I remember attending a Growth Faculty event, many years ago now, where Marcus Buckingham spoke and said something that challenged existing wisdom. It was one of those statements that once you hear it, it smashes the “normal” thinking, but is so simple and profound at the same time, that it is obvious, super obvious. You sit, digesting it, thinking how could you have thought the other way before this statement was uttered.
He was talking about Strengths Based Leadership, concentrating on your strengths, instead of trying to “fix” your weaknesses. How super obvious is that! When you link it to neuroscience research, and being able to affect real change by concentrating on the toward state, not on the away state, eg don’t concentrate on what you have to give up or lose, ie smoking or weight, but on what you will gain, ie running up a flight of stairs, or playing with your grandchildren, added more weight to the argument.
A few years ago I found out you can do a test online and find out what your strengths are, I was like, giddy up! I did not realise the journey this simple 45 mins test would take me on. Let’s face it, I probably would have completed a survey about what type of cat I would be, if I was a cat, I love surveys, especially ones where you get an insight into yourself.
The Cliftons Strengths test, captured perfectly, what it felt like to be me, my core being, who I am when I am very happy, when I have had a fabulous day and get to play in the space that has me in flow.
A brief conversation with a coach, helped me understand it better, but it wasn’t until February/March 2019, when I attended the Strengths Based Coaching course that the real value struck me. (Lucky, as it wasn’t cheap)
What I learnt and why you should pay attention?
You are perfect, just the way you are
In fact you are a little unique as well. Only 1:33 million will have the same top 5 strengths in the same order as you, crazy!
Once you understand your strengths better you will be able to utilise them. This process of utilisation takes 3 steps, understanding them, gathering evidence and then directing them.
Also, evidence is that if you concentrate on your strengths you will have a 6 x better quality of life and be 3 x more engaged in your work. (see rigour below)
Seeing people embrace who they are is a privilege
People start by looking at themselves and their perceived “weaknesses”, trying to work out what they need to do to “fix” themselves. My privilege is seeing that moment when the switch flips in their head and they see their talents in a brand new light, as a help rather than a hindrance. They sit straighter, they smile and laugh more, their step is lighter and the same time more purposeful. It is wonderful to see that moment, when the energy shifts.
It has rigour
I say that Gallup measure everything that moves and that is pretty much correct. The stats they provide are very compelling, like the ones mentioned above. You can also see the statistical deviations of errors and comparisons between this and other tests. They can tell you how often each strength will appear and in what combinations. I love and appreciate this, as there is no way I would check. It is there if someone wants it.
The course to become accredited was challenging and supportive in equal measures. They managed to create an intimate environment for learning and really celebrated what each person brought to the course.
So, why was it with so many potential things to get accredited in loads of different stuff, did I choose this?
I could have gotten certified in, DISC, Myers-Briggs, LSI, Hermann Brain etc etc
I chose Cliftons Strengths Based Coaching - I am Certified Strengths Coach - Woohoo! Because.....
They measure everything, not to justify their course, but with a continuous improvement focus
Infinitely individual. It doesn’t box you into some defined box, your particular combination of strengths make each of the individual parts vibrate very differently. It really is just for you.
It’s powerful for teams. Imagine having a language to help leverage each other’s skills better and collectively address any gaps. I know many profiling tools have this language, but this celebrates what each person brings to the table and doesn’t “apologise” for them or their skills
Ever evolving. Partly due to the measurements, but also you learn more and more about yourself each day, especially when you start directing your strengths
Reaffirming. It can be hard to be you, when everyone appears to be being the same version of each other. This was a fabulous affirmation. I also noticed this add a spark to ignite change for me, which I am super excited about, and I have seen the same spark in others
Coaching tool. It is a very personal and applicable tool to coach people around, using it as a conversation starter and short cut to getting action.
Impressed or Gushy?
You might have guessed I love it and love using it.
I am happy to help you get your own insights, of course
How to get your own insights into your strengths?
If you wish to get your own insights, it’s a 2 step process:
Of course you can just do the assessment
Best of luck and I hope it inspires you as it inspired me.
Incahoots exists to
Unearth possibilities to Design a future that suits you perfectly
Christina Morgan-Meldrum (CMM) is an author, speaker, curator, change professional and podcaster. She particularly loves helping people and organisations unearth what’s possible to design a future that suits you perfectly (Organisations call it a Strategic Roadmap).
She has cultivated the ability to walk into any industry; see what is not seen, distil what is complicated, and simplify the chaos. This skill has been forged in a deliberate and concentrated way for over 20 years, through Personal Coaching and working in Organisational Change Management (before it was even a thing).
Christina fills her time on various side hustles, blogging, podcasting - Quirky & Chenille (Christina is Quirky), and learning the piano. If you are looking for her, she is likely at her spiritual home JB Hi-Fi or exploring stationery stores or artisan markets.