“Who are you?” If you get this question, what would be your first answer?
Most of us start listing what we do, mentioning our job title and/or study achievements, some share some info on their family situation, etc.
Rarely people present themselves with their talents! Why?
Because we don’t always know or are aware of our true strengths. On top of that, we have no real formal language around strengths to express ourselves and communicate these to others in a relevant way. So, we tend to remain very generalistic e.g. “I am introvert or extrovert, I like to work with people, I am creative, flexible, like to lead and so on.” But there is so much more to who we are and what we have to offer than these general descriptions!
In strengths coaching, we go to the very heart of what makes you thrive. We explore your talent DNA and deepen the way you build relationships, make things happen and execute, think things through and how you make decisions and influence others. We find ways for you to be at your best!
Why knowing your talent is not enough!
Your talent is like a muscle that needs training to be built into real strengths. So, it is not enough to just put a name on your talent and that’s it! However, it is a great start. Personal growth and strengths development starts with a talent assessment, followed by two important development steps as defined by Clifton Strengths methodology.
Step 1: Getting to know your talents
The Cliftonstrengths assessment provides you with a first in-depth insight and awareness in your top 5-10 talent themes. It is immediately a test of self-knowledge and let you consider how these relate to recent feedback or experiences you got.
Step 2: Understanding the value and impact of your strengths
Appreciate who you are and start noticing the true value of each of your talents.This part is also about realising your weaknesses, accepting your non-talents and start appreciating the value of complementary partnerships and collaboration with other talents. Start appreciating that you need other talents in your team to excel. This sounds easy but often it’s not. People tend to see what they don’t have. So coaching keeps on directing towards the unique value and power of strengths, not of ‘fixing weaknesses’.
Step 3: Investing and strengthening your talents
It requires investment in your potential to apply and improve your talents for better performance. It is about leading with a positive intent to grow from what you do best and manage your non-talents so they will not stand in the way of your effectiveness and productivity. Meanwhile you will experience challenges, stressful moments and difficulties. Therefore, managing and strengthening your talents is a daily commitment and requires full awareness of what is happening and a focus on aiming your talents towards goals.
A strengths-based approach should be applied in all main areas of human resource management
This is my personal belief, coming from 18 years of HR experience. The strengths-based approach touches on so many layers of human wellbeing and organisational effectiveness and it creates a very positive outlook on people and the diversity of our uniqueness. It looks at positive traits of people instead of judging what is wrong. It builds openness, trust and connection. The application of this methodology in HR is really a multiplier for success, effectiveness and personal wellbeing.
Below 6 area’s in HR that can benefit from a strengths-based approach:
Helps people and teams perform better and grow excellence in role and responsibilities
If people can perform from their talents towards a specific goal or achievement, they thrive. This does not mean they are not willing to take up certain tasks or responsibilities that they do not like. In strengths coaching we look at the way to do things best towards a given role or performance goals. So aim for the same results but from an individual authentic style by learning from your strengths and weaknesses. In strengths coaching we discover what is so unique about you in how you can perform successfully. How do you optimize your potential to continuously support yourself in navigating through complexity, challenges and change?
Enables managers to provide helpful and constructive feedback
Feedback can be a very stressful experience for both employees and managers. However feedback that is focused on strengthening the talents and managing negative perceptions or unhealthy barriers, is the most honest and constructive feedback. Bringing in a positive focus to feedback, without ignoring the non-talents, is also much easier for people to process and internalise. Getting feedback with such a clear development intention really builds confidence to succeed.
ACHIEVER® (One of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder THEMES) likes to work hard towards goals but risks to create unhealthy behaviour when becoming unrealistic in its challenges. Feedback helps the person to managing that perception.
Helps employees manage personal well-being at work
Our talents can struggle and get out of balance. This is what happens under high amounts of stress or when we get tired whilst dealing with all kinds of difficulties and challenges. When talents struggle, they cannot thrive. So, you need to balance them again. What does your talent need right now? Deep down we all seek connection, autonomy and capability and our talents need to be supported in the right way. Strengths-based coaching can help restore this balance.
Allows employees to gain more confidence to succeed in their career challenges and choices they need to make.
In order to be professionally successful (and personally fulfilled!) we should enable people to aim their talents towards a job, a promotion or next career step where they can truly strengthen the potential of it. Staying fully aware of what our talents need to be at their best and what our pitfalls lead to, can help us to develop a strong personal career development plan that helps us succeed in the choices we make!
It can help employees to be able to anticipate and decide more quickly on an opportunity that comes along or is offered and answer the question “Is this right for me with the talents that I have?”
Ensures that people managers have a bigger positive impact on their team members
Every great manager should be fully aware of his/her talents and their non-talents in order to harness and manage these effectively. Talents are a great source to inspire, grow and lead others. Managers have the biggest positive impact when they lead by example by living their true talents and being authentic. It is about individualizing your management style and feedback to get the best out of each of your team members.
A great people manager helps people feel connected with their team members, enhancing true strengths, collaboration and creating professional development opportunities to leverage their talents. In strengths coaching they discover how they can lead others effectively through their own strengths.
Helps build a positive, empowering collaboration culture.
Applying talents in the workplace helps people connect with each other from a place of authenticity and strength. It increases collaboration and partnerships, towards a common purpose and makes the workplace more meaningful!
Talents give a language to help us understand each other and appreciate our differences. It enables people to look for complementary partners at work. It invites team members to express what they bring to their team and what they need to be at their best. Other team members can help by compensating for our non-talents and deal with or even anticipate negative perceptions and learn how to manage them.
A strengths-based approach helps to create a thriving workplace, boost productivity and supercharges the well-being of all employees – in all their diversity.