For many of us, there are times in life when our energy levels are low and we’re struggling to find the enthusiasm to jump up and embrace the fullness of life. Our motivation is simply lacking.
Perhaps because things are tough, there’s a challenge to face or a new season to adjust to. These are the times when coaching can make a real, tangible and uplifting difference.
So as coaches, how can you use a strengths-based approach to increase our client’s motivation and zest for life?
Feed the Strengths
A seed needs the right soil to grow, mixed with some water and sunlight. Then the magic happens and the plant comes to life. In the same way, an individual’s CliftonStrengths® themes need the ideal environment and the right situations to stimulate positive action.
So how do you identify that perfect environment?
Cascade’s Brings & Needs report identifies the specific needs for each strength theme. And it lists several activities that will help nurture that theme to increase motivation. As a coach, you can then use this report to enter into a meaningful, targeted discussion with your client to turn these concepts into tangible actions.
For example, an individual with the CliftonStrengths® theme of Responsibility® needs the ‘freedom to take ownership’. So where does your client feel they do or don’t have the authority to do this? Explore real situations, and identify areas of work/life where they feel they need more clarity around their role. By seeking clear expectations and decision-making autonomy, your client will feel more invigorated and purposeful.
Other themes have different needs. Anyone with the theme of Communication® needs an audience to engage with and opportunities to share stories. So look at what situations will help your client to connect with those around them?
Once you’ve worked with your client to identify what the tangible motivating factors are for each of their themes, the next stage is to plan how frequently these activities need to happen. This builds resilience and sustainability.
The Rhythm of Motivation worksheet in Cascade’s Theme Advantage section does just that. There are spaces for daily, weekly and monthly activities. Work through the table together to set a realistic pace to maintain a steady level of motivation. (Just like a plant which needs regular watering and occasional feeding!)
For example, someone with the Relator® theme needs ‘opportunities for one on one conversations’. This could be having a coffee with a friend, or a phone/video conversation. But the frequency and type will vary from person to person. So by discussing this with your client, you can help them understand how many of these conversations are needed and build them into the daily or weekly calendar.
We suggest working through each of your client’s top five themes and deciding on the frequency and type of activities needed. Together you can then create the ideal timetable to help them stay motivated.
However, do also encourage them to be realistic and consider what is actually practical and achievable. Setting ambitious goals might sound good but actually results in the opposite of what you’re aiming to accomplish with this activity. Constantly failing to meet a target is very demotivating for anyone!
You might like to suggest that your client finds an accountability partner to help them maintain momentum. Some people also find it useful to rate their level of motivation on a daily or weekly basis. They can then review this over time, either personally or as part of a follow-up session with you. Above all, discuss together the best method that works for them – and encourage them to keep it up!
The Brings & Needs and the Theme Advantage reports are just a couple of the reports available in Cascade. Gallup Strengths coaches all over the world benefit from the Cascade reports, based on CliftonStrengths® (previously StrengthsFinder®).
Invaluable Preparation Tool
The Cascade tool is proving invaluable in helping me to grow the coaching arm of our business. Enriching my preparation time, it enables me to spend less time on getting the supporting documents ready and more time thinking about the client. Cascade does more than that though; it has also given me rich thinking clues, helping me to devise new coaching conversations and activities with clients and make the most of the wonderful Gallup source material.
Elizabeth Beroud – United Kingdom Beroud Consulting
Photo by Ashkan Forouzani