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Friday, February 24, 2017

How to Build Hope in the Classroom With the Gallup Student Poll - Called to Coach: Linda Lenord - S5E5

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Linda Lenord.

Linda Lenord is a senior executive at Heritage Christian School in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. She is responsible for culture, support and innovation. She also runs her own coaching/consulting business called Assist Global and she consults with other schools who want to implement a strengths-based approach.

Heritage Christian School is the first school in Australia to pilot the Gallup Student Poll (GSP) and uses a strengths-based approach as well. Her school would like to collect the GSP data for years 5 through 13 for all students. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Deliberative

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

Of the over 12 million people who have taken the Clifton StrengthsFinder worldwide, 11% have Deliberative among their top five Signature Themes of talent. This makes it one of the rarer Signature Themes, and as such can often be misunderstood or mistaken for other themes.  In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I look at the similarities and differences between Deliberative and Analytical, Context, and Responsibility. All four of these themes tend to be serious (depending on the other themes that surround them) – but what drives the serious nature of each of these themes is different and unique to each theme.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Why Career Coaching Helps College Students - Called to Coach: Satyendra Kumar - S5E3

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Satyendra Kumar.

Satyendra (Saty) Kumar is the founder and CEO of SATYSSPARKS, a strengths coaching business in India. Saty’s business develops strengths and career guidance tools to make it easier to introduce and apply strengths for students and professor. He has seen many students thrive after receiving coaching around their strengths. He says students who learn their Top 5 start to understand how to prepare for the career they have chosen, or even how to choose their coursework and major to better suit their strengths. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Arranger - How to Sort Through the Clutter and Turn Chaos Into Order – 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 Arranger with guest Angela Belden Martinez.


You are a conductor. When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, you enjoy managing all of the variables, aligning and realigning them until you are sure you have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible. In your mind, there is nothing special about what you are doing. You are simply trying to figure out the best way to get things done. But others, lacking this theme, will be in awe of your ability. “How can you keep so many things in your head at once?” they will ask. “How can you stay so flexible, so willing to shelve well-laid plans in favor of some brand-new configuration that has just occurred to you?” But you cannot imagine behaving in any other way. You are a shining example of effective flexibility, whether you are changing travel schedules at the last minute because a better fare has popped up or mulling over just the right combination of people and resources to accomplish a new project. From the mundane to the complex, you are always looking for the perfect configuration. Of course, you are at your best in dynamic situations. Confronted with the unexpected, some complain that plans devised with such care cannot be changed, while others take refuge in the existing rules or procedures. You don’t do either. Instead, you jump into the confusion, devising new options, hunting for new paths of least resistance and figuring out new partnerships — because, after all, there might just be a better way.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Is Your Coaching Truly Strengths-Based?

By Cathy DeWeese

Am I really a strengths-based coach? Well, sure I am, you might say. I use the CliftonStrengths assessment, and I love what it provides. I can recite my dominant themes in order, and I even include them on my emails. I always have my clients take CliftonStrengths and work to memorize their reports.  At school, work, church, in the line at the grocery store — I spot strengths and talk strengths wherever I go. I have my strengths tattooed in ornate lettering on my forearm and an 8x10 framed picture of Don Clifton on my bedside table. OK … maybe not those last two, but I do sport a pretty amazing T-shirt showcasing my top five. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Consistency

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

Consistency is in the bottom five of my Clifton Strengths theme sequence, sitting at number 32, so I don’t have a great personal understanding of this theme. I needed a “poster child,” someone with strong Consistency talents that I could look to as an example. As it turns out, my father-in-law is my poster child – he had Consistency in his Top Five. He hated to see anyone disadvantaged by their life circumstances, and it drove him nuts when people got special privileges because of their status. To him, everyone deserved to be treated the same, and the rules applied to everyone. Fairness was a big deal to him. In his last five years of employment at the meat packing plant, he was the union representative – and one of the most effective ones the plant ever had. He had the respect and trust of both the frontline workers and management, because both sides knew he was working for what was fair and right and equitable for everyone. He was consistent.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I will look at the differences and similarities between Consistency and Harmony, Includer, and Context.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Navigating Tough Team Dynamics: Strengths-Based Coaching When Collaboration and Trust Are Low

By Mara Hoogerhuis

Teamwork is increasingly becoming more complex. People often must work together from various offices and different teams to communicate and align work despite frequently changing environments. Unlocking and solving what it takes to create great teamwork could be the key to the 21st century’s greatest leadership challenge: building a culture of high performance.

So, it is no surprise that as productive and collaborative teamwork becomes more critical and elusive, the need to coach and intervene where teamwork has gone awry also increases. Naturally, individuals who have seen the value of the strengths-based philosophy and CliftonStrengths tool in their own lives see the impact that the approach could bring to a team. While the impact can be powerful, I’ve found that the temptation can be high to see the CliftonStrengths tool as a silver bullet and an end rather than a means to creating strong teams. And the challenges and stakes are additively higher when working with dysfunctional teams where relationships are few and trust is limited.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Achiever - Living With a Whisper of Discontent - Theme Thursday Season 3

Theme Thursday is a Gallup Webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths Themes, one at a time.

Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day, you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day — workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an Achiever, you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to get you started on new tasks, new challenges. It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your workgroup. It is the theme that keeps you moving.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Strengths Coaching for Adult Learners at Azusa Pacific University College - Gallup Called to Coach: Christin Roberson - S5E2

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths.
We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches
maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world.

Christin Roberson is a Success Coach at Azusa Pacific University College and has completed Gallup’s Accelerated Strengths Coaching course. She uses CliftonStrengths to discuss new student’s talent themes with them and helps them develop strategies to use their strengths effectively in their studies, as a professional and in their personal life. She works primarily with online adult learners and non-traditional aged students (first degree, multiple degrees, or mid-career/after-career degrees). Her Top 5 CliftonStrengths, Relator, Learner, Achiever, Developer, and Deliberative, facilitate her ability to build deep relationships with her students. 

About the Azusa Success Coach Program
Azusa Pacific highly values their ability to provide that support to students who many not have received such support at previous institutions. The 1400-1600 new students who enroll in Azusa each year get assigned to one of Azusa’s Success Coaches. The Success Coaches supports these students from the beginning to the end of their program. 

Phone calls, google chat, screen sharing, and emails are the primary form of communication with these students. The coaches and students often don’t meet in person, but this allows adult learners to balance their time between academics and their lives outside of campus. 

Questions for Christin:

What did Gallup’s Accelerated Strengths Coaching Course give you?
The course provided her with more language around CliftonStrengths than she’s ever had before. It gave her relevant resources and ideas to create individualized plans to help Azusa Pacific students achieve their specific goals. The resources from the training that were most helpful included: information around values (values cards/connections to talent and strengths) and pairing strengths (theme dynamics).

Any new a-ha moments for you from the Gallup Strengths Coaching kit?
The materials around the values that go with strengths. Starting with values can bring the theme definitions out if they sound foreign to the students at first. Also, the information around pairing themes together (Curt’s book).

As a student what would I expect to interface with strengths?
Students enrolled in the UC101 Success in the University (intro course for first year students) are required to purchase SF2.0, take the assessment, engage in an online discussion with their peers, and required to have a conversation with their assigned strengths coach within the first 8 weeks of being on campus. 

Universities tend to use StrengthsQuest materials rather than StrengthsFinder 2.0. Azusa requires students purchase SF 2.0 mainly because some of the contents in SQ was not applicable to the adult learner population. They did combine the applicable parts from SQ (i.e., academics) to complement SF 2.0 contents. 

What is the best of your program?  What are you most excited about?
Helping people make the connection between their top 5 and their career. 

What path do you lead them down to get to a suggest career?
In order to do this, Azusa staff "zoom out" by asking background questions about their motivation to pursue education, their personal goals, career goals.  By asking questions and listening, coaches are able to pick up on comments that link to a strengths-based conversation and weave CSF into the conversation.  This helps the student come up with some of their own solutions based on reflecting on their Top 5.

You came to the Accelerated Strengths Coaching course with some other higher education people, what did you talk about?
Generally, when higher education professionals gather, we speak about the state of higher education. Currently, it sounds a little dire with schools closing (for profit and non-profit), lack of engagement, different population of students, different types of students and how we support them, career challenges and pressures on students, unpacking students' career expectations versus what they will actually enjoy and thrive in.  

At the course, we discussed how CliftonStrengths might be more helpful than other solutions in higher education (both with students and with higher education professionals). The tide is changing in higher education and it is placing more emphasis on numbers (i.e., graduation rates, admissions numbers, retention). This emphasis may be changing the game for higher education professionals and challenge us. How can we as higher education leaders help each other overcome the challenges through a strengths perspective?

What are some suggested resources for academic / higher education professionals?
You need partners and buy-in from people who will be advocates for using CliftonStrengths in the university-setting. Sometimes the work of strengths can get stuck in one area or one department when we want to make it a university-wide initiative. Getting together in groups to talk about CliftonStrengths is beneficial.

Start with the research from Gallup (Facebook group, Called to Coach, Gallup website and resources). The work in higher education around strengths is a little small due to larger priorities on the higher education scene, which is why the summit and the ACS certification was so helpful.  It connects you to professionals who are using CliftonStrengths on campuses. However, those larger priorities in higher education could benefit from a strengths perspective.

For coaches who are already in a career counseling center, what advice would you give?

  • There are a number of resources in the Gallup Strengths Center, start there.
  • Gather research and data that Gallup has already pulled together
  • Talk to other advocates on campus; talk about it collectively
  • Don’t let it get stuck in one area, make it a campus-wide initiative

If I were an external coach, how could I help you? Or can they?
Coaches may be needed to help support coaching of staff and faculty. Consultant work is needed to help support universities that want to expand their strengths-based efforts.
External coaches need to learn about higher education operations and how to connect CliftonStrengths with university operations (students, faculty, staff, programmatic, training and development, goals, etc).
Partner with a faculty member or a staff member to guest lecture in one or two classes. The best places for strengths conversations to get started depends upon the university and who is open to starting a new initiative.  Sometimes it is student success, career services, academic advising (especially with those who focus on appreciative advising), etc.  Once you have a connection, it's essential to create a strategic plan to expand CliftonStrengths on campus.

To hear more about coaching strengths for organizations, individuals and coaches, please watch the full video or listen to the audio above.

Don't miss out on early bird pricing! Register now for the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit.

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!

Christin Roberson, Ed.M, is a Student Success Supervisor at Azusa Pacific University College. She works with non-traditional, adult students in an online format. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Azusa Pacific University and recently completed Gallup’s Accelerated Strengths Coaching courses in December 2016. 

Azusa Pacific University College’s Strengths Week Site:

Christin's Top Five Strengths are: Relator, Learner, Achiever, Developer and Deliberative

Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches, Cheryl S. Pace and Rachel Carpenter contributed to this post.
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