The CliftonStrengths Coaching Blog is a resource for those who want to help others truly understand their strengths and learn how to use them. Gallup experts and outside contributors share tactics, insights, and strategies to help strengths coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams, and organizations everywhere.
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.
Measuring the Process of Transforming Talents Into Strengths The foundation of strengths coaching is to help guide individuals to discover, appreciate and apply their unique talents. The best way to know if we are doing our best work as strengths coaches — helping clients transform talents into strengths — is to attentively measure success over time, and we have some practical and powerful ways to help your clients measure how their talents contribute to their success. Don Clifton, the inventor of CliftonStrengths, once told me that measurement does not have to be a long-term and expensive research project. Don said I should “count, rate or rank” my performance by linking it to my dominant themes of talent. For example:
Counting: Sales associates might use their talents to make 10% more calls per month. Counting their number of calls is a form of measurement.
Rating: A rating is an evaluation or assessment of something in terms of quality or quantity. Public speakers could use their talents to assess each speech or performance. A strengths coach might use a rating scale, such as 1-5, to get feedback from clients to help measure their success as a coach.
Ranking: A ranking assigns a level of achievement to the behavior your client is tracking. Individuals could rank their use of a talent theme after tracking the use of that theme over a defined timeline. Examples of rankings include “excellent,” “above average,” “average” and “below average.”
This kind of measurement is not unique to a certain set of talent themes. Aiming, measuring and linking strengths to performance is something every coach should talk about with every client. Performance is at the heart of strengths coaching, so find ways to help your clients translate who they are into how they are improving. Let’s do this art we call coaching on purpose, avoiding what I like to call “Christopher Columbus moments.” When Columbus left Spain, he was not exactly sure where he was going. When he arrived in the New World, Columbus was not sure where he was. When Columbus returned to Spain, he was not sure where he had been. Strengths coaching is about intentionally aiming, measuring and celebrating performance. Great strengths coaches guide and lead clients so they have clear ideas about who they are and where they are heading.
Tim Simon is a Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup. Tim consults with Gallup clients on employee engagement, manager development, and strengths-based performance coaching and development. He creates and facilitates programs for clients across a wide range of industries, including information technology, manufacturing, banking, real estate and pharmaceutical, as well as the government, healthcare and education sectors. Before joining Gallup, Tim worked as a teacher and building principal. He first learned of Gallup’s consulting and analytics services as an associate superintendent of schools in Virginia, where he used Gallup’s analytics-based selection tools as part of the teacher hiring process. Tim has also served as director of Enrollment Services at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and has worked with the college’s Human Development division, teaching and supervising education majors.
Tim's top 5 strengths are: Learner | WOO | Maximizer | Focus | Arranger. Registertoday for the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit!