On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Derrick Jack.
Derrick Jack is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach who worked with troubled youth for 10 years before becoming a full time strengths coach. Derrick noticed that the kids he worked with could always tell you what their diagnosis was – what was “wrong” with them, but they couldn’t put into words what was right about themselves. When he came across strengths, he started to develop programs for youth to learn how to talk about their own strengths, with a focus on the professional setting to help them leverage their strengths for their future.
What was one of your first experiences that you really thought you had impact on somebody’s life with strengths?
When he started to see how strengths redefine and rename a behavior that everyone wants to stop in someone else because they don’t know how to use it. One person who he worked with had Maximizer. She always wanted things to be great, and when they weren’t she wouldn’t accept them. When she learned and the people around her learned her strengths, instead of saying she needs to stop being a perfectionist they learned how to look at it in a different way. They accepted that she likes things to be right and instead of trying to stop the behavior, they learned to try and harness it.
There are a lot of coaches that are invited to lead team sessions, what’s your best practices for leading those sessions?
Derrick likes to book about 6 hours to do team sessions. The sessions always start with answering a lot of questions around the CliftonStrengths assessment and going through the basics. He tells people their strengths are 1 in 33 million. After that, he jumps into how the group can use their strengths right now. Not tomorrow, but literally right then in the session. He asks people, “What are you thinking about me and what I’m saying?” People with Empathy will say they want to know more about him and how he’s feeling while presenting. People with Belief are trying to figure out if they believe what he’s telling them about. He demonstrates how their strengths are already directing what they’re going to take away from the class. It’s a powerful way to start thinking about how you process information.
He continues the session with demonstrating the same concept but from different angles and through different topics. He tries to spark their thoughts in many different ways. His goal is the spark their curiosity so they continue to look into and learn about their strengths after the session is over.
Any practical tools you like to use, whether from Gallup or ones you created that you like to use in your initial strengths coaching sessions?
He likes to use the concept of “inviting others towards your strengths”. He makes a big deal between the difference of “proclaiming” and “inviting”. He also likes to focus on the needs and contributions of strengths – every talent has a need and every talent has a contribution. Seeing both around each talent helps people to work together more effectively.
He uses the team strengths grids as well. Inevitably, there is always a domain that has less in it than the other three. It may or may not matter depending on the type of work/team that it is. But, if the team does need more strengths in the domain they don’t have, Derrick helps them think “how do we get what we don’t have, through what we do have.” People start thinking innovatively. It gets people thinking about what they do have to achieve what they need instead of looking to hire new people, which is not always feasible.
Any other insights you have that are best practices with a team, something that helps them reach their business goals?
Derrick likes using the positive psychology concept of “flow”. He creates a board – with anxiety on one end and “flow” in the middle. He explains that everyone has a flow – and that the goal is for everyone’s flow to fit into the goals of the company. How do we turn my flow to fit into what the company wants to accomplish? It helps individuals align themselves with the company’s or team’s goals.
It’s also good to know what concepts the company or team leader is working on, whether a book or another workplace philosophy, as well as their performance measurements and overall goals -- so he can align his session.
What’s the best of you in your coaching, what do you enjoy the most?
Derrick really digs dealing with conflict. When you have two people who need to work together but it’s not working, he likes getting their Top 5 and digging into why there could be conflict before he meets with them. Usually, people want to fix it, and he enjoys the process of getting people to see each other differently through CliftonStrengths. He starts with point out that someone’s needs are not being met or their contributions are not being valued.
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