Strengths Coaching Blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Coaching Updates With Dean Jones - Called to Coach S5E32

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with the Principal Architect of Gallup's Global Learning Strategy, Dean Jones.






In this Called to Coach, Jim Collison and Dean Jones discuss the recent changes to Gallup's website and how it effects the coaching community. 

Registration is now open for the 2018 CliftonStrengths SummitRegister before December 7, 2017, to get early bird pricing.

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.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Positivity

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min



“Wow that sounds like fun! Count me in!” said someone high in Positivity – a lot. Positivity brings uplifting emotional stimulation to just about any group, team, or situation. If it’s not fun, let’s make it fun. Positivity sees the bright side, celebrates the win, rallies the troops. Individuals with Positivity in their Top Five are quick to smile, laugh, give praise. The glass is always half full. It isn’t that people strong in the Positivity theme are unrealistic about the negativity and problems that exist in their lives and in the world. It’s that they see attitude is a choice, and they choose to have a positive attitude in the face of adversity. They understand at a deep level the quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln:  “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Individuals with Positivity in their Top Five choose to be happy, choose to see the upside, choose to find the silver lining. That makes them attractive to others, and their positive outlook forms the foundation of all their relationships.

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

Friday, October 27, 2017

Strengths and Values: A Testimony to the Importance of Talking Values with the Ones You Love

By Austin Suellentrop


Family walking through a meadowSophomore year in high school. Fifteen years old. The homecoming dance is coming up and my friends are starting to make plans. Who do I ask? 

The bright smile, welcoming attitude and positive energy she exudes is contagious — of course I’m going to ask that girl

I walk up to her locker without a single word of what I am going to say planned out; I’ll figure that out when I get there. You see, no matter how much I practiced, I never really knew what would come out of my mouth and yet, somehow, things usually seemed to work out.

Fast-forward 18 years. Married, three kids, several career changes and a lot of laughs later, that girl and I are still the same kids we were in the high school hallway at heart. We have spent many evenings telling stories about that sophomore homecoming dance. In fact, telling stories is one of our favorite things to do. She remains steadfast that we went as “friends;” I hold true to the thought that it was our first real date, even if we did have a third friend drive us around all night.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Input: The Art of Adding Information to Your Archives - 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 Input with Gallup's Mike McDonald. 





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You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information — words, facts, books and quotations — or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories, but rather to add more information to your archives. 

If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing, it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day, some of it will prove valuable

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Make It Personal: Leveraging “Fit” to Create a Culture of Ownership

By Jake Herway


Man holding lightbulbIn a world that requires agile innovation, organizations are desperate to create cultures of ownership, shared responsibility and proactive initiative. Of all the steps we take as managers to be sure people will perform well in a job, the one with the furthest reaching impact is the most commonly overlooked: finding an employee’s personal connection, or personal fit, to the work. 

Ownership comes when it’s mine. “Mine” comes when it’s personal. 

Organizational design, structure and strategy are critical considerations that can help or hinder a person’s ability to take ownership. But even with these structural pieces in place, each employee has to personally engage for their work to come alive and make a difference in the organization. Without personal connection to the work, the reality of an engaged corporate culture never materializes. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Developing Behavioral Competency Programs With Strengths - Called to Coach S5E31

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Amit Gangal.







Amit Gangal started his career over 22 years ago in distributed control systems moving to FMCG and then managing projects and transformation programs in IT service management, delivery, consulting, and learning and development. He has worked with organizations like Hewlett-Packard, CSC, JL Morison and Infosys. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Learner

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min



Woman Studying“Oh, you mean there’s a class I can take on that? … I always loved school! … There’s a webinar series I want to sign up for! … I’ve just started a new job, and there are several books my new manager recommended and I can’t wait to read them!”  These are all statements that would tend to resonate with individuals who have Learner in their Top Five. Learners, quite simply, love to learn. Often times it is the process of learning itself that excites and energizes Learner talents. I once had a colleague with Learner sitting at number one in his Top Five, and every year he would take a class on something that had absolutely nothing to do with his employment. One year he took classes on installing all kinds of flooring. Another year he took flying lessons. Another year he learned French.  The utility of what he was going to learn wasn’t the driving factor; it was his level of interest in the subject. Learners follow the things that interest them, and they are always interested in learning something new. If a subject area is of deep interest to them or particularly relevant to their jobs, those high in Learner may very well seek mastery in that area – the idea of being a subject matter expert is quite appealing to those with strong Learner talents.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I look at the differences and similarities between Learner and Achiever, Ideation, and Focus.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ideation: A New Perspective on Familiar Challenges - 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 Ideation with guest Maureen Electa Monte. 





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You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. 

You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary and because they are bizarre. For all these reasons, you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days, this is enough.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Using CliftonStrengths for Positive Student Mentoring - Called to Coach S5E30

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with TeamMates Mentoring Program leaders, Allyson Horne and Tess Starman.






Please describe TeamMates
  • Teammates is a school-based mentoring program
  • Started back in about 1991 with a group of about 20 mentors willing to give an hour a week in the school district
  • They were screened and trained
  • Now have close to 8,000 across Nebraska and Iowa, expanding into Wyoming, South Dakota and Kansas
  • We’re not just school-based, we’re strengths-based
  • Focused on the good; do a lot of strengths spotting
  • Grades 3-12
  • Mentors and mentees stayed matched over the years

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Intellection

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Several years ago while watching Late Night with David Letterman, Dave turned to his band leader Paul Shaffer and said – with self-deprecating humor, “You know, Paul, there’s no off position on the genius switch.” I always laugh when I remember that image, but it’s the phrase that I think best fits Intellection. Always thinking, always pondering, always the internal hum of the turbines of the mind. Satchel Paige is said to have mused, “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” Intellection cannot relate to that quote, because there is no time that is not thinking time. For those high in Intellection, thinking is synonymous with doing. Individuals who have Intellection in their Top Five are introspective and need time for musing and reflection. “Let me think about it and get back to you” are words those high in Intellection utter on a regular basis. Descartes famous phrase “I think, therefore I am” succinctly sums up the point of view of Intellection.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the differences and similarities between Intellection— a thinking theme – and Learner, Input, and Analytical – three other thinking themes.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Powerful Partnership through Acceptance: A Deep Dive into 1 of the 8 Elements of Collaboration

By Tonya Fredstrom and Adam Hickman


If you’ve read Gallup’s Power of 2, you know the eight elements of creating powerful partnerships: Complementary Strengths, Common Mission, Fairness, Trust, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Communicating and Unselfishness. Beginning a partnership with purposeful attention to complementary strengths is a good starting point, but how do you continue to grow a “Power of 2” that yields greater results than either partner could achieve alone? What we’ve learned may be helpful as you work with your clients to become more intentional about forming, developing and maximizing partnerships. 

Partnerships are quickly and easily formed with people most like yourself. However in our case, Adam was new to Gallup whereas I had been with Gallup several years, so we didn’t know if we were like each other or not when our manager first asked us to partner on a project. As we worked together, we got a clearer picture of how we were alike — and how we were different. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Input

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Some of the most meaningful moments I’ve had in the last three years came while I had the extreme privilege of co-leading Strengths Coaching courses with Gallup’s Strengths Guru, the late Curt Liesveld.  I always learned so much from Curt – about Strengths, about coaching, and about life. One of the many things I learned from Curt was the value of comparing and contrasting. Curt would often say that one of the best ways of gaining clarity on themes was to do what your English teacher asked you to do in essays:  “compare and contrast.”  Just as this process helped students better understand what were often times complex concepts, it can also help coaches better understand the intricacies of different themes. 

Any theme, when paired with another, takes on the power and edge of its partner.  So the beauty in understanding how two themes work together lies in the opportunity it provides as coaches.  We can help people understand they are not either one theme or another, but the combination and of several themes altogether.  

 If you’re ready to take your understanding of individual themes to the next level, this activity of compare and contrast will help you better coach around the themes of talent  This installment compares and contrasts Input with Learner, Analytical, and Includer.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Strengths Circle of Competence: A Powerful Concept for Reaching Success

By Carlos Martinez



Puzzle pieces and upward graphCompetence is defined as the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. As an individual and a leader, I always strive to display competence by leveraging my own strengths to maximize the strengths of others. I am privileged to have the opportunity to do this each day while directing a manufacturing site that employs individuals with a wide range of educational backgrounds, from high school graduates to those with doctoral degrees. It is my mission to help individuals achieve success by understanding their strengths and aligning them to a role with an aim for performance excellence. 

When individuals understand that leveraging their strengths leads to efficient and successful achievement of their goals — competency — they can more clearly identify the areas that may lead to the opposite result. We can visualize such practical knowledge as a circle. Everything inside the circle is a strength, and everything outside the circle is not. This is our strengths circle of competence.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Futuristic: Creating a Vivid Picture of the Future - 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 Futuristic with guest Travis Guse. 





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“Wouldn’t it be great if ...” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests — a better product, a better team, a better life or a better world — it will always be inspirational to you. 

You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future, and they energize you. They can energize others too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Strengths: A Way to Help People Find Their Voice - Called to Coach - S5E28

On a recent Called to Coach Australia Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Kate Cawthorn.







Kate Cawthorn is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of Speakers Institute. As a regular speaker at events, Kate has travelled across Australia and internationally, and has helped over one thousand people discover their CliftonStrengths. 

When you think back to your Accelerated Strengths Coaching course and when you were coming to terms with your top 5, can you talk about that?
Being in a room with an amazing group of people and hearing about their businesses and what they were doing with coaching and strengths, Kate felt envious of their strengths. Strengths like Focus, Discipline and Strategic that helped her classmates put a well-structured coaching business together. She felt she had all the mushy ones. 

“It was a blind spot for me to see a value in my strengths. Before the coaching space, I hadn’t been able to see the value.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Ideation

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Woman PaintingThose with strong Ideation talents are fascinated by ideas. A new idea makes their day, and often times the ideas come like popcorn. I had a colleague high in Ideation who said she would often vow to stay quiet during team meetings, but at around the 20-minute mark found herself clutching the edge of the table in order to keep all the ideas from bursting forth. I see three aspects to Ideation: Creativity, Complexity, and Connectivity. Ideation can be very creative, and the creativity can take two forms. One is a blue sky, blank canvas approach. Some with Ideation high are at their best creating something out of nothing. The other form of creativity is reacting to and improving/changing that which already exists – looking at something and thinking, “What if we did this, or changed this? What would it look like if we turned it around this way?” Ideation loves complexity, often just for the sheer sake of the intricacy of it all. One individual with Ideation in his Top Five is fascinated with Medieval European history – not because he has Context, but because that era of history is so complex and variated. Ideation also loves to make the complex simple and find the common thread. The connectivity of Ideation comes from the ability to see and find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena or ideas. Finding the connection is a particular thrill for those high in Ideation.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the similarities and differences between Ideation and Intellection, Futuristic, and Input.  All of these themes are thinking themes, so there are many similarities among them. But the differences, while often subtle, are important.

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