I often use the image of a wall thermostat like the one pictured above when coaching my clients on their strengths. Each of us has the power to use a similar internal dial to balance our strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes the thermostat is dialed too high, and sometimes it is too low. Only you can keep it at the “just right” setting.
When I mention that I include the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment in all of my coaching packages, the first thing that many clients say is something similar to the following:
"Thanks, but I don’t want to focus on what I do well. I want to work on what I need to do to be better.”
It is then that I find myself explaining that the StrengthsFinder is not exactly about revealing your strengths. Yes, I know that the word STRENGTHS is actually in the name of the assessment. But sometimes I wish it wasn’t. The truth about the assessment that most people miss is that the StrengthsFinder really reveals TALENTS.
A TALENT is something that comes naturally to you. Do you keep your closet color coded and so organized that when you buy a new sweater you rearrange your closet? I am pretty sure you didn't take a class on that at the community center. Do you enthrall your co-workers with hilarious stories? I will bet you have been doing that since you were a kid. Do you find yourself finding a car to race on your way home from work? I don’t think your mom taught you that. The things that you do naturally are TALENTS. Yup. You were born that way.
Natural talents are not always developed into strengths. They can be though, especially once you are aware of them- and that is what the StrengthsFinder does. Makes you aware of what comes naturally. It is up to you to develop your talents into strengths.
So, if you are a natural organizer with your closet, you may have the talent known as “Arranger”. This talent becomes a great strength when you are able to reorganize that project plan at work when the deadline has been moved again. But this talent becomes a weakness when your team complains that you keep changing the plan is too hard to follow because you keep changing it. When you are aware of this theme, you will be able to think about your internal thermostat and dial yourself back.
If you are a person who naturally finds a car to race, you may have the talent known as competition. This talent becomes a strength when you inspire your team to win! But when you don’t win, others may view you as a sore loser who sulks when goals are missed. This is a weakness that could derail you. Once you know this about yourself, you can dial yourself back without a painful 360-degree survey.
A certified strengths coach will use the Clifton StrengthsFinder to help you see your natural talents and help you notice when the theme is a strength and when the theme is a weakness.
Then, it is up to you to dial yourself correctly so that you are in balance.
Be Challenged. Be Changed. Be Coached.