Strengths Coaching Blog

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Self-Assurance

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

The theme of Self-Assurance is characterized by a strong internal compass: those high in Self-Assurance are confident in their own ability to lead their own lives, make the right decisions, and successfully reach goals without much advice or help from others. There is a self-reliance to the Self-Assurance theme that is particularly influential; people tend to follow those who know where they are going. But Self-Assurance is not swayed by the size of the crowd that is following – or if anyone is following at all. Those with strong Self-Assurance talents will go it alone if necessary, because this is the path they are supposed to follow. Individuals with Self-Assurance in their Top Five don’t tend to ask for a lot of advice, and when they do it is typically to confirm what they are already thinking. Those high in Self-Assurance tend to be seen by others as risk-takers. But the reality is from the perspective of Self-Assurance, if I feel like this action is the right one to take, it isn’t risky at all. Those with high Self-Assurance need to be in control of their own destiny, and they take steps to ensure that they are.  They are confident in what they do well, and not threatened by others who are talented in areas where they are not. They will recruit and recognize talented individuals, secure in their own abilities.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the similarities and differences between Self-Assurance and Belief, Strategic, and Discipline.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Coaching Millennials - Called to Coach S5E16

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Bryant Ramirez.

Intro from host Saurav Atri

  • Bryant’s Top 5 = Ideation, Woo, Communication, Strategic, Activator
  • He has coached in North America, Asia, Europe and Africa
  • Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach currently based in the Philippines
  • Founded, a coaching practice focused on millennials
  • He is also a millennial himself

Competition: Living for the Victory of the Game - 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 Competition with guest Eric Gillis.

Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it. 

You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner. Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don’t compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time, you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

5 Questions to Produce Better Performance in Your Partnerships

By Tim Simon

Understanding the unique talents of your partner is the first step in improving your work together. But to grow a partnership and produce even greater results, we need to do more than just know each other’s strengths. 

People are different, and people need one another to achieve greatness, but simply naming and appreciating differences doesn’t always set you on the path to productivity. Years ago, Don Clifton introduced me to the concept of measurement, and this applies to partnerships as much as it does individual success. Counting, rating and ranking progress can help you grow your partnership. I know. It worked for me. 

A number of years ago I co-chaired a committee. From the beginning, I could see that my partner and I did not appreciate what each of us brought to this particular committee. I would ask him for a quick response. Rather than respond as I would, he would just sit and think about it. From his facial expression, I could tell he did not appreciate my approach.

On the other hand, when he would suggest to the committee that we approach an agenda item with some caution, I immediately broke in and said, “We have an agenda to complete, and we should move on.” He could tell from my facial expression that I was not pleased. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Maximizer

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

The title of Jim Collin’s bestseller, Good to Great, is not particularly inspiring to those with Maximizer in their Top Five. Now a book entitled, Great to Excellent – that would be motivating to a Maximizer! Maximizer is driven to take what is already great and make it superb. Excellence is the standard, and nothing less will do. Maximizer seeks a maximum return on investment, and is choosy in whom and in what to invest. Those high in Maximizer love to take A performers and turn them into A+ All Stars. Maximizers focus on quality over quantity, and would rather do a few things with excellence than be average at a lot of things. Maximizer also sees focusing on building strengths – rather than fixing weaknesses – as the most effective and efficient route to success. Individuals high in Maximizer raise the bar for their teams and drive them to pursue outstanding performance. “Good enough” is never good enough, and is a concept most Maximizers eschew with gusto. Taking the easy route is not the road taken when the more difficult path will yield superior results.  Those with strong Maximizer talents tend to evaluate rather than celebrate; after all it could always be better, and improvement is always an option to be followed.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I look at the differences and similarities between Maximizer and Competition, Strategic, and Restorative.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Preparing to Coach - Called to Coach S5E15

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

Price change - increasing the price of Top 5 on May 12, protect pricing for certified coaches
Codes are benefit of certification
Why - haven’t changed prices in 2 year, making future investments
Special price for certified coaches on digital kits
Thinking about the future, and how we continually support coaches
One angle: best place in the world to understand talent and strengths, world-class coaching

Facebook posts - combo of strengths, how to approach, insights to share, helping people accept talent themes
Jim Collison

Be prepared 
Ask great questions
Reserve judgment
Let the conversation unfold

How to prepare:
Read definitions
Unpack definitions - make lists
Read insight cards
Lay out cards in front of you
Preparing to listen - not speak
Preparing for recognition - seeing talents arise in that person

Listen and Ask Great Questions:
Your job is not to be a psychic - not about parlor tricks
You want people left with how great they are, not how insightful you are
Think about questions you will ask - write them down
Ask open-ended questions 
Be present
Establish the relationship, and know what the person wants to accomplish in the call
Find out where they are
Your job is to meet them where they are
Trust and relatedness are the foundation for the work you will do together. 
Doesn't take time - can happen in an instant. 

Think about clues to talent:
Listen for where you hear the expression of their talent
What comes naturally and intuitively? 
What is deeply satisfying? 
What are they drawn to - like a yearning - again and again?  
Where are the glimpses of excellence?
Where does fast learning happen?  In other words, they just get it. 

Those are the things to poke at. Help them become aware. Help them appreciate their own talent. 

Remember that we mostly take for granted what we are good at. 
And value what we are not good at. 
We assume that everyone can do what we do. 
And that everyone sees the world in the same way. 

Reserve Judgment:
Really listen - and avoid directing the conversation in a way that "makes sense" to you. Or fits your picture of them. 
If you assert something, make sure it really fits for them. 
Don't leave them stuck with anything. 

Let the Conversation Unfold:
It's all a process of self-awareness. The person you are coaching always needs to be at choice. They are choosing to participate - and moving at a pace that is comfortable for them. 

    Don't miss out on the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit in Omaha, Nebraska on July 17-19. Register today!

    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!

    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. He oversees the direction of Gallup's client learning offerings, the development of the organization's learning consultants, and the growth of Gallup's learning business worldwide, including its public course offerings and learning products.

    Dean Jones's top five strengths are Activator, Focus, Woo, Strategic and Relator.

    Thursday, May 11, 2017

    Communication: How to Translate an Idea into a Story - 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 Communication with Gallup's Sara Vander Helm, L&D and Engagement Performance Manager.

    You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public and to write. This is your Communication theme at work. Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid. And so you turn events into stories and practice telling them. You take the dry idea and enliven it with images and examples and metaphors. You believe that most people have a very short attention span. They are bombarded by information, but very little of it survives.

    You want your information — whether an idea, an event, a product’s features and benefits, a discovery, or a lesson — to survive. You want to divert their attention toward you and then capture it, lock it in. This is what drives your hunt for the perfect phrase. This is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations. This is why people like to listen to you. Your word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world and inspire them to act.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017

    A 4-Step Family Strengths Session: Talking Strengths With Those Closest To You

    By Austin Suellentrop

    I married into a family that is big into birthday presents. There is a bit of a tradition for everyone (adults and children alike) to share a birthday list of potential gifts to celebrate the occasion. This past year, my mother-in-law called me to ask for some clarification around the one item on the list that I gave to her:

    “A family strengths session”

    As an experienced strengths coach, I have helped hundreds of individuals and dozens of teams discover how their unique talents show in their everyday behavior and affect how they achieve their goals. What I really wanted was the opportunity to do the same thing for my most important team — my family.

    Monday, May 8, 2017

    Mastery Monday: Understanding Competition

    By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

    Joe Namath once said, “When you win, nothing hurts.” Those high in Competition understand the truth of that statement, because to them there is nothing like winning. Competition measures performance: “What are the numbers I have to beat? What is the time I need to win? Who is ahead me – of us? Who is our closest competitor in our market? Are we more productive this month than last month? What are our year over year numbers – and who do we need to beat?” For those with Competition in their Top Five, measuring and competing drive their performance. Competition runs faster when there is someone in the next lane – ideally someone as good as or better than me. Those high in Competition choose their “games” wisely; if they can’t see a path to winning, then what is the point of competing? Competition needs metrics, because metrics spur comparison. “If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win.”

    In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I examine the similarities and differences between Competition and Achiever, Command, and Activator.

    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    3 Ways Don Clifton Taught Me to Measure Performance

    By Tim Simon

    There is a strong connection between who people are and what they do best, and the more people actively think about their talents, the more they notice how their talents contribute to their success. That’s why the CliftonStrengths Assessment is such an important tool in improving people’s lives. 

    It is reliable, credible and practical. The science behind the assessment is solid, and the tool’s usefulness is substantial. 

    Many self-assessments simply are not useful. Individuals might feel good about the results of a self-assessment but then are unsure how to apply what they learned and measure the outcomes of the changes they made. 

    My years at Gallup have instilled in me that “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

    As coaches trained in using the CliftonStrengths Assessment, we should encourage clients to apply the assessment’s usefulness to their lives by measuring their improvements. 

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    Profitability: Speaking the Language of Profit - Builder Talent Tuesday Season 1

    On this episode of Builder Talent Tuesday Season One, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, discuss the Profitability talent with guest Tim McCabe.

    People who are especially talented in the Profitability talent couple sharp business instincts and a fascination with making money. They have an uncanny ability to look at data from which they can form unique insights. Ultimately, they evaluate decisions through the prism of profitability. They establish clear financial goals and use data to measure progress. They formulate unique insights from the data that others may miss.

    Individuals possessing this talent have a constant strategic nature of weighing business decisions, relationships and opportunities against the potential to make money. It is keeping their return on investment at the very front of how they run their business. They weigh decisions in the terms of the connection between their inputs, and the profitability of their outputs.

    Monday, May 1, 2017

    Mastery Monday: Understanding Communication

    By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

    “That reminds me of a story….” So begins many conversations with those high in Communication. The Communication theme likes to talk, describe, explain, host, tell stories, speak in public. Individuals with Communication in their top five are verbally influential, and rarely have trouble coming up with just the right word or the perfect metaphor to illustrate and animate their point. Those with strong Communication talents paint the picture with words so that others can vividly see what they are describing. They are good conversationalists, and can strike up a conversation with just about anyone.As this theme matures, Communication is not only a good talker, but a good listener as well – true communication is a two-way street and the give and take of genuine conversation is essential to both understanding and being understood.

    In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I look at the differences and similarities between Communication and Woo, Intellection, and Positivity.

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