A 3-Step Roadmap to Coach a Strengths-Based Team

Under the best of circumstances, being a leader isn’t always easy. In 2020, it’s become even more challenging as the world navigates crisis upon crisis and leaders are forced to make tough decisions in quick succession. Just leading yourself is hard enough. Leading a team through this is even harder. So how do you make your way through this crazy year?

Rather than rely on your own knowledge, skillset, and decision making, what if you recruited help? The CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) assessment is a tool that can create the roadmap you need to lead yourself and your team with more reliable information, even when the world around you changes. 

CliftonStrengths was specifically designed to fuel the workplace by helping people know and use their natural talents every day. It’s probable that you’ve taken this test. But it’s just as likely you filed your results away and chalked it up to just another self-assessment exercise like all the rest. Unfortunately, in doing so, you’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible for yourself and your team. Unless you apply what you know about yourself and your team in your daily work with one another, it will be just another ineffective tool.  

In their worldwide research, Gallup has discovered that people who use their strengths every day:

  • are more engaged and productive at work
  • achieve their goals
  • are happier and healthier
  • have greater confidence, self-awareness and energy
  • are less likely to experience negative emotions like worry, sadness and stress 

Doesn’t this sound like the kind of person you’d like to be and the kind of people you’d like to lead? When you know and use your strengths, this is what’s possible.

So where do you start? 

Here’s how to lead a strengths-based team with CliftonStrengths:

  1. Coach yourself.  Know your own strengths – ideally your full 34 profile. While you may be able to rattle off your top 5 strengths, do you know how you use them every day? Do you know when to dial them up and dial them down? Do you know what gives you energy and what sucks you dry? When you can answer these questions with confidence, you become a better leader to yourself and to your team.
  2. Coach your team. Know your team’s strengths –  the top 5 report is a good start. When you know what gives a team member energy and what depletes it or what a teammate needs to make a decision (lots of time, little time, lots of data, collaboration) you can lead them with clarity. You will see their own confidence grow when you ask great questions that make them feel heard and fuel their energy as they do what they do best every day.
  3. Hire a coach. Sometimes you need an outside perspective to take your team to the next level of performance. If you’re navigating people problems or the diversity of your team is causing you angst, even if the diversity is a good thing, consider bringing in a Gallup Certified Coach to bring out the best in your team. A coach is able to provide the expertise and neutral perspective to help you align your needs and goals with the right talents for greatest impact.

Where do you need to start? Do you need to coach yourself or your team better? Or do you need the help of a professional? 

Next Steps

  1. If you haven’t taken CliftonStrengths, this is your first step! Or upgrade to your full 34 report if you already have your top 5. You can do it today through this link. 
  2. Listen to the recent Side by Side Podcast episode, to dive deeper into CliftonStrengths for leaders. 
  3. Explore ways of putting your strengths to work by reflecting on your strengths and how you currently use them.  What are additional ways your strengths can be leveraged? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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Heidi Zwart

Heidi Zwart is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach with a Master’s Degree in Counseling as well as multiple health certifications. For 25+ years, she’s helped people and organizations make healthy changes by infusing habit design with strengths-based solutions. Heidi authored “It Began in the Garden,” which explores our shared struggle for physical, emotional, and spiritual health. She lives on the south shore of Boston but is a Minnesotan at heart. You can reach her at www.heidizwart.com

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