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Friday, June 28, 2019

The Magic of CliftonStrengths: An Asian Perspective -- Gallup Called to Coach: Sidney Cordero (S7E23)

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Sidney Cordero, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach from the Philippines, about his journey into strengths coaching, his coaching style and the successes he's had over more than a decade of coaching in multiple contexts. 

Our guest host was Saurav Atri, Regional Director for Southeast Asia at Gallup.

Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above.

[6:55] Saurav Atri: Tell us a little more about what made you get into strengths coaching particularly.

Sidney Cordero: Would you believe if I told you that I wanted to be a priest? So way back in high school, I entered the seminary and I basically wanted to give hope and stability in the lives of people, and just care for the poor. But then afterwards I realized I could do that outside and not just being a priest. 

So I studied in the Ateneo (University in the Philippines) and I realized that I could do magic in the lives of people who needed help, especially those who needed to turn around their academic performance. And I did a lot of those, and I realized that wow, I have the talent for this. And I'm making a lot of difference in the lives of people, so I said I'm going to do this -- I'm going to help people by teaching them, by coaching them, by helping them look at their strengths rather than their weaknesses, and see how they can develop some more. 

And basically, I was creating a network of people who afterwards saw that it's not just about academics that they can make a difference in the lives of others; they can do that with other things. They may be poor in one subject, but they are really great at other subjects. 

And so it built the confidence in them, and right now, they are really good professionals and I am really proud of them actually and a part of my network right now, helping others create differences in the lives of others as well. 

[9:01] SA: Thank you for sharing that. And it's true -- strengths can provide magic to people's lives. What's your style of impacting people and teams, bringing magic to them? How do you do it?

SC: I'll go back to what I mentioned a while ago about Pilipinas Shell (Corporation). My first assignment was with a business unit that was in the red. So they were in the red because they were supposed to be sold, and the people there are just looking for jobs or are being placed in other business units because they're really good, they're high-potentials.

So the (this particular) business unit is really meant to not perform. But then the decision was reversed, and now they had to get a young, brilliant guy to lead and basically revive the business. So this a chance where I could help, both from an individual domain and from an organizational domain. And so what I used was the microeconomics Gallup Path of Dr. Clifton, and I am so fond of using that because it gives perspective into what we do, the business case (for) what we do. And making sure that the business thrives. 

[12:09] SC: Now, we are coming from an organization that is dysfunctional -- people are looking at themselves, their own individual selves; they want to survive. Because they were about to be sold. So they were just thinking of themselves. Now we need to let them see that we are now an organization again, and we need to focus on business results. But we need to do this collaboratively.

And so going back to The Gallup Path, we started with identifying the strengths and making people understand the strengths of one another, and contributing to those strengths and complementing blind spots. And then, we actually asked them to check "What jobs are you really good at, given your strengths?"

So we had to reassign other people who were assigned to the wrong jobs and so that's where "The Right Fit" (step on The Gallup Path) came. Because some salespeople aren't really fit for sales. They're doing a lot of analysis but they are not closing. So "The Right Fit" came.

And then we had to make sure that we build Great Managers (next step on The Gallup Path). And that was so critical in the process. And I was so hard on the managers because they have their own mindsets about managing, but in this case, to make The Gallup Path work, we need to be single-minded about strengths and about engagement, making sure it works. 

You see, that alone helped create initiatives like -- we're going to have a 3 p.m. huddle. It's Boracay time (resort island in the Philippines) -- the story, the recognition. So there's a place where it reminds him of Boracay, and the bell rings at 3:00, and people just huddle around and congratulate people for the things they did well. And every day, and that's where the great managers came in, making sure they made recognition happen.

That built engaged employees, and after one year, we turned around the business. What made it happen? We looked at two sides: organizational change and individual change. 

In organizational change, we needed to look at the processes, the culture and the values that we needed to follow, but people needed to know -- are you taking care of me? And that's where strengths come in. Because strengths is personal. 

Strengths look at mindset and motivations of people, and that's why it's so critical that they are holding that book -- it's a white and (red) book; a smaller one. And they're holding that book and saying, the company takes care of me because they understand my motivation and they understand my mindset, and my efforts are geared to what I do best. And basically that's how I was able to help impact individuals and teams in an organization. 

You can start using your CliftonStrengths today:

Sidney Cordero is known for his work on talent management and leadership development, especially in developing leaders for the future. His work on strengths coaching and employee engagement has helped individuals and organizations perform and achieve their goals.

In 2004, he was formally trained and certified as a Strengths Coach by Gallup in Mumbai, India under Standard Chartered Bank. With that, the eagle found his wings and took flight. Together with his training on Q12, he unleashed the power of strengths everywhere he could make a difference, even at home.

His corporate experience spanning over 25 years working in Sales, Organizational Development and Human Capital Management in different industries within Asia Pacific has helped him assess and provide strategic and practical solutions and guidance that enabled individuals and organizations to achieve their aspirations. He has done his best work in leading development initiatives and in coaching individuals and teams. He lives his life's purpose when enabling people to succeed and build a better future for others.

Today, Sidney leads the learning and development initiatives of the Philippines’ leading renewable and clean energy company, First Gen Corporation and its parent company, First Philippine Holdings Corporation. 
Sidney Cordero's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Input, Maximizer, Achiever, Learner and Individualization.

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