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Originally published on Gallup’s Strengths Coaches’ Playbook.

Cruising-With-Strengths

 

Rachael served as the operations manager for a family-owned bottled water company with over 80 employees. In her day job, she was responsible for a wide range of areas from personnel to procurement, as well as serving on the senior management team. At home, she was a busy mom of two and volunteered as president of a local parent group.

In our first strengths coaching session she admitted, “I’m overwhelmed and feel like I’m on a sinking ship.”

Rather than tell Rachael how to handle her stress with my Command strength, I gently asked her with my Individualization strength, “How could you grow stronger and work smarter with your top five strengths?”

For the next 30 minutes we had fun exploring her Signature Themes, and their potential:

  • Responsibility
  • Consistency
  • Relator
  • Discipline
  • Developer

Then Rachael had an “aha” moment — she recognized that she was overusing, or what I call speeding (80 to 120 mph) with, her Responsibility theme and underusing, or coasting (5 to 40 mph) with, her Relator theme. She was taking on too much psychological ownership at work and home, and emotionally, she was in moderate stages of burnout. She had been isolating herself from friends and couldn’t figure out how to relate authentically in a male-dominated workforce, even though her heart yearned to.

Using her Responsibility theme, she set a goal to hire an assistant who she could delegate more of the daily grind activities to. She also set a goal to practice saying “no” more assertively in her personal and professional life. Then Rachael revved up her Relator theme by making consistent time for girls’ night out, which she had been neglecting and desperately needed. She also nurtured her wellbeing by exercising and tasked herself with reading books on assertiveness and stress-coping skills.

Rachael was discovering that her Relator theme could be used as a tool to dive more deeply in her relationship with herself, not just with others.

After several coaching sessions, Rachael had renewed energy, perspective, and confidence. She created an employee-of-the-week bulletin board, an employee directory, and held a company picnic to help build genuine relationships. She became the strengths champion in team meetings, asking, “How have you used your strengths successfully this week?”

Company morale, the senior management team, and her family benefited from Rachael’s strengths-based coaching, because now she was cruising at 70 mph. With her strengths, it was full steam ahead for Rachael, as she continues to grow stronger and work smarter.

Here are three questions for you to ponder in coaching your clients:

  • Which talent themes can help you ask better questions to explore strengths?
  • When can you help clients turn their strengths inward and outward for success?
  • How could you better help clients understand over- and underusing strengths?

How do you take a 20 ton, 12 foot block of ice and transform it into an elaborate award winning work of art?

Just ask, Singapore Captain Ng See Yian who was gracious to allow me to interview him and learn how his five person team creates their magical snow sculptor called Love, Balance and Community.

Brent-OBannon-StrengthsFinder-Coaching-Blog-Transforming-Talent-2My wife and I got a blast of insight about transforming talent as we watched the 14 countries participating in the 23rd Annual International Snow Sculptor Championship in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Sculptor Rob Neyland said, “Snow is a living medium. It starts as water from the sky, and we just grasp it briefly, and then it’s water again. It’s a lot like life in that respect.”

Talent is a divine given genetic predisposition to think, feel, and act.

Just like snow sculpting teams only have 65 hours to work their magic before being evaluated on their performance we only have a short life time to maximize our talents.

Here are three tips to transform talent.

1. Start with a story.

Team Singapore used their mascot as a model for transforming their block of ice.

The story behind their mascot is that the head of a lion and the body of a fish surrounded by dolphins signifies how the world can communicate courageously, attaining peace by living in love and balance.

Donald Clifton, the father of strengths psychology created the Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment measuring 34 talent themes. Over 8 million people in 22 languages have taken this test and now Gallup strengths evangelist want to up the ante to a billion takers.

Clifton also had a vision of winning the Nobel Peace Prize uniting the world with a positive language of talents and strengths.

What would the world, your family, your church, your work look like if everyone started with the story of strengths?

To coach your clients to transform their talents into strengths, ask them to “describe a story when they were at their best.”

By starting with a personal story they have a model for talent and success.

Transforming-Talent

 

2. Strengthen with tools.

The Snow Sculpture Championship is not allowed to use power tools and can only use hand tools such as chisels, saws, and vegetable peelers. Each sculptor on the team transforms the ice through their skills and precision from years of practice.

Talent is also transformed into strength when we gain knowledge and create a strength based mindset. Honing a positive growth mindset instead of a negative fixed mindset allows character to develop and fuels our talents.

As the book, Outliers describes, true genius is achieved with at least 10,000 hours of repetitive practice.

Coaching, mentoring, masterminding, reading, training, are a few tools used for transforming talents into strengths in everyday life.

3. Succeed with a team.

It’s true “All of us is smarter and stronger than one of us.”

To transform talents to an elaborate work of artful strengths takes the interdependence of strengths from an entire team. Each person has their role and genius that turns a block of ice into love, balance, and community.

No one person has all the strengths needed to create a masterful work of art. It truly takes not only the power of two but the genius of five team members to transform a block of ice into am inspiring award winning masterpiece.

How could your teams capitalize on each others strengths better for success?

Remember to transform talent into strength like the Singapore team transformed ice into a beautiful snow sculpture and then the world will see more love, balance and community.

What is StandOut? TMBC created an assessment that pin points your lead and secondary strength roles and combined role that is your comparative advantage to StandOut at work.

This strengths based assessment is different from the VIA or StrengthsFinder 2.0 in that it measures what we do at work versus who we are at work.

How do you stand out

The 9 strength roles measured by StandOut are:

1. Advisor
2. Connector
3. Creator
4. Equalizer
5. Influencer
6. Pioneer
7. Provider
8. Stimulator
9. Teacher

Not only does the StandOut report give you the definition of each strength role, how you are most powerful, phrases to describe yourself, how to make an immediate impact, how to take your performance to the next level but what to watch out for with your strength roles.

The report will describe your ideal career, how to win as a leader, how to win as a manager, how to win in sales, and how to win in client service.

By the way I’d love to show you how to build your leadership brand, write a better resume or about page on your web site, promote yourself in a big interview or discover a new niche from your comparative advantage revealed in your StandOut report.

For an example view Brent’s StandOut Report.

If you’re eager for strengths application with your VIA, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and StandOut results to grow stronger, work smarter, and live richer in your life and work then download your application for the 2013 – January 14th 7 Week Virtual Strengths Mastermind. Only 7 seats left!

P.S. Defining Moment Opportunity

Can you feel and see yourself as a passionate strengths advocate?
Do you aspire to connect with cutting edge strengths experts?
Will you mobilize your strengths serving the world?

If that’s you then you’ll love to join my brand new Strengths Ambassador Inner Circle and sign up for my FREE kick-off call interviewing Curt Lievsfeld, Sr. Gallup Consultant, co-author of Living Your Strengths on January 7th 9-10:30 AM (CST).

This is a live call and will NOT be recorded.

If you enjoyed the blog today please share your comments and forward to your world.

Do you like what you do?

According to a recent Gallup Poll, 80% of people cannot give a hearty “yes” to this question.

Most people are are waiting for the bell to ring to get off on Friday and dreading going back to work on Monday. The stress hormone Cortisol is released more frequently in those people who dislike their work. This raises blood pressure and damages our bodies. Maybe that’s the reason more heart attacks happen on Mondays.

Not surprisingly, people who dislike their work are twice as likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression over the next year. And people who enjoy their work have significantly lower cholesterol, triglycerides and higher levels of happiness and well being.

Studies show that the #1 person people do not want to be around is their boss or manager. If your manager ignores you, there is a 40% chance that you’re disengaged from the workplace. If your manager focuses on your weaknesses, you’re 22% unhappy with the workplace, and if your manager primarily focuses on your strengths you’re 99% likely to be happy with your work.

In my informal study on Facebook, I asked people “Do you like what you do?” It was very delightful to hear from a radiologist, “Yes, I love my job!”, from a financial advisor, “Yes, I look forward going to work each day”, from an office manager, “Yep, I love my job, stress and all”, from a photographer, “Yes, I get to capture people’s memories”, and from two massage therapist who said, “Love, Love, Love my job, I get to relieve people’s stress and make them feel better.”

When my wife and I were sitting on the deck enjoying a glass of wine we discussed on a scale of 1-10 how much we loved our work. My first thought was–it’s a 9 for me. I absolutely love counseling, coaching, and inspiring people through speaking. I pray you are in the top 20% who say, “Yes, I like what I do.”

Quick ideas to boost your work happiness:

  1. Build towards a career doing what you love, whether it’s on a week day or the weekend.
  2. Build a good relationship with your boss or manager. Along with this build at least one close friend in your work setting.
  3. Build a career around flowing in your strengths. Of course that means you need to discover and have a language for your strengths.

Coaching Points:

  1. On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the best) how much do you like your work? What needs to happen to make it better?
  2. How could you increase trust and compassion with your boss or manager?

There are three kinds of people reading this blog: people with no dreams, people with little dreams, and people with BIG dreams. Would you like to become a person who dreams big? In the next eight weeks, I’m going to share 8 success strategies to help you DREAM BIG. Here is the first:

Discover what you want.

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If you’re like many people, you may be more aware of what you don’t want.

  • I don’t want to be poor.
  • I don’t want to be lonely.
  • I don’t want to be in an unhappy marriage.
  • I don’t want to struggle with depression or fear.

Your mind is a GPS and will gravitate toward whatever you focus on. It is much more powerful to focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. One person I’m coaching feels that discovering what he wants is too selfish. Yet Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Many people are living their parents’ dreams. They have not allowed themselves to truly discover what they want.

Here is an exercise to help you discover your wants:

Write down 25 things you want to do. Then write down 25 things you want to have. Now write 25 things you want to be before you die. Now start writing what you want in each of these domains of life.

  • Ideal job or career
  • Ideal vision of your body and health
  • Ideal financial life
  • Ideal recreation/leisure
  • Ideal relationships
  • Ideal personal life
  • Ideal giving to community and world

Coaching points:

  1. Are you more focused on what you don’t want or exactly what you want?
  2. Do you have no dreams, little dreams, or big dreams?

Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to www.brentobannon.com and www.marriedtoyourboss.com.

One coaching client was laid off last year and stuck contemplating, “What kind of work do I want to do?” Another person I know is struggling to decide if he wants to stay or move. My friend, a ghostwriter, has been searching for his ideal client.

He said to me, “It’s harder to decide on what you want than to get what you want.” I told him to say it again: “It’s harder to decide on what you want than to get what you want.”

That rings true for me and many of my coaching clients. When you know clearly what you want, then you will do everything in your power to get what you want.

Coaching points:

  1. Write down what you want.
  2. Verbalize to someone what you want.
  3. Get crystal clear on what you want.