Strengths Coaching Blog

Friday, May 25, 2018

Command: The Ability to Take Leadership When None Exists - Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Command. 

When you think of Command you think about cutting through the noise and getting down to business. They are unintimidated, decisive and socially brave. They can take a stance on things they find important that makes other people follow. 

The best of Command is knowing when to take charge, and doing it effortlessly. Serve others by being an advocate with your social courage. Individuals with high Command can help further a cause. They can help others see things in a different way. Command knows when resoluteness is needed, and can almost sense when there’s a void of decisiveness that needs to be filled. 

Answer that call for a challenge. Look for things that intimidate others. Command gives you the ability to be able to see where other people are not stepping up. How do you know when Command is needed? It could be when you sense fear, or it could be when you sense clarity. Be better at following that feeling. Understand when you need the podium to move the project forward. Ask the question that nobody else has asked that helps provide some clarity. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Gallup's Licensing Practices and a Preview of Born to Build -- Called to Coach S6E14

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Jessica Kennedy.

On the May 7 Called to Coach, Kennedy spoke about Born to Build which seeks to inspire entrepreneurs and ambitious, self-motivated people to build something that will change the world — a small business, a thriving new division in a company, a nonprofit, a church, a school — anything that creates economic growth and makes a lasting impact. It’s available on Amazon and wherever your favorite books are sold. She also discussed Gallup’s licensing program, which provides merchandise and content licenses to partners interested in incorporating Gallup’s intellectual property into products for sale.

Merchandise License

Want to help organizations and CliftonStrengths fanatics get their CliftonStrengths themes on … everything?

Then you need a Gallup merchandise license which, allows you to create merchandise and products displaying Gallup’s CliftonStrengths theme names and definitions. Typically, this type of merchandise can be personalized to show an individual’s top five themes or displays all 34 CliftonStrengths themes. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Unlocking the Power of the CliftonStrengths 34 Results

By Tiffany Saulnier

Developing Strengths, Managing Weaknesses

A person doesn't just have five themes of talent. In truth, we possess a combination of talent themes, each with a different level of intensity. Examining the Top 5 is the best place to start, but each of us has additional dominant talents, behaviors that always describe our patterns of behavior. We can expand our understanding of ourselves (and help others do the same) by leveraging our full CliftonStrengths 34 results, a more complete roadmap of success.

A Focus on Strengths

Strengths-based development embraces peaks of excellence in people -- points where a person is exceptionally brilliant. It is not about filing down the peaks, but accentuating the height and point of them.

It is based on the simple notion that a person's talents do more than make a person a unique individual. Our greatest talents -- the ways in which we most naturally think, feel, and behave -- have direction. They represent our innate power, our potential to perform. When we tap into this source of wisdom and power, we are more efficient. We act with more confidence, direction and hope. And, we are more productive.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Belief: Aligning Passion and Purpose - Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Belief. 

Belief is a values driven Theme. People high with Belief tend to have unchanging core values that help them prioritize, motivate them and take them where they want to go. There is an element of practicality to Belief. It may be rooted in something that feels very emotional and invisible, but it is about translating your internal values into something external. A by-product of Belief is that you are informing others with your passion and beliefs over everything you do. 

When Belief is at its best it is able to translate values and beliefs into execution at work. It is about an alignment with passion and purpose. You are not just doing something for the sake of doing it. You are doing something that has a deep meaning for you, and has the opportunity to extend your value into your community. It is that idea that you are making more of what you believe, rather than holding it all in. Belief at its best is both transparent and consistent. Belief can rally others around your cause. It is about not just having values, but rolling up your sleeves and taking action on them. It is knowing to your core what is right and what is wrong. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Power of 2: Richard Sterry + Gallup -- Called to Coach S6E13

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with guest Richard Sterry.

Richard Sterry is the person behind the Cascade strengths reports and the Strengths Twins initiative. He has a passion for supporting Strengths coaches and growing the strengths movement.
  • Richard is the founder of his company, Releasing Strengths, and regularly contributes to the coaching community with his creative tools like Cascade and Strengths Twins.  He also provides technical services to coaches and is introducing the strengths movement to his local church. 

Tell us a little about yourself

  •  My Top 5 are Individualization, Learner, Relator, Maximizer and Harmony
  • Learner and Maximizer often get me into trouble, I want to do something new, but it needs to be really new, so I’m never quite sure what’s going to happen
  • My relationship building themes really help me get to know and understand people

Tell us about the work you’re doing with your local church

  • Using Living Your Strengths, I've worked with several small groups at my church and it's really quite an eye-opener for them
  • If you bring it alongside the biblical references that parallel strengths concepts, it can give a whole new meaning to when people are giving work and service within a church environment
  • Actually doing something they are passionate about doing, rather than out of a sense of duty

I think this can apply to any type of volunteer/non-profit situation where you have a single purpose; Are you adding any other inventories in such as Spiritual Gifts inventory?

  • No yet, but it’s something I’d love to.  Spiritual gifts and Strengths go hand in hand
  • Spiritual gifts is what God has called you to do, and Strengths is how you do them

Friday, May 11, 2018

Translating CliftonStrengths for Coaching in Another Culture -- Called to Coach S6E12

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with guest Fareed Nafe. While this episode of Called to Coach is presented in English, we have provided the show notes in both English and Arabic below.  

أ‌-      لطالما كنت مهتما بتعليم الطلاب الموهوبين. في عام 2011 بينما كنت أعمل كمدرس في تعليم الموهوبين، قدمت الكثير من الجلسات التدريبية لطلابي وللمهتمين بشكل عام بالموهبة وفي بعض دوراتي كنت استخدم حقيبة تدريبية ل Marcus BUKINGHAM (الآن اكتشف نقاط قوتك). كانت الحقيبة نسخة عربية من النسخة الأصلية. لقد كانت الترجمة ضعيفة مما جعلني لا أفهم بعض المحتويات فيها. ولكن هناك أمر لفت انتباهي وهو وجود كلمة (Clifton
 Strengths)ورابط لموقع  Gallup وبمساعدة أحد أصدقائي. تمكنت من الوصول إلى موقع Gallup الإلكتروني وقمت بعمل المقياس وقام أحد الأصدقاء بمساعدتي في ترجمة نقاط قوتي الخمسة ، أصابني الذهول لأني وجدت أن النقاط الخمسة تتحدث عني أنا ومن بعدها بدأت رحلتي الجميلة مع Gallup

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Strengths-Based Principles in Action: What Not to Forget

By Maika Leibbrandt

I know the blue glow of the smartphone isn’t the best thing for helping me sleep, but let’s face it: email follows me home, usually because I willingly lead it there. Late yesterday evening I opened my inbox to find a message from a colleague that kept me up most of the night. But this morning after talking with her, I realized I had missed the mark on a key principle of strengths-based workplaces — leading with positive intent. 

Here’s a quick overview of what happened:

I was working with a colleague on an important project and was excited because I knew we had the sort of great partnership that made the most of what each of us does well. My job was to create something that she would turn into the finished product. I sent her my final draft — a piece I had poured a lot of thought and effort into. Three days later, she sent back a short, direct response in the form of a question. She asked if what I had submitted was really the right way to proceed. I read her message late in the evening, got offended and replied with, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” I spent the rest of the night telling myself I was right, she was wrong, and her dominant theme of Command was to blame. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Mastery Monday: Productive Aiming: Context (2018)

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

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. Individuals with Context as one of their Signature Themes tend to love stories; they like to talk about stories of past successes and how those have helped them in the present and into the future. People with strong Context work best when they know the reason or history behind why they are asked to do something. Knowing what has been done before, or the people involved in past projects, helps individuals with high Context see how they can move forward. Context loves a good “lesson learned”; lessons learned from successes are just as important as lessons learned from mistakes -- if not more so.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Arranger: Become an Orchestrator of Improvement - Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Arranger. 

Arrangers are jugglers and orchestrators of improvement. You are comfortable initiating reconfiguration. You are aware of the pieces and how to make them all fit. An Arranger wants productivity in the most efficient way possible. Being able to brave something really complex, and doing it with delight and mastery, is really what Arranger is all about. The value that you bring when you are at your best is being able to embrace complexity that allows others to relax. It can also be about tweaking the plan to improve the original outcome by making small changes. It is about speaking a language of possibility. Arranger can also facilitate collaborative teamwork. Gracefully manage multiple demands on your own time and attention in a way that looks effortless.

Raise your hand for complex projects that have many moving parts. Raise your hand for chaos. Get yourself in over your head to make sure you can swim. Sign up for things that are difficult and include a lot of multiplicity. Have one similar specialty. Focus on one nuance in your industry. Think about this as your home base, and then think about similar opportunities to take you further into areas you haven’t quite mastered to create some complexity. It isn’t just about pulling all of your ideas together, it is about making them do something powerful. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Using CliftonStrengths to Find Fulfillment and Engagement in Faith-Based Organizations -- Called to Coach S6E11

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with guest Daniela Duarte. Daniela Duarte is the Organisational Development Manager for Hillsong Church. Her role requires her to develop innovative and impactful approaches to leadership development and talent management across 60 Australian Locations and 1,000 staff. Daniela is passionate about transformational change and believes that a key factor in sustainable success is engaging with individual leadership potential at every level.

How did you discover CliftonStrengths?

In 2008, I was teaching at Hillsong Leadership College. I was introduced to strengths by a student who shared with me the CliftonStrengths 2.0 book. Sometime later, I decided to use it with a team and found positive responses. When I combined strengths with my love for emotional intelligence, I have been invested in the tool since 2012. “[CliftonStrengths] is the No. 1 tool to help people grow their emotional intelligence.”

Can you talk about the music aspect of Hillsong and the community/impact that the music has had?

As a member of the congregation, I find every new album impactful and share them with friends/family, even those who are not faith-based. Music fills me with positivity. Hillsong did recently win a Grammy. Their music is really about bringing people closer to God and we did not expect to see it have such a broad impact.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Beyond Naming, Claiming and Aiming: Real Development Is Something More

By Rosanne Liesveld

Often when a client asks, “What do I do now that I’ve discovered my CliftonStrengths?” coaches automatically want to answer, “Name it. Claim it. Aim it.” It’s almost like a reflex. And while this is a helpful starting point, I urge you as coaches to embrace the potential for growth beyond these three steps. 

It’s easy to confuse “aiming” or applying a talent with truly developing one. While the two are connected, applying talent and developing it offer distinctly different possibilities. If we build our practice on believing in talent, the cornerstone of that belief is the lifelong development of talent — from potential to performance. From what’s possible to what’s excellent. “Aiming” is simply the steps we take in-the-moment, a current-level zooming in of a much broader, lifelong pursuit of talent development. If you want to move along the continuum from talent to strength, it’s not as simple as  “aiming.” Our greatest talents are powerful and volatile and require development to be applied.

Development is the continual journey. Aiming is taking the first step.

We all know that talents are not strengths until they are productively applied, but what does that mean? Does it mean that they aren’t strengths until we aim them at a goal? Does practice, skills and knowledge always lead to strength? What if we practice a talent over and over again, but it is not fully or productively developed? To illustrate what I mean by this, say I am asked to make a three-pointer in basketball. If I consistently practice the shot wrong, I am not likely to find much success.  

Monday, April 30, 2018

Mastery Monday: Productive Aiming: Consistency (2018)

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

Fairness. Equity. Merit. These are all words that those with strong Consistency talents find appealing, accurate and even comforting. What is fair and equitable are foundational values for those high in Consistency. Individuals high in Consistency are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same no matter what their station in life. They become annoyed or even outraged when some are given preferential treatment because of their status or position as it simply is not fair to treat some people better than others. Everyone deserves the same chance and should be allowed to succeed or fail — to show their worth — based on his or her merit. There is a rather clear-eyed realism to Consistency; people function best when there are clear rules that everyone must follow. Consistency ensures that those rules are equally enforced.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Analytical: Boiling Ideas Down to an Essence - Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Analytical. 

Analytical is about boiling ideas down to an essence. It is thoughtful and curiosity based. Individuals with high Analytical value evidence and truth. If you have strong Analytical you don’t just take something at face value, you dive into the individual particles that make up that idea. 

When Analytical is at its best it is innovative. You are constantly discovering new ideas, because you don’t just assume everything is true. You can see all the parts to an assumption, which can lead us to new discoveries. You are the go-to for objective problem solving. Your search for truth can create clarity. You can offer new ways to measure and track success. You can help others think about what they have to demonstrate their success. Analytical can provide a lot of compassion by not being swept up in the emotion. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Certification Essentials- Called to Coach S6E10

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Jeremy Pietrocini, Maika Leibbrandt and Angela Davenport.

During this session we discussed Certification Essentials listed below. If you are interested in jumping to a particular segment of this session, refer to the time stamps provided below.

  • The Value of Becoming a Gallup-Certified Coach - Jeremy Pietrocini (0:00-20:14)
  • How to Get Gallup Certified - Maika Leibbrandt (20:18-39:18)
  • ICF Coach Certification - Angela Davenport (39:20-59:03)

The Value of Becoming a Gallup-Certified Coach - Jeremy Pietrocini

Become an Elite Strengths Coach With Gallup Certification

  • If you want to set yourself apart from other coaches, you can choose to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. 
  • Certified coaches epitomize strengths-based coaching excellence and are fully qualified to provide strengths-based coaching to anyone, including individuals, teams and managers. 
  • By becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, you set yourself apart from other coaches and gain the skills, confidence and elite status you need to coach anyone.


We offer a comprehensive curriculum to prepare you to be a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. 

You can connect with the millions of people in need of CliftonStrengths coaching, in need of someone to help them be the best version of themselves. 

We provide extensive education enabling you to earn the unique distinction of being an expert in strengths-based development. 

Thousands of people around the world discover their CliftonStrengths talents every day. And every one of them needs a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach in their life.

     To help them discover their talents and develop them into strengths. 
     To help them use their strengths to overcome their challenges and accomplish their goals.
     To help them capitalize on their potential and perform at their best. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mastery Monday: Productive Aiming: Connectedness (2018)

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” 

Whether they know this line from the Byrds’ hit song, the Bible, or maybe are hearing it for the first time, this statement resonates strongly with those who have Connectedness among their Signature Themes. Connectedness can sound like “there are no coincidences; everything happens for a reason,” or it can sound like the “Butterfly Effect” — e.g., when a butterfly beats its wings in Brazil, it rains in Beijing. Connectedness believes we are all part of a bigger whole —one humanity — and what happens to one member affects us all. Those high in Connectedness tend to see patterns and relationships where others only see chaos and confusion. While there may indeed be randomness in the world to those with strong Connectedness talents, there is no occurrence that is without meaning. The mystery of life is not confusing; rather, in a very profound way, it is comforting.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Adaptability: Putting Yourself in Chaos' Way - Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Adaptability. 

Adaptability is about being urgent, current, present, responsive, in touch, and calm. It can be a protector from chaos. Adaptability has an openness to it. It lets you be very in touch with what is going on. If other themes are textbooks, Adaptability is Twitter. It’s an unplanned moment, 280 characters and go. It is just in time fulfillment. 

When Adaptability is at its best you are gracefully responding to the needs of those around you. This may be responding to clients or teammates. You are masterfully navigating the here and now. Adaptability has the ability to constantly have your finger on the pulse of what is going on. This theme thrives under change, and individuals who are high in it can’t wait to find that change. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Using the CliftonStrengths Assessment to Help Manage Change and Build Engagement- Called to Coach S6E9

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with guest Roma Ahuja.

Roma’s role has been to historically focused on helping multinationals develop their teams. Now, Roma’s focused on native professionals who are looking for new ways to develop their professional lives. She needed a tool to help her connect with her clients.

Roma took CSF for herself as a tool to help reveal more instinctual elements of her clients instead of relying on more binary assessments. Roma had an immediate connection with her Top 5. 

Roma also felt an immediate correlation between what her Top 5 talents were and the work she was doing professionally. Though Deliberative gave her pause. By looking further down her list, she found that she was using Individualization and Maximizer to support Deliberative. 

Roma also had a colleague take the assessment and they found that her colleague’s high Executing theme profile explained a lot about how they worked together.
Self-awareness expanded into team development

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Strengths in Motion: Themes Are Not Labels

By Dan Vincent

Even though it may seem overwhelming, knowing and understanding the depth of your Signature Themes is key to making your CliftonStrengths assessment results truly empower your day-to-day life. It is essential that you not fall into the mentality of using your top five as labels or categories — i.e., “You are Achiever.” You are not just “Achiever” — you are so much more than one word. That is the distinction between CliftonStrengths and personality profiles; a profile categorizes, whereas CliftonStrengths reveals themes of talent with which you typically lead your everyday life. 

If you have Achiever as a dominant theme, you may be motivated to complete the most tasks possible in your day and generally have a great deal of stamina to do so. You might feel discouraged, even defeated, when faced with nothing to do. Statements like these describe how your talents influence your tendencies, motivations and needs, but they are not a full description of you. Merely labeling yourself “Achiever” is a shortcut that misses the depth of your talent, the depth of how you think, feel and behave. To set your CliftonStrengths in motion, dig a bit deeper. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mastery Monday: Productive Aiming: Competition (2018)

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, once famously said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Those with Competition as one of their Signature Themes understand the truth of that statement because to them there is nothing like winning. But there is a lesser-known Vince Lombardi quote that perhaps sums up the philosophy of Competition even more accurately: “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” What marks the true spirit of the Competition theme isn’t just the desire to win; everybody likes to win. But hating to lose, well, that is another matter. Competition hates to lose, and as such chooses it’s “games” wisely — if I can’t win, why even play? Competition needs metrics, because metrics spur comparison. “What are the numbers I have to beat? What is the time I need to win? Who is ahead of me — of us? Who is the closest competitor in our market? Are we more productive this month than last month? What are our year-over-year numbers, and who do we need to beat?” Competing drives performance, and it is performance that counts.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Activator: The Brave First Step - Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Activator. 

If you’re an Activator you’re a starter, a realizer. You can really quickly take an idea and make it into something going on. There’s confidence and courage in Activator. It is about taking opportunity in the moment. You have more courage than others to begin. The beauty of Activator is that it takes a brave first step on situations others had been too scared to begin. You have the ability to think through next steps, and are able to get things moving with these steps. An Activator dreams about the act of pushing things off center and getting things going. 

Who are you when you’re at your best? You are taking advantage of opportunities that other people are missing. You are finding your area of expertise that will catapult your career to a new place. An Activator can not only start their own progress, but can also inspire others to take that first step. At its best Activator is also about taking action on ideas that others are still considering. There is a continual motion to always start something. There is a gracefulness in knowing to push that first domino when others are still working on getting them set-up. 

There is a lot of risk in starting something, and Activators are willing to take that risk. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Preview of the 3rd Annual CliftonStrengths Summit - Called to Coach S6E8

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Andrew Bridger and Abbie Goranson.

The 3rd Annual CliftonStrength Summit is Monday, July 16 through Wednesday, July 18 here in Omaha, Nebraska! The current price is $795. There is a discount for Certified Coaches & Educators – haven’t received, email

All Travel Information can be found at under the Travel Information tab including information about the negotiated rates at 11 different hotels in close proximity to all event locations. 

Transportation Information is listed under the list of preferred hotels. All of our hotels except the EVEN, Hampton Inn Airport, and Holiday Inn Airport will have complimentary shuttles running to and from our venues. We will also have busses running back and forth to the airport and the CenturyLink Convention Center at the close of the Summit on Wednesday. Don’t forget that Omaha has Uber & Lyft and is a very walkable city!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Strategy for Using Employee Engagement & Strengths in Healthcare - Called to Coach S6E7

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths coach Penny Gray.

Penny Gray is a registered Organisational Psychologist and holds the position of Group Learning & Development Consultant at St Vincent’s Health Australia (SVHA), a large National health and aged care provider. Penny uses strengths-based strategies to help leaders and teams throughout her organization improve performance and engagement.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Mastery Monday: Productive Aiming: Communication (2018)

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

 “Let me phrase it another way …”

If you have Communication among your Signature Themes, you might find yourself saying this often as you seek to find the perfect wording or phrase to express an idea. Those with Communication desire to “make it plain” — to give instructions or directions in such a way that the audience has a better understanding of a concept or process. Communication thinks in stories and telling those stories in great detail is one of this theme’s hallmarks. Individuals with Communication in their top five “think out loud”; they come to clarity about what they are thinking by verbally expressing their ideas and seek out partners whom they can bounce ideas off of. Once clarity is achieved, Communication can often paint the picture with words so that others can see it as clearly as they can.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Achiever: A Commitment Towards Completion - Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Achiever. 

What does Achiever look like when it is in its best form? As an Achiever you are an attainer, a doer, a pusher, a tracker, and a pace setter. It is about the stamina to complete. It is a countdown to completion. When you are at your very best as an Achiever it looks like pushing yourself and others towards milestones. It is also about exuding and inspiring more energy than other people. Achievers are constantly on, constantly going, and constantly pushing towards the finish line. In its best state it is also about pushing other people to work harder. It is an understanding of what needs to be done, and how to get there. It is also about crushing your to-do list in a way that advances your own accomplishments. 

Achiever is a great awareness piece in the back of your mind that grows and tracks progress. There’s an element of counting and qualifying to move towards a goal. The thing that stands alone to an Achiever is that it is something that restarts daily. Your Achiever focus is able to look at the progress towards the day to meet your goals. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

How to Make a Difference & Build Your Coaching Business - Called to Coach S6E6

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths coach Dr. Julie Wechsler.

Tell us a bit about yourself
I started working at IBM in Phoenix selling large computer systems where I learned two important things:

  • What’s keeping the customer up at night?
  • No matter how good the technology is, the magic is always in the people

Then I took 10 years off to raise 4 children. When I came back to the workplace, I transitioned to training and education, fell in love with consulting and working with organizations. I then went back to school and got a master’s degree in communications. This jump-started my second career; I set a new goal to work in higher education. Then, I pursued a Ph.D. in educational leadership, started working at Maricopa Community Colleges

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Comparison of CliftonStrengths and the VIA Character Theory

By Adam Hickman and Mary Claire Evans

Coaches today face a variety of assessments choices, all claiming an end result of understanding and creating transformative discussions around personality traits. In this blog, we delve into the history, as well as the similarities and differences, of two widely-used assessment tools — the VIA Survey of Character Strengths and the CliftonStrengths assessment.

VIA Character Theory

Clinical psychologist Dr. Neal Mayerson and renowned researcher Dr. Martin Seligman began to explore the field of positive psychology in the late 1990s. Mayerson and Seligman used social science to examine the construct of character; precisely, the characteristics that define what is best about people. 

In 2001, they established the VIA Institute on Character, a non-profit organization. The name “VIA” is derived from “Values in Action” and is a reference to the role the Institute plays in connecting research and practice. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mastery Monday: Productive Aiming: Command (2018)

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

People high in Command instinctively take charge, express their opinions and calm the chaos. They are not afraid to take risks or to confront and can bring emotional clarity to thorny situations. There is an emotional power to Command, a power that can break the logjam, face the facts and deliver the bad news. But it is important to note, though, that while those with Command can share bad news, their purpose is always to move forward, resolve issues and attain the goal. Command motivates the team to “take the hill,” no matter how difficult the battle may be. People are drawn to those with Command in part because they know where they stand, and in part, because of the confidence they instill in their followers.

Command inspires, but also intimidates — often without realizing it. However, there can be a calculation to intimidation, because often threats to the team need to be intimidated in order to be vanquished. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Season 4 Kick-Off-Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about the new season of Theme Thursday in this kick-off event. 

Welcome back to another exciting season of Theme Thursday! We would like to begin by recapping all of the great content in Season 3. For Season 3 we focused on Strengths-Based Leadership. If you read Strengths-Based Leadership you will find that it’s different from any other business success book. Whereas those books may teach you how to become successful by being like them, Strengths-Based Leadership teaches you to succeed by being yourself. We were able to talk to 34 different leaders to tap into their unique way of being successful. There is no single set of Themes that lead to successful leadership. There isn’t a set profile of a leader, but the way that the Themes are constructed help influence the work that they do. 

As we think about Season 4 we want to focus on success. We will be thinking about strategies and factors for that success. The interest and enthusiasm towards CliftonStrengths is going to be geared towards performance. We want you to think about not just how can you name each theme, but how can you aim them. We are going to go in-depth with suggesting the action you can take while diving into all 34.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Learn About Building a Strengths Coaching Program at Your University - Called to Coach S6E5

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Mark Pogue, the Executive Director of the Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration.

Mark Pogue dives into updates on the UNL CliftonStrengths Institute. He interviews Liz Ubele, a Peer Career Guide at UNL. Liz was the #1 rated coach by the students she coached in the fall. Tune in to hear more about the program. 

Are you interested in learning more about having a higher-ed coaching program at your university? Join Mark Pogue on Monday, July 16 (right before the CliftonStrengths Summit), for a pre-conference session to visit the UNL campus and see the CliftonStrengths Institute's facilities. Participants will attend multiple learning sessions that highlight best practices on how to implement a strengths coaching program within your university. 

Here's how to register for this pre-conference session (you must be registered for the summit to book your spot): 

  • Go to the CliftonStrengths Summit homepage
  • Click on the "Register" button
  • Click on "Already registered?"
  • Login with your confirmation number
  • Click on "Modify," then hit "Next"
  • Now you should be on the Session Registration page
  • Scroll down to Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Choose "Higher Education Strengths Strategy Day"
  • Scroll to bottom of the page and click "Next"
  • Select "Next" again and then complete the purchase on the payment page
Join us at the 2018 CliftonStrengths Summit to learn more about improving your workplace or school through strengths. Register today to reserve your spot! 

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!

Mark Pogue is the Executive Director of the Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration. In this role, he creates strengths-based programs at the university to empower students, staff and faculty to lead successful, self-directed lives with the knowledge of their talents and how to apply them. Prior to coming to UNL, he was the senior director of strengths development in the education division of Gallup Inc. In his 15 years with Gallup, Pogue was a consultant and speaker to higher education institutions, K-12 school districts and Fortune 500 companies on building strengths-based organizations. He has shared his message of moving from strengths to thousands of educators and students at more than 250 campuses and national conferences. Pogue also led the design and implementation of StrengthsQuest, a campus-based human development and engagement program, created to help students apply their strengths in academics and career. Under his direction the program grew to more than three million participants in a wide range of settings on over 600 campuses.

Pogue earned his master’s degree in leadership from UNL and his bachelor’s degree in management science from Oklahoma State University.

Pogue’s Top Five Strengths are: Self-Assurance, Activator, Ideation, Intellection and Command

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Manage by Exception, Not the “Golden Rule”

By Tim Simon

The “Golden Rule” states: “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” Variations of this mantra date back as far as 5,000 years. At home and in school, I was taught to abide by this philosophy.

When I was 10, I thought I was practicing the Golden Rule when my parents asked me what my brother wanted for his birthday. In a split second, I replied, “Green Ghost” — a board game that glowed and you played in the dark. I loved that game! But when my 13-year-old brother opened the gift, I immediately detected his lack of enthusiasm. For the next year, whenever my parents were not around Michael reminded me of how I had messed up his birthday. So the following year, when my parents asked me what Michael wanted for his birthday, I simply stated, “Go ask him.” 

Fast-forward a few years. Almost every manager I worked for during my career spoke of “treating others as you want to be treated.” For me, the result was similar to my brother’s experience with “Green Ghost” — I received praise and rewards that mirrored the way my managers liked to be praised and rewarded. Moreover, my development plans often consisted of improving less around my natural talents and more around my managers’ strengths. I was frustrated and disengaged because few of my managers asked me how I wanted to be recognized.     

Monday, March 19, 2018

Mastery Monday: Productive Aiming: Belief (2018)

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

“I can’t understand why they are doing this — it is just plain wrong!” 

If you have Belief in your top five, you very likely feel this way when you experience a breach of ethics. People high in Belief are seen as dependable because they are driven to act on their values and take a stand when a value is at stake. Their values give their lives meaning. Life is more than money, position or prestige: the most important aspect of life is staying true to one’s values. It’s about doing the right thing — and always doing the right thing. 

There is also a justice component to Belief: justice for self and justice for others that goes beyond fairness. The vision of a just society is often a profound motivator for those high in Belief. 

Making a difference. Doing what is right and fair and just. Ensuring that your actions are in line with your values. Speaking up when something is just not right. That is Belief — and it makes you a powerful proclaimer of the truth.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Comparison of CliftonStrengths and the StandOut Assessment Theory

By Adam Hickman and Mary Claire Evans

There are a variety of assessment-based development theories and tools in the market today that coaches can use. In this blog, we will compare two theories — the StandOut Assessment Theory and CliftonStrengths — weighing out the differences and providing a little history, too.

StandOut Assessment Theory

The StandOut Assessment was developed and tested by the Marcus Buckingham Company between 2001 and 2010. Marcus Buckingham worked with Dr. Donald Clifton at Gallup and co-authored the 2001 Gallup book Now, Discover Your Strengths with Dr. Clifton. The book presented a positive, strengths-based psychology lens, and Buckingham duplicated the efforts of the strengths-based philosophy when establishing the StandOut Assessment. In essence, the assessment aims to determine what is right with individuals and build upon their strengths. In the introduction to his book, StandOut, Buckingham acknowledges that he replicates the perspective of the CliftonStrengths Assessment. However, instead of the 34 talent themes, the book focuses on Nine Strengths Roles; and instead of one’s top five strengths, StandOut reveals a person's top two strength roles. One can see the similarity in just the results of the assessment. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What About Weaknesses? Part 2 With Dean Jones - Called to Coach S6E4

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

Weaknesses – we all have a lot of them!

Don Clifton quote – “Focus on what’s right” – get interpreted as never think about weaknesses

  • Historical context – nascent age of psychology
  • Any development journey includes an assessment (an accounting) of what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s working and not working
Important component of growth is self-awareness.  Self-awareness is incomplete without an awareness or appreciation of weaknesses.  

Six assertions about weaknesses to inform the discussion:

  1. Strengths and weaknesses are not opposites.  You don’t create a strength out of a weakness.  
    • Strengths are based on a repository of talent.  When you dig into a weakness, you seldom find a talent – you typically find an absence of talent.  
  2. People often take their talent for granted – the fallacy of ease.  So they are inclined to invest in areas where things seem hard, assuming that mastering them will provide the great growth.  
    • They think what comes easily must not be valuable, and what is hard and takes work is better.  Work at what comes easily. 
    • Mastery is about capitalizing on talent, rather than overcoming the odds.
    • “Rudy” is about a moment of victory, not a lifetime of success and accomplishment.  Where could you best apply yourself?  In the end, it’s a sad story. 
  3. You can’t “fix” a weakness.  There is really nothing to fix – nothing to work with.  You need to aware of it, account for it.  
    • Like driving around a barrier, rather than driving through it.  
  4. Weaknesses don’t really develop in the same way as strengths.  Strengths develop infinitely.  
    • They develop incrementally – they don’t have the same return.
    • They don’t develop in the same fluid, intuitive fashion 
      • Rhythm to a dancer
      • Mikaela Shifferin – “just getting started”
  5. Weaknesses get uncovered over time.  
    • CliftonStrengths is like a treasure map – it tells you where to start digging.  But experience and application over time give you real understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.  
    • You might go back to the map to orient yourself, but you want to focus on the application and experience of talents to develop them.
  6. Weaknesses are relative. As you develop, yesterday’s strengths are today’s weaknesses. 
    • You get narrow. You focus. That is the path to being world class. 
    • The best get ruthless - honest, truthful - about their weaknesses, so they can keep focusing. 

Much work of strengths coaches can be helping people become aware of their weaknesses and use their strengths to overcome them.  

Usually that means a strengths coaches need to help the person they are coaching with:

  • Being aware of their weaknesses
  • Being responsible for them
  • Using strengths-based strategies to manage them and produce results

  • Weaknesses can often be in areas that are blind spots
  • People may have a passing awareness of their weaknesses – but don’t really see the impact
  • Awareness-building often happens through a combination of receiving feedback and understanding impact
    • Direct feedback is most valuable 
    • Understanding the impact on two levels – impact on others, and impact on self
Awareness issues:

  • Claiming strengths you don’t have
  • Not seeing weaknesses
  • Being unaware of your strengths
  • Being unaware of your non talents 


  • People who legitimately know their strengths tend to be more forthcoming with their weaknesses. 
    • Fatal flaw is believing their strengths apply to everything (Icarus)
  • You can’t make someone be responsible – they have to give it to themselves.  It is a process of taking ownership.  
    • Not about finding fault – it’s about understanding that “I have a say in the way this goes.” 

Strengths-based Strategies

  • It only makes sense that the best way to apply yourself to addressing your weaknesses would be to use your areas of greatest talent.  
    • That’s why we look to our strengths as the best way to address weaknesses.

Strategies for addressing weaknesses:

  1. Create Open Dialogue and Transparency
  2. Intentionally Leverage your Strengths
  3. Find Support Systems
  4. Build Complementary Partnerships
  5. Get the Right Education
  6. Set Reasonable Standards and Just Do It
  7. Adjust or Change Roles

This is not about inspiration.  This is not about “believe in yourself.”  This is about identifying and getting clear about your talent - and then putting it to work. 

Join us at the 2018 CliftonStrengths Summit to learn more about improving your workplace through strengths. Register today before early bird pricing ends! 

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.
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