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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

5 Whirlwind Lessons From a Newly-Certified Strengths Coach

By Cindy Grady

The most meaningful discoveries I’ve made in my journey to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach are the same lessons I learned from The Wizard of Oz. Whether you’re intimately familiar with the journey of the farm girl from Kansas or not, I think you’ll find some magic in these lessons, just as I have. 

1. Follow your own yellow brick road. 

As a newly-certified CliftonStrengths coach, I have learned that everyone has a different style and different path to finding their coaching “groove.” As someone who leads with Maximizer, this was very distressing at first. I wanted to understand what the perfect formula was, replicate it, and make it better. I learned to draw on my supporting theme of Individualization to make my coaching journey my own. 
It’s okay to have a different coaching style. Dorothy and her friends appreciated each other’s differences and you should appreciate your own as well. Once I embraced the uncertainty of not having a fixed path, I could enjoy every step and dial into my Maximizer to improve what I learn along the way.  

2. Friends can make your journey more interesting. 

Starting with the Accelerated Strengths Coaching Course, you have a built-in network of helpful coaching friends. Treasure these connections and reach out to your fellow coaches when you need encouragement or a different point of view. Gallup’s blogs, social media groups and podcasts are also wonderful ways to connect with coaches both near and far. At Gallup, we have an internal Coaches Club that meets monthly to share ideas and best practices with one another. Maybe you could start your own club! If you are looking for courage, a brilliant idea or a way to tap into your talents, just look to your friends for some inspiration!

3. Go after your dreams and discover a colorful world. 

Sometimes coaching will feel uncomfortable. There will be moments of silence. Following your dream of becoming a great coach requires that you get comfortable with that discomfort. That’s where the magic happens — just over the rainbow! Whenever I start feeling uncomfortable, I dig deep to find my courage and lean into the moments of uncomfortableness. I ask the hard questions. I let there be silence. When I first started coaching, I would actually silently count to five in my head. These moments of silence are the pivotal times when true growth and exploration can happen. Just be sure not to let self-doubt fly in like those darned blue monkeys! 

4. There’s no need to hide behind a curtain. 

Remember how the great Wizard of Oz felt he needed to hide? Forget it. When I coach new coaches, I always remind them that being transparent is critical. You don’t have to feel like you are 100% prepared to start coaching. You don’t have to memorize every exercise, every tool and each theme insight card to get started. You can openly share your coaching resources with your clients. Explore the theme insight cards together, review the Paired Up booklet with your clients and use these tools to open up deeper conversations. Know yourself — be brave enough to share your authenticity — and the rest will follow.

5. You’ve had the magic in you all along. 

This one is my favorite. As a new coach, never doubt the unique power and edge that you bring to the conversation. You know the right questions to ask. Don’t overthink it. Be confident in your talents. You don’t need special ruby red slippers to be your best self. Be open to the wonders within you, and be confident that some things just come in time. 

A Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Cindy helps clients consider meaningful questions that lead to powerful discoveries and improved performance in her role as a workplace consultant with Gallup. Prior to joining Gallup, Cindy worked in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors as a leader and creative strategist. She received her bachelor’s degree in communications and minors in Mandarin and art from Buena Vista University. Her master’s degree is in management from Bellevue University. 

Cindy's top 5 CliftonStrengths Signature themes are: Maximizer | Achiever | Significance | Competition | Focus.


Alex Wong said...

Awesome lessons! And welcome to the Strengths Coaching Community! I'm sure you will be impacting lives more than you imagined you could when you started!

Craig said...

Cindy, I found this post very encouraging. Thank you!

Craig Trombly
Gallup Certified Strengths Coach

Dawn Nizzi said...

Thank you, Cindy!
Well said and meaningful. Your Wizard of Oz analogy was perfect.

Margaret Ricci said...

So awesome to read this! I'm a new Certified Coach too and constantly rethink myself instead of going with the flow. In the end, this is about our clients and not about us - that refocus and what you hit on with trusting that you know the best things to say are the medicine that we all need (or maybe I should say The Way Back to Kansas). Thanks for a great blog, complete with the perfect analogies!!

Margaret Ricci

Chris Chapin said...

As an aspiring strengths coach who struggles with the question.... Am I qualified?
This was really encouraging.
Thanks so much for sharing.

Chris Chapin said...

For an aspiring strengths coach, This was music to my ears:)
My most common self question is....Am I qualified?
thanks for sharing the encouragement!

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