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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Coaching Case Study of Strengths and Well-Being: Regaining Balance Through Major Life Transitions

By Sue Bath

I’ve noticed a trend. More and more, it seems major change is at the heart of my clients’ current experiences. 

Some are facing significant career change. Others are going to college or facing the empty-nest environment after sending children away for the first time. Divorce, death in the family, retirement, you name it. Change is all around us, and in a hyper-connected society, we are constantly reminded of shifts in our foundation.  

Most of my clients long for something more solid to cling to as they struggle to find stability through big transitional times. Integrating strengths with concepts from the book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, by bestselling authors Tom Rath and Jim Harter, Ph.D., seems to help them find balance as they work through the challenges in their life. 

The five elements of well-being are: 

  • purpose well-being: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • social well-being: having supportive relationships and love in your life 
  • financial well-being: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security 
  • physical well-being: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily 
  • community well-being: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community 

Helping clients think through their unique strengths and how they can marry them in new ways within these five elements creates a plan to follow. It provides a clearer target for where to aim their talents rather than simply asking people to improve upon their talents. The result is that they see their strengths through a different lens and feel more in control, and it gives many hope for a brighter future.

Let’s take Mary, for example. Her husband of 35 years passed away suddenly. They had run a business together. As you can imagine, she was not only grieving the loss of her husband but also the loss of her business partner who had some complementary strengths to her own. Mary’s top five are Achiever, Maximizer, Includer, Relator and Belief. Her late husband’s were Strategic, Analytical, Context, Achiever and Belief. 

To help Mary through this difficult time, she and I worked together for a year on her well-being, putting a plan in place that used strengths as her vehicle for reaching her goals. 

Mary’s Well-Being Strengths Plan 

Purpose well-being goal: Use my Achiever to set a measurable amount of think time with my daughter (spending time with daughter using Belief strength of family) twice a week who has my husband’s strengths of Strategic and Analytical. Check it off of my things-to-do list.

Social well-being goal: Use my Relator to ask one of my established friends to go out to dinner, a movie or a concert at least once on the weekend and use my Includer to invite one new friend to join us once a month. 

Financial well-being goal: Use my Maximizer and Achiever to set stretch goals but realistic goals for myself financially.

Physical well-being goal: Use my Relator to ask my friend Ann to walk with me two mornings a week and grow our relationship at the same time. 

Community well-being goal: Use my Belief of family and giving back by volunteering my time once a month at our city’s homeless shelter with my son. 

With her wellness plan in place, Mary was able to go through a natural grieving process but with a strengths-based focus that allowed her to gain control and have hope. Mary says that the well-being structure paired with strengths helped her see past her short- term hurdles, which was very difficult, and start to make plans for a more balanced, positive future life. 

Mary’s Successes

Each monthly coaching session brought a more confident Mary, engaged in her life and full of hope. Here are just a few of her accomplishments: 

  • Mary spent time working in her business with her daughter who had the same two complementary strengths of Strategic and Analytical as Mary’s late husband. This partnership kept the financial side of the business going smoothly. 
  • She redefined herself socially as a single person. Her goal of including one new friend to join established friends once during the month using her Relator and Includer helped her establish six new deeper relationships with other widowed women whom she had met through a grief support group at a local church. 
  • Mary set challenging yet realistic goals for her personal financial situation using her Maximizer and Achiever. She was able to save enough money to take her three children and four grandchildren on a vacation to Disney World for four days and stay at a nice condominium near the Disney property. 
  • She walked with her good friend Ann faithfully two mornings a week, even if it was pouring rain outside. She described it as her morning therapy and lost 22 pounds! 
  • She discovered a love of spending time with her son volunteering at a homeless shelter. When she was with others who had more sorrow than she did, she made it her mission to put on a smile and make each person’s day as she served them a meal. Giving back to the community together brought her and her son closer in their common belief system and roles as mother and son.

As a strengths coach, is it my job to be insatiably curious about what is right with people. Adding elements of well-being helps me focus my curiosity and helps my clients define a solid strategy for navigating change. 

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Sue Bath, Ed.D., is a Senior Workplace Consultant at Gallup and is an expert practitioner of Gallup’s selection and development science. Dr. Bath specializes in talent management, conducting in-depth interviews on behalf of Gallup clients, building trusted adviser relationships with hiring managers, and providing advice and insights on candidate talent profiles to help managers strategically manage their teams. In this way, Dr. Bath supports clients in using Gallup’s philosophies and approaches to transform their cultures to better meet their business objectives.

Dr. Bath is an expert in research, change and development consulting. As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Dr. Bath has a passion for coaching people and teams to help them to name, claim and aim their strengths to become their best version of themselves individually and in collaboration with others. She also applies Gallup’s strengths-based approach to develop mentoring partnerships.

Sue's top 5 strengths are: Maximizer | Individualization | Activator | Belief | Input 

Register today for the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit!


Donna Gardner said...

Thank you for this beautiful approach to coaching. I am a Gallup certified coach and when I was first introduced to StrengthsFinder, my first thought was - I wish I had known this when I was 40 and suddenly found myself a single mother of four and reentering the job market.
I have a real heart for women in transition. It is a sector I would like to serve, I have just not yet found the right way to connect with it!

I will definitely apply this model to my coaching clients as appropriate - I love the connection linking strengths to stability.

On a personal note - Is Steve Bath your husband, brother? If so I must tell you - he is one of my favorite people in the whole world! Without his encouragement I would not be a Certified Coach!

Thank you again for sharing your wisdom and insight.

Jenivelia Chirsitiane said...

Well we can't find the wisdom and hope and the end of the this is all we need to look forward to.

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