Strengths Coaching Blog

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Context

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Woman looking back in a rearview mirror. Where have we been? What has worked before? What hasn’t? How did we get here? Are there prior best practices we can implement? These are all questions individuals high in Context are likely to ask. Context focuses on understanding the past in order to make sense of the present, and to chart a course forward. Those with strong Context talents are very likely to enjoy history, look to the “blueprints,” and become wiser about the future because they understand the past.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I examine the differences and similarities between Context and Analytical, Connectedness, and Restorative.


Context and Analytical

Like Analytical, Context is a questioning theme. Context and Analytical are also both thinking themes. So in some sense, these two themes can appear similar: critical thinking, question asking, examining the evidence. But the focus and motivation are different. For those high in Context, truth is often revealed through the examination of past events. For those high in Analytical, truth is found through examining the data. Context asks questions that are primarily intended to reveal how we got here, while Analytical asks questions that are primarily intended to get to the proof of a concept. Analytical deals with what is – the facts in front of us, while Context deals with what was – what has gone on before, and how we can learn from it.

Context and Connectedness

Context and Connectedness share the similarity of making linkages between events across time. But while Context focuses on the past, Connectedness focuses on timelessness – looking backward, forward, and side to side. Context is a way of processing information and coming to conclusions, and Connectedness is a way of finding inherent relationships and forging new ones – whether those relationships are between events, ideas, or people. Individuals with strong Context talents remember important history, while those with strong Connectedness talents integrate parts into the whole. Connectedness accepts and even embraces the mystery of the past, present, and future; Context seeks to learn from history in order to make sense of the present and then proceed into the future.

Context and Restorative

There is a connection to the past that brings similarity to the themes of Context and Restorative. Context’s connect to the past is to study and learn from history, while Restorative’s connection to the past lies in fixing what is broken in order to restore it to its original wholeness. As such, Context is a way of thinking about things whereas Restorative is a way of getting things done. Restorative seeks to understand all aspects of a problem in order to solve it; Context seeks to understand past solutions in order to make sense of the current situation. Restorative is energized by solving a thorny problem; Context is energized by finding a new insight from a review of the past.

Be sure to catch up on Season One and Season Two of Theme Thursday-Context to learn more!

Catch the latest on all Theme Thursday episodes here

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Al Winseman bio is below


Albert L. Winseman, D.Min., is a Senior Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup. Al brings deep expertise in employee and customer engagement, executive leadership and organizational dynamics to his consulting work with Gallup’s clients. He consults with senior leaders, executives and front-line managers to improve employee and customer engagement and to implement strategic initiatives that drive business growth.

Al's top 5 strengths are: Ideation | Futuristic | Maximizer | Strategic | Command

1 comment :

Rodney Plunket said...

This was a great post for me. I know the focus was on Context, but it greatly illuminated my understanding of Connectedness––a theme I commonly struggle to grasp as fully as I would like. Al's statement that "Connectedness focuses on timelessness – looking backward, forward, and side to side" was an aha for me. Thank you Al!

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