We invest vast amounts of time and money into our physical bodies to keep us in good shape. Why is the same not true for our mental agility? All too often we repeat the same things the same way and get the same results. Perhaps it is in how we talk to our colleagues, the way we approach a task, our perception of others, our priorities or our measurement of success. It is so easy to get caught in a rut and blame the way we are – “That’s who I am.”
Is that really us in our best light?
We have some great qualities, but are we using them to the best of our ability? Someone may appear narrow-minded or single-tracked, which can look like a weakness. This could be the Focus® theme blasting at full volume. Pulling it back a bit and opening it up to a more external perspective, this person could be great at keeping a team away from distractions and on the right track to achieve the goal.
Taking the CliftonStrengths® assessment is the first step. Gaining a better awareness of ourselves and discussing it with a qualified coach, expands our horizons and increases the options available. An experienced coach will be able to identify aspects that may be holding someone back or tripping them up. Through structured conversations, they will be able to guide that person into a greater level of awareness to see, then overcome the issue.
Discussing these aspects with a strengths coach creates a sense of accountability, in the same way a sports coach looks to develop individuals for their game. Presenting a frustrating situation or pending challenge to a strengths coach may be an appropriate place to begin.
Many strengths coaches hold meetings in person, however video conferencing (such as Skype) or by phone can be very effective.
Coaching for Managers
Personal coaching can help us thrive in our own work so how can we capitalise on the strengths of our staff?
We are all different so recognising the qualities of each person to draw out their best requires us to adapt our approach. Understanding the needs of the strengths for our staff provides the foundations for them to give of their best.
Becoming aware of our own strengths and our measurements of success increases our external perspective of ourselves. Our motivators may not be the same as those for our staff. Appreciating diversity can lead to effective partnerships where each person compliments the other.
Coaching for Teams
Teamwork is most effective when there is a common goal and each person can contribute their best. This requires the appreciation of diversity and the recognition of the talents of others. Creating a balanced team across the four Domains of Leadership increases collaboration and success. Identifying effective partnerships enables two or more people to enhance each others’ abilities delivering a greater performance.
Few teams escape the conflicting personalities that disrupt or destroy productivity. The CliftonStrengths material opens up a language to help describe personal characteristics. Explaining frustrations in the strengths language provides a common ground for communication. Taking time to discuss the benefits of diversity increases understanding and cooperation.
Finding a Coach
It is important to work with a coach that is right for you. There should be sufficient common ground to forge the relationship and create understanding. However, suitable diversity is needed to explore different perspectives. Sometimes, the person who you may think is the least like yourself, can offer the best insight and the much needed nudge in the right direction.
All coaches follow a code of conduct and many have additional accreditation. The Gallup Certified Strengths Coaches receive the Gallup training, complete their coaching assessments and pass the Gallup strengths coaching exam to qualify. Gallup also requires all their coaches to re-certify every two years to maintain their high standards.
Richard Sterry lives in Surrey, UK and is available for local or remote coaching for individuals and teams. Contact Richard for more information.