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Monday, February 5, 2018

Mastery Monday 2018: Productive Aiming

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

Name It! Claim It! Aim It!

“Name It! Claim It! Aim It!” is a foundational coaching framework in the world of strengths-based coaching. To maximize their talent and build their strengths, individuals first need to be able to give a name to their natural patterns of thought, feeling and behavior — which is what the CliftonStrengths assessment does so accurately. Individuals then need to claim those talents by being able to identify instances in their work and life where these talents “show up” and make a positive impact. Finally, they need to aim their talents at a desired outcome or goal — and that’s the tricky part. Because unless a talent is positively developed, “aiming” can turn out, well, disastrously.

So how do we as coaches help our clients productively aim their talents for maximum positive effect? 
That is the theme of this year’s Mastery Mondays: Productive Aiming. As I did with last year’s “Compare and Contrast” Mastery Monday series, I will examine each of the 34 CliftonStrengths themes and explore ways coaches can help their clients positively use that theme in pursuit of a goal. Let’s set the stage.

Non-Productive Aiming

Without developing a talent, aiming that talent prematurely can actually do more harm than good. For example, let’s say that Sarah has taken the CliftonStrengths assessment and discovers she has Achiever in her top five. The description of Achiever deeply resonates with her, and as she reads it she finds herself nodding in agreement and saying “that’s so me!” — the naming of her talent is spot-on. Sarah starts thinking about times in her life when she saw these Achiever talents in action: her high-capacity for heavy workloads; her energy when taking on new tasks — and satisfaction in completing them — and her famously lengthy “to-do list” that she somehow always seems to complete to the amazement of her co-workers. Sarah has a lot on her plate right now, with having just received a promotion at work and her twins starting preschool — there seems to be so much more to do! So she decides to aim her Achiever talents to meet the challenges she is facing, knowing that when Achievers add something to their list, it’s motivation to get it done. She keeps adding to her list and checking off the tasks, but in a matter of weeks finds herself on the edge of burn-out. She got all the items checked off her list, but at what cost?

This is an example of non-productive aiming. A strengths coach could have helped Sarah productively aim her Achiever talent by exploring the “helps and hinders” of Achiever with her; increasing her understanding of self-awareness, self-expression and self-regulation; and asking powerful questions that would assist Sarah in developing her innate talents so that they truly become strengths. 

The Components of Productive Aiming

To help their clients productively aim their talents, coaches should focus on three aspects:

1. Understanding the “Helps and Hinders” of a Theme  
Coaches can guide their clients through exploring the positive aspects of a theme: when they’ve seen it make a positive impact, how they’ve intentionally used that theme and achieved positive results, and how the theme contributes to the best version of themselves. Coaches also would be wise to discuss the “hinders” of the theme: blind spots, glare factors, when it has impeded success and other things to watch out for.

2. Understanding Self-Awareness, Self-Expression and Self-Regulation 

  •  a. Self-Awareness — Coaches can educate clients on how to become more aware of their talents — a vital first step in positively developing a talent into a strength.
  •  b. Self-Expression — Coaches can assist their clients in recognizing past expressions of a talent theme and be cognizant of present and future opportunities to positively embody their talent. Another way to think of self-expression is as being the best version of oneself.
  •  c. Self-Regulation — Coaches can help clients determine which theme, or combinations of themes, will help them achieve positive results in specific situations.

3. Developing and Applying a Set of Powerful Developmental Questions for Each of the 34 Themes Coaches can create a sort of “Talent Theme Checklist” to provide a framework for coaching toward achieving goals.

This is the focus for this year’s Mastery Monday. I hope you join me on the journey!

Catch the latest on all Theme Thursday episodes here

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Register for the 2018 CliftonStrengths Summit here!

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. 


greygarious said...

Al, I appreciate your article. Let me begin by stating that I agree wholeheartedly with the philosophy and with the overall intent of Gallup's process design. I wish they would use different terminology to describe it. I mentioned this during my Certification class and want to reiterate my concern here. In the Church, and for may outside the Church, using the phrase "Name it and Claim it" conjures up connotations of prosperity teaching. Prosperity teaching suggests a person can be anything they want to be and have anything they can name (health and/or wealth) simply by having enough faith. Strengths remind us that people cannot be anything they want to be. Each individual is created with certain talents, which when cultivated with knowledge, skill and experience can become strengths. As Gallup continues to market to churches I think the "name it and claim it" nomenclature will be a hindrance. Just food for thought.

Bud Brainerd, D.Min., Certified Strengths Coach.

Success Expressed said...

I'm very excited to learn more on this topic as this is an area that I am struggling with as a new Strengthscoach. Thank you. I look forward to gain insights & practice them in my coaching with clients.

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