing relationships.  There is an authenticity about those strong in Relator talents that draws others to them, that makes others want to trust them.  This is one of the paradoxical attributes of Relator: People tend to want to open up to those high in Relator – far more so than those with high Relator want to open up with them until they get to know them.  I call it the “trustability” factor of Relator – Relators are trustworthy, don’t betray confidences, and are genuine and authentic because they themselves value authenticity. Those with Relator in their Top Five enjoy working hard with people they know and trust, and given the choice between attending a party where they would get to meet a lot of new people or having dinner with a few close friends, Relator chooses the latter.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the similarities and differences between Relator and Empathy, Individualization, and Developer. Like Relator, all three of these themes are primarily relationship building themes, so they each have much in common with Relator.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Strengths-Based Mentoring in Schools with TeamMates - Called to Coach S5E25

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Allyson Horne, the Training and Support Specialist for TeamMates mentoring program.







Allyson Horne is a Training and Support Specialist for TeamMates Mentoring Program, a school-based and strengths-based mentoring program for kids in grades 3-12. Teammates was founded in the 1990’s by Coach Tom Osborne. The program started with a group of about 20 mentors and they now have close to 8,000 mentors across Nebraska and Iowa, expanding into Wyoming, South Dakota and Kansas.

How did TeamMates start?

  • Coach Tom Osborne had a vision to help students get to the post-secondary education opportunity
  • Tom was a student of Don Clifton at UNL
  • Strengths-based focus gives us the opportunity to build trust between mentors and mentees
  • There are no at risk factors that students have to have in place to be matched with a mentor
  • We believe all students deserve to have an additional, positive, caring adult in their life
  • A strengths-based mentor who will journey with them throughout their lifetime who sees what’s right with them from the very beginning

How would you describe strengths spotting?

  • Grades 3 – 8 grade take StrengthsExplorer
  • High school students take CliftonStrengths
  • Print 3 copies of their results - 1 for the student, 1 for parents, 1 for mentor
  • We equip the mentors with the language to spot strengths in action
  • Mentees can turn into strengths spotters as well
  •  If I can look at and notice something that is right and then say this is great about you, it builds on your sense of self

What training do mentors get?

  • The mentors we’re equipping don’t need to be coaches
  • When mentors sign up they go through a 2 ½-3 hour new mentor training
  • Right from the beginning we don’t just focus on policy and procedure
  • We focus on relationship building; showing up and being a good listener
  • Listen to whatever your mentee wants to talk about; be present in that moment and listen
  • Meet once a week during the school year, for usually about 40 minutes, over many years
  • I’m there for you unconditionally, I’m still going to show up and affirm what is right about you
  • This focuses on hope and research shows that highly hopeful kids do amazing things
  • If they’re looking forward to seeing you, they’ll be more hopeful and more engaged
  • Mentors show higher engagement, too
  • Doesn’t require massive training or education
  • If you want to build hope in another person, just show up and focus on what is right about them
  • Reciprocal strengths spotting happens

How have you seen the impact in your own kids?

  • Received my strengths-based education certificate in 2010
  • Learning my Top 5 was mind-blowing-I felt like someone had been following me around my whole life taking notes about the way that I uniquely see the world
  • Understanding our kids’ strengths helped us realize more about them and changed the way we parented
  • I know where they shine and it’s very different from me

How are you using strengths inside Teammates?

  • All of us know our strengths
  • Tess and I offer strengths coaching to all of our staff
  • Every one of our staff meetings or development days start with a strength activity
  • We take the activities that our mentors use and practice them
  • This gives us insight into what works or what needs to be tweaked
  • I think about strengths all the time, even when I’m sending email to staff
  • Everyone looks at support differently and needs different things
  • Look at how you can honor other people’s strengths
  • Encourage staff to do strengths spotting with each other
  • We have 20 FTE in central office staff
  • How do you know they are engaged?  We do Q12 measurement
  • We have 140 chapters of Teammates each with a coordinator
  • We bring them together for Gallup Strengths day to learn and take learning back to their community
  • The ripple effect continues

Q&A

  • % success rate?  We have not yet begun to measure that
  • How do we measure the impact of equipping people to know what’s right about one another?
  • It’s a challenge to define success…what does that mean?
  • We track grades, attendance and behavior
  • Also Gallup’s measurement of hope
  • Our mentees are more likely to graduate from high school for the state of Nebraska
  • We utilize Gallup Student Poll with students matched to a mentor – it measures engagement, hope and strengths  (gallupstudentpoll.com)
  • How did you forge relationships with school districts?
  • We’ve had very positive school district engagement
  • Knowing there is a safe, adult friend willing to meet with a student is very positive
  • How do you choose your strengths-based mentors?
  • It’s the willingness to show up, they go through a screening, interview and training process
  • We don’t match based on strengths, best match based on common interests
  • Our coordinators know the kids
  • No certain skill set is required of the mentors, just showing up is most important
  • Can you help other chapters get going?  Check out the Teammates web site
  • Also look at Mentoring.org for establishing a mentor program
  • How do you get parents engaged?
  • Parents have to give permission for the child to participate
  • They get a parent handbook and learn more about the role of the mentor
  • If the mentee does strengths, the parents get a copy of their results
  • We equip parents with the login and code for StrengthsExplorer so they can use all of the activities there
  • We use an activity from StrengthsExplorer
  • Find someone you don’t normally interact with; share something you recently did that you’re proud of; when did it happen and what strengths/talents brought that to the table
  • We encourage mentors to be the recipients of brags
  • Parents are very excited about strengths
  • They love hearing good news come home from school
  • Have you leveraged the strengths-based parenting resources?  Yes for those that express interest
  • We provide codes for matched mentors and mentees

Have you worked with the Gallup Purdue index?

  • Mentoring is mentioned as the second piece in that
  • We don’t use it at Teammates
  • Our former mentees are becoming mentors themselves

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!

Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Cheryl S. Pace, contributed to this post.



Allyson Horne is a Training and Support Specialist for TeamMates Mentoring Program and has worked in the field of mentoring as a mentor, program coordinator and regional director for over 10 years.  Allyson earned her certificate in Strength-Based Education from the Clifton division of Gallup University in 2010 and coordinates program-wide training and strength-based education for the TeamMates Mentoring Program. She has presented at Gallup’s Strength in Education Conference for institutes of higher learning, the National Mentoring Summit on Strengths Mentoring, and consecutive years at the Midlands and Iowa Mentoring Partnership’s annual conferences.

Allyson’s top five strengths are: Input, Communication, Strategic, Woo, Empathy.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

4 Steps to Maximizing Your CliftonStrengths Team Grid

By Diane Obrist and Therese Nisbet


Coaches working with managers and teams are often quickly attracted to the CliftonStrengths team grid, a visual representation of individuals’ talent across the four domains of leadership.  But simply showing a grid to a team can be unhelpful — even damaging. The CliftonStrengths team grid is a tool to enhance your coaching. It can lead to important discoveries for individuals and teams. Maximizing this valuable tool requires some preparation — simplified below in four easy-to-follow steps:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Empathy: Seeing the World Through Others' Eyes - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Empathy with Gallup's Josh Foster.





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You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament — this would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. 

This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need. Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings — to themselves as well as to others. You help them give voice to their emotional life. For all these reasons, other people are drawn to you.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Live From the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit - Called to Coach S5E24

This special edition of Called to Coach was recorded live at the CliftonStrengths Summit on July 19, 2017. Watch this session to hear the latest about the coaching world from our Gallup Called to Coach hosts, including Jim Collison, Paul Allen, Faith Gaines, Claire DeCarteret, Blanca Garcia and Bruce Young. 




2018 CliftonStrengths Summit site is coming soon. Stay tuned for registration details.

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!
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