An Inside Look at a 1 to 1 Strengths Conversation
Recently, I had an opportunity to participate in a 1 to 1 conversation that completely changed the way I understood this piece of the Core Process at Leadership Vision. That is an immensely powerful sentence, so now I’m sure you are asking “Why was it so transformative?”
Instead of conducting the conversation, I was the person who was doing all the talking! Yep, I was the recipient, if you will, of the 1 to 1 conversation.
My colleague, Steph, just completed our latest Strengths Communicator Training. As a part of that process, cohort participants complete twelve 1 to 1 conversations with family, friends, and/or co-workers. I was lucky enough to be one of her 12 conversations. At Leadership Vision, a 1 to 1 Conversation is an in-depth dialogue with a Leadership Vision consultant to help individuals gain a broader perspective of their Strengths.
I have to be honest, being “on the other side of the table” helped me understand a little bit more about how our clients may feel when they first hear about this impending conversation.
My 1 to 1 Conversation
Even though I know Leadership Vision, the people, and the process, this experience offered me a unique perspective by participating in a different way. While I feel like I walked away with so many takeaways, below are three things I learned about myself after the whole process was complete.
I was Nervous
As Steph and I sat down, I felt butterflies.
I was excited to experience her questions as we explored my Top 5 Strengths. I was also really nervous, wondering if I knew myself well enough to be able to answer them without feeling like a therapy session.
The reality is, we don’t often have the opportunity to talk solely about ourselves, from our own perspective, for an hour. We can often interject an opinion or add a perspective in a friendly conversation or workplace meeting, but to have someone listen with the intent of understanding how I work without any agenda aside from understanding me can feel daunting.
I found that the nervousness faded quite quickly when I remembered that the 1 to 1 conversation isn’t a test with correct or incorrect answers. My responses just needed to be true to me. I also felt exhilarated when I got to talk about what makes me tick and what I feel most passionate about. And I was pleasantly surprised that I do, in fact, know myself quite well.
I was Surprised
I have participated in a plethora of meetings throughout my career: 5 minute “stand-up” meetings, all-day seminars, and everything in-between. Those meetings typically didn’t involve me talking as the sole focus of the entire meeting.
I fully anticipated wrapping up my time with Steph early so I could get on with my list of to-dos. I did not believe for one second that I could fill an hour of time with talking about myself and to be honest, I was convinced Steph wouldn’t want to listen to me drone on for 60-minutes, either.
But in fact, the time passed quickly and I was surprised when Steph mentioned our time had come to an end. I also found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed talking about myself and by how well Steph allowed me the space to just be me.
I realized that our 1 to 1 conversation participants at Leadership Vision may also experience this sense of surprise as they get to dive deeply into who they are, with a person they feel may be a stranger.
I was Heard
During the 60-minutes I talked about myself, I never once felt like I had to justify or defend why I viewed something a certain way or answered one of the questions the way I did.
I never once felt like Steph was distracted or had someplace better to be. She was present, engaged, and interested in what I was saying during our time together.
She asked me a few clarification questions along the way and helped guide my thinking at certain points, but otherwise allowed me to say what was on my mind without interruption.
Ultimately, Steph listened to my words and out of them created an image and explanation of who I am and how I tick. She then took the time to “teach me back,” (as our client’s experience during the Learning Community step in our Core Process) using the images she drew.
I was so deeply touched by how Steph honored me by highlighting my Strengths that are generative to me and our Leadership Vision team. She took it a step further by creating two images for me.I have these two images sitting on my desk as a constant reminder of this process and how I show up for the team around me.
The 1 to 1 Conversation Works
At the end of this experience, I now know more than ever that our process works. Steph is new to this portion of the Leadership Vision experience, but in a short time she has become good at listening for the things that make us unique. Despite being nervous about being exposed, I personally experienced that StrengthsFinder, and more importantly our process, does not do that. This process only serves to affirm what we are good at as individuals, how we can contribute to our fullest within our team, and the places where we can become even better.
I am so thankful to have been a part of Steph’s learning experience. Ultimately, she provided me with a different perspective. I have come to value this perspective and continue to go back to it as a way to unpack my Strengths and better how I show up for the team.