Strengths Coaching Blog

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Are You a Bad Manager? How to Ensure Your Answer is No

By Paul Walters


Man Stopping Dominoes From Falling“How’s work?” I asked over drinks with a friend. It didn’t take long for our conversation to center on good versus bad management practices. I’ll save some of the choice words my friend used to describe her boss, but the general themes were micromanagement, caring more about process than outcomes, weakness-focus, lack of recognition, and the list continued.    

I then asked how she felt. She dreaded going into work; used all possible days off available; loathed having to meet with him; and felt undervalued, demotivated, and a general heaviness. It had gotten so bad that she refused to talk to her partner about it because talking about it wasn’t cathartic — it only made her more miserable. No wonder we were meeting for drinks. She needed some help, she needed an outlet, she had to escape the negative experience she felt trapped inside. 

She then turned to me and said, “Okay. You work for Gallup. Tell me what to do.” I thought for a second and said, “Well I actually can probably offer more to him than I can you.”

Think about some complaints you’ve heard from family, friends and colleagues about their work. What is one consistent grievance that you hear? More likely than not, it is about that individual’s manager. That’s because, put simply, some managers shouldn’t be managing. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Relator

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

Group of people using Relator ThemeIf you have Relator as one of your Signature Themes of talent, it’s very likely that you have an inner circle – a small group of friends that you’ve likely had for a long time, maybe even since childhood. And that inner circle is hard to get into, and even harder to get kicked out of. Relator is selective, and tends to be slow and cautious in establishing relationships.  There is an authenticity about those strong in Relator talents that draws others to them, that makes others want to trust them.  This is one of the paradoxical attributes of Relator: People tend to want to open up to those high in Relator – far more so than those with high Relator want to open up with them until they get to know them.  I call it the “trustability” factor of Relator – Relators are trustworthy, don’t betray confidences, and are genuine and authentic because they themselves value authenticity. Those with Relator in their Top Five enjoy working hard with people they know and trust, and given the choice between attending a party where they would get to meet a lot of new people or having dinner with a few close friends, Relator chooses the latter.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the similarities and differences between Relator and Empathy, Individualization, and Developer. Like Relator, all three of these themes are primarily relationship building themes, so they each have much in common with Relator.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Strengths-Based Mentoring in Schools with TeamMates - Called to Coach S5E25

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Allyson Horne, the Training and Support Specialist for TeamMates mentoring program.







Allyson Horne is a Training and Support Specialist for TeamMates Mentoring Program, a school-based and strengths-based mentoring program for kids in grades 3-12. Teammates was founded in the 1990’s by Coach Tom Osborne. The program started with a group of about 20 mentors and they now have close to 8,000 mentors across Nebraska and Iowa, expanding into Wyoming, South Dakota and Kansas.

How did TeamMates start?

  • Coach Tom Osborne had a vision to help students get to the post-secondary education opportunity
  • Tom was a student of Don Clifton at UNL
  • Strengths-based focus gives us the opportunity to build trust between mentors and mentees
  • There are no at risk factors that students have to have in place to be matched with a mentor
  • We believe all students deserve to have an additional, positive, caring adult in their life
  • A strengths-based mentor who will journey with them throughout their lifetime who sees what’s right with them from the very beginning

How would you describe strengths spotting?

  • Grades 3 – 8 grade take StrengthsExplorer
  • High school students take CliftonStrengths
  • Print 3 copies of their results - 1 for the student, 1 for parents, 1 for mentor
  • We equip the mentors with the language to spot strengths in action
  • Mentees can turn into strengths spotters as well
  •  If I can look at and notice something that is right and then say this is great about you, it builds on your sense of self

What training do mentors get?

  • The mentors we’re equipping don’t need to be coaches
  • When mentors sign up they go through a 2 ½-3 hour new mentor training
  • Right from the beginning we don’t just focus on policy and procedure
  • We focus on relationship building; showing up and being a good listener
  • Listen to whatever your mentee wants to talk about; be present in that moment and listen
  • Meet once a week during the school year, for usually about 40 minutes, over many years
  • I’m there for you unconditionally, I’m still going to show up and affirm what is right about you
  • This focuses on hope and research shows that highly hopeful kids do amazing things
  • If they’re looking forward to seeing you, they’ll be more hopeful and more engaged
  • Mentors show higher engagement, too
  • Doesn’t require massive training or education
  • If you want to build hope in another person, just show up and focus on what is right about them
  • Reciprocal strengths spotting happens

How have you seen the impact in your own kids?

  • Received my strengths-based education certificate in 2010
  • Learning my Top 5 was mind-blowing-I felt like someone had been following me around my whole life taking notes about the way that I uniquely see the world
  • Understanding our kids’ strengths helped us realize more about them and changed the way we parented
  • I know where they shine and it’s very different from me

How are you using strengths inside Teammates?

  • All of us know our strengths
  • Tess and I offer strengths coaching to all of our staff
  • Every one of our staff meetings or development days start with a strength activity
  • We take the activities that our mentors use and practice them
  • This gives us insight into what works or what needs to be tweaked
  • I think about strengths all the time, even when I’m sending email to staff
  • Everyone looks at support differently and needs different things
  • Look at how you can honor other people’s strengths
  • Encourage staff to do strengths spotting with each other
  • We have 20 FTE in central office staff
  • How do you know they are engaged?  We do Q12 measurement
  • We have 140 chapters of Teammates each with a coordinator
  • We bring them together for Gallup Strengths day to learn and take learning back to their community
  • The ripple effect continues

Q&A

  • % success rate?  We have not yet begun to measure that
  • How do we measure the impact of equipping people to know what’s right about one another?
  • It’s a challenge to define success…what does that mean?
  • We track grades, attendance and behavior
  • Also Gallup’s measurement of hope
  • Our mentees are more likely to graduate from high school for the state of Nebraska
  • We utilize Gallup Student Poll with students matched to a mentor – it measures engagement, hope and strengths  (gallupstudentpoll.com)
  • How did you forge relationships with school districts?
  • We’ve had very positive school district engagement
  • Knowing there is a safe, adult friend willing to meet with a student is very positive
  • How do you choose your strengths-based mentors?
  • It’s the willingness to show up, they go through a screening, interview and training process
  • We don’t match based on strengths, best match based on common interests
  • Our coordinators know the kids
  • No certain skill set is required of the mentors, just showing up is most important
  • Can you help other chapters get going?  Check out the Teammates web site
  • Also look at Mentoring.org for establishing a mentor program
  • How do you get parents engaged?
  • Parents have to give permission for the child to participate
  • They get a parent handbook and learn more about the role of the mentor
  • If the mentee does strengths, the parents get a copy of their results
  • We equip parents with the login and code for StrengthsExplorer so they can use all of the activities there
  • We use an activity from StrengthsExplorer
  • Find someone you don’t normally interact with; share something you recently did that you’re proud of; when did it happen and what strengths/talents brought that to the table
  • We encourage mentors to be the recipients of brags
  • Parents are very excited about strengths
  • They love hearing good news come home from school
  • Have you leveraged the strengths-based parenting resources?  Yes for those that express interest
  • We provide codes for matched mentors and mentees

Have you worked with the Gallup Purdue index?

  • Mentoring is mentioned as the second piece in that
  • We don’t use it at Teammates
  • Our former mentees are becoming mentors themselves

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!

Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Cheryl S. Pace, contributed to this post.



Allyson Horne is a Training and Support Specialist for TeamMates Mentoring Program and has worked in the field of mentoring as a mentor, program coordinator and regional director for over 10 years.  Allyson earned her certificate in Strength-Based Education from the Clifton division of Gallup University in 2010 and coordinates program-wide training and strength-based education for the TeamMates Mentoring Program. She has presented at Gallup’s Strength in Education Conference for institutes of higher learning, the National Mentoring Summit on Strengths Mentoring, and consecutive years at the Midlands and Iowa Mentoring Partnership’s annual conferences.

Allyson’s top five strengths are: Input, Communication, Strategic, Woo, Empathy.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

4 Steps to Maximizing Your CliftonStrengths Team Grid

By Diane Obrist and Therese Nisbet


Coaches working with managers and teams are often quickly attracted to the CliftonStrengths team grid, a visual representation of individuals’ talent across the four domains of leadership.  But simply showing a grid to a team can be unhelpful — even damaging. The CliftonStrengths team grid is a tool to enhance your coaching. It can lead to important discoveries for individuals and teams. Maximizing this valuable tool requires some preparation — simplified below in four easy-to-follow steps:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Empathy: Seeing the World Through Others' Eyes - 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 Empathy with Gallup's Josh Foster.





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You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament — this would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. 

This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need. Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings — to themselves as well as to others. You help them give voice to their emotional life. For all these reasons, other people are drawn to you.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Live From the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit - Called to Coach S5E24

This special edition of Called to Coach was recorded live at the CliftonStrengths Summit on July 19, 2017. Watch this session to hear the latest about the coaching world from our Gallup Called to Coach hosts, including Jim Collison, Paul Allen, Faith Gaines, Claire DeCarteret, Blanca Garcia and Bruce Young. 




2018 CliftonStrengths Summit site is coming soon. Stay tuned for registration details.

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!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Individualization: Delving Through a Lens of Uniqueness - 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 Individualization with guest Phil Winger.





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Your Individualization theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You are impatient with generalizations or “types” because you don’t want to obscure what is special and distinct about each person. Instead, you focus on the differences between individuals. You instinctively observe each person’s style, each person’s motivation, how each thinks and how each builds relationships. You hear the one-of-a-kind stories in each person’s life. 

This theme explains why you pick your friends just the right birthday gift, why you know that one person prefers praise in public and another detests it, and why you tailor your teaching style to accommodate one person’s need to be shown and another’s desire to “figure it out as I go.” Because you are such a keen observer of other people’s strengths, you can draw out the best in each person. This Individualization theme also helps you build productive teams. While some search for the perfect team “structure” or “process,” you know instinctively that the secret to great teams is casting by individual strengths so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Does Strengths Coaching Make a Difference?

By Ryan Pendell


Dana Baugh has been an executive coach for over two decades. She thinks there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to successful leadership.

“There’s still a perception in a lot of organizations that there’s this thing called a ‘great leader,’” says Baugh. “As if we can bottle it and say, ‘This is it.’

A lot of aspiring leaders believe that to be a great leader, they have to be good at everything.

“One of the realizations you have [when you receive executive coaching] is understanding that you do not have to cover all the bases yourself,” says Baugh. “Great leadership is discovering what everybody does best and contributing to that.”

She recently coached a technology executive in the financial industry who was tasked with leading a new innovation initiative in his organization. They were looking for a visionary. This guy knew he was quite different — more careful and prudent, and not a risk-taker.

“They wanted him to be Futuristic Strategic,” said Baugh. “Deliberative Strategic is a whole different animal.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Empathy

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


People with Empathy in their Top Five have an uncanny ability to physically feel the emotions of others. When those around them are sad, they feel the sadness. When those around them are joyful, they experience their joy. They intuitively pick up on the non-verbal, subtle emotional cues that others give out. To paraphrase Marvel super-hero Spiderman, their “spidey sense is tingling” whenever they start sensing they are experiencing the feelings of others. Individuals strong in Empathy talents bring emotional intelligence to a team, and as they are emotional people, they need the freedom to cry, laugh, and vent. People with high Empathy often can tell you how you are feeling even before you yourself know – and their description is eerily accurate.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I examine the differences and similarities between Empathy and Includer, Harmony, and Individualization. All four have the common element of being relationship building themes, and the similarities are such that Includer, Harmony, and Individualization can each look like Empathy – depending on the situation.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Includer: Building a Diverse and Inclusive Leadership Pipeline - 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 Includer with guest Luke Ramsay.





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“Stretch the circle wider.” This is the philosophy around which you orient your life. You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an instinctively accepting person.

Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person’s feelings. Why do that if you don’t have to? Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Individualization

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

If you’ve ever received the perfect present from a friend and you ask them, “How did you know I would love this?” and your friend answers, “I don’t know – I just knew it would be perfect for you,” chances are your friend has Individualization among their dominant themes. People with strong Individualization talents are intuitive about, drawn to, and fascinated with the uniqueness of each person. Those high in Individualization customize their approach to each person they connect with, and they strongly believe that the best way to treat people fairly is to treat them differently. 

Individualization sees human diversity as a potential to be celebrated rather than a problem to be solved. In finding the right fit for the job, Individualization starts with the person and then finds the right job – as opposed to starting with the job and then finding the right person.  For those strong in Individualization, the key to team success lies not in finding or developing the perfect process, but rather lies in finding and developing individual strengths so that each team member can make their unique contribution.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the differences and similarities between Individualization and Woo, Connectedness, and Maximizer.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Comparison of CliftonStrengths and MBTI

By Adam Hickman

Coaches face a variety of options when choosing the best development tools to help their clients. In this blog, we will dive into a comparison of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the CliftonStrengths assessment. 

MBTI Theory
MBTI classifications of individuals are based on an adaptation of Carl Jung’s theory of conscious psychological type. MBTI groups individuals into one of 16 personality types by measuring distinct polarities of preference: 

  • Extroversion or Introversion
  • Sensing or Intuition
  • Feeling or Thinking
  • Judging or Perceiving


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Harmony: The Power of Consensus - 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 Harmony with guest Ed Baklor.





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You look for areas of agreement. In your view, there is little to be gained from conflict and friction, so you seek to hold these to a minimum. When you know that the people around you hold differing views, you try to find the common ground. You try to steer them away from confrontation and toward harmony. In fact, harmony is one of your guiding values. You can’t quite believe how much time is wasted by people trying to impose their views on others. Wouldn’t we all be more productive if we kept our opinions in check and instead looked for consensus and support? You believe we would, and you live by that belief. 

When others are sounding off about their goals, their claims and their fervently held opinions, you hold your peace. When others strike out in a direction, you will, in the service of harmony, willingly modify your own objectives to merge with theirs (as long as their basic values do not clash with yours). When others start to argue about their pet theory or concept, you steer clear of the debate, preferring to talk about practical, down-to-earth matters on which you can all agree. In your view, we are all in the same boat, and we need this boat to get where we are going. It is a good boat. There is no need to rock it just to show that you can.

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