5 Lessons Learned from Coaching Using StrengthsFinder

Editors Note: Our coaching can begin with the Strengths Course that includes a follow-up conversation, or a long-term executive coaching relationship. This post is one example of the Leadership Vision adaptive approach used as we design a coaching plan for an individual.

These days coaching is ubiquitous. There are all kinds of coaches who can help you get fit, get ready for the SAT, run a marathon, manage your emotional intelligence and more. Coaching is not new, but continues to evolve over time.

Our process of coaching with StrengthsFinder at Leadership Vision is customized to the needs of our clients depending on what they want to achieve, where they are at in their careers and other factors. We want to help people understand their Strengths, deal with self-awareness issues, turn their focus from themselves to others and generally be more effective in whatever setting they find themselves in, personally, professionally, etc.

What I Learned Coaching Jose

During the past year I had the privilege of coaching a high level sales executive named Jose. Jose was approaching 50 years old and wanted to continue making a big impact in his work until retirement. Despite his success, he clearly did not want to stop learning and advancing.

Jose and I began the coaching process by talking about what the individual sessions will look like. We use an intake survey to gauge what the client needs are and what parts of our process will be most beneficial to them. This helps us make sure we achieve what our coaching client wants to achieve.

After that, Jose and I started on our seven sessions of coaching over six months or so of coaching.

Here are 5 things I learned while coaching Jose through his Clifton StrengthsFinder results:

1. No matter what age you are, or how successful you have been, everyone needs a coach

The best leaders I observe have mentors and coaches who are pushing them forward throughout their life and career. They do not rest on their laurels, rather they are always looking for ways to improve. This requires that they have trusted people they rely on to provide candid feedback.

Jose and I built this trust over the many months of our time together. The more he trusted me as his coach and the more I could push him along in his Strengths journey.

2. Being available as a coach is essential both during scheduled times with clients and when other issues arise.

Jose went through two different job search processes while I was coaching him. More than once he texted me and asked if we could have a quick conversation about his upcoming interview and how he could leverage his experience and his StrengthsFinder results in that particular interview process. I was happy to chat and remind him of where he was strong and how to use natural talent laden language to highlight his answers.

This gave him confidence and nail those interviews. It also created a safe place  to debrief outside of his current work environment.

3. Mastering individual Strengths first is essential to go deeper with Strengths application

Many people we work with have done something with Strengths. Rarely do we meet people who can tell us about their 5 Strengths and how they use them on a daily basis. By taking Jose through our ThemePrint process, he took a fresh look at his Strengths and owned the talents that reside within them.

This was critical as a starting place for us to get to deeper levels of conversations.

4. Knowing the talents of StrengthsFinder can be invaluable during interview processes for candidates

Not every interviewer knows what StrengthsFinder is. So, do not assume that if you talk about your Strengths Themes they will know what you are talking about. A better approach is to talk about your Strengths just by mentioning different talents that make up the Strengths and share how you applied those talents for productive results.

Doing this will distinguish you in any interview process. This requires you to know each talent in each of your Strengths by heart and are able to give real life, hopefully recent, examples of how you leverage those talents.

5. Turning the focus of Strengths from inward to external through Strengths Based Leadership is a helpful next step for any leader.

As part of our coaching process, we take clients through the book, “Strengths Based Leadership,” by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie This book focuses Strengths in an outward direction to help provide others with, trust, compassion, stability, and hope. Turning from the inward focus earlier on in the coaching process asking questions that had Jose saying “What is it about my Strengths.” To, “How can my Strengths provide trust, compassion, stability and hope” was a powerful next step in the coaching process.

We believe everyone can influence, and if you can influence, you can lead. If you influence in a way that provides trust, compassion, stability and hope through your own personal Strengths, you can make a more profound impact on those around you.

Your Coach:

Who is your coach? Do you have one? Do you need one? I learned so much about the tremendous benefits of having a coach through leading Jose through our process. It was an honor and privilege to be part of his journey.