Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Why I love to work with Strengths

In a nutshell - I love to work with individuals and groups by exploring their Strengths.  I'm qualified to use a tool called the Strengthscope® from the Strengths Partnership and I find it a unique way to frame a coaching conversation or Group Development session.

If you look back on your education and career - how often has the focus been on what you're not good at?  Probably quite frequently.  Usually these will have been areas or topics in which you have little interest, do not inspire you and the learning would have been minimal and quickly forgotten.

How would it be, if instead of focussing on your weaknesses, that you you focussed on your natural Strengths? The Strengths Partnership, who developed the Strengthscope®, define your significant Strengths as those underlying qualities which energise you.  When using your strengths at work or in your hobby you are typically in a state of flow.  This is when the time flies, you forget to have lunch and you are completely absorbed & energised.



The Strengthscope® has some unique features.  It can highlight those potentially weaker areas and also help you identify when you are overusing a strength.  An overused strength can quite often become a weakness.  In the workplace you can also use a 360 Degree feature where you can ask colleagues to what extent they have experienced your strengths.

This focus provides a refreshingly different approach, which is a key foundation for Positive Psychology.  Conversations around how visible your strengths are and how you could combine them differently to address your weaker areas can be thought provoking and illuminating. When you consider ways in which you can stretch yourself in these areas of strength the conversations are usually invigorating and inspiring. 

In a team scenario it allows the group to reflect on where there are peaks of multiple strengths and also gaps which need to be addressed (or not forgotten!).  It also allows individuals to take on roles within the team where they will shine and be energised.

Your set of Strengths is something you can take with you throughout your career and life.  

My Significant Seven Strengths, with their brief definitions are:

Common sense
You make pragmatic judgements based on practical thinking and previous experience.

Courage
You take on challenges and face risks by standing up for what you believe.

Developing others
You promote other people’s learning and development to help them achieve their goals and fulfil their potential.

Empathy
You readily identify with other people’s situations and can see things clearly from their perspective.

Flexibility
You remain adaptable and flexible in the face of unfamiliar or changing situations.

Leading
You take responsibility for influencing and motivating others to contribute to the goals and success of their team and organisation.

Persuasiveness
You are able to win agreement and support for a position or desired outcome.

I've been using these for the past seven years and I am committed to stretching myself in these areas as I progress in my career and studies.  

What activities put you in a state of Flow?  You'll more than likely be using your strengths.

Cheers

Ross