Finding Strength

Over the last six years, I have delivered more than 80 debriefings utilizing an assessment that provides a comprehensive report on Usual Style, Needs and Stress Reactions. Clients find it insightful to better understand how they appear to others and how they desire to be treated. This process is an essential piece of a successful executive coaching engagement.

Recently, many organizations are turning to the Gallup StrengthsFinder – developed by the late Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. – as the method for measuring their leaders best assets… and to keep executives “more engaged, more productive, and happier.” While I personally see value in also acknowledging and working on weaknesses, focusing solely on maximizing strengths seems a plausible approach to improving performance.

It’s always fascinating to see how accurately assessments describe an individual. I’ve asked every client if the report captured his/her style and only one said no. (Later, I shared that with her boss, who said, “That’s her biggest problem – no self-awareness.”) While I have no idea how the algorithms behind the innocuous maze of questions work, there is something to this personality style approach first presented nearly a century ago by Carl Jung.

The Gallup StrengthsFinder nailed my top five Signature Themes: Strategic (“a special perspective on the world at large”), Achiever (“if the day passes without some sort of achievement, you will feel dissatisfied”), Learner (“energized by the steady and deliberate journey to competence”), Focus (“each year, each month, and even each week you set goals”) and Futuristic (“a dreamer who sees visions of what could be”).

There are hundreds of assessment programs. Some are inexpensive and available instantly online. If you haven’t paused recently to look inward and explore yourself, this summer might be a good time to do that.


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