This year saw me attending Coaches Connect again – a great conference at which to meet fellow coaches, make connections, learn and share good practice.
The session from Lucy Ryan, which covered, amongst other things, strengths, was the session that resonated with me particularly.
Time and again in 1:1 work with clients, and in working with groups, the identification of a person’s strengths proves difficult. Individuals are reluctant to identify their strengths to themselves, let alone to others. It’s almost a cultural thing in some instances; one client remarked to me ‘I’ve been bought up to believe that it’s not right to boast.’
I would argue that the process of identifying one’s strengths is not boasting – it’s essential if we are to make the most of ourselves. And there is certainly nothing boastful about admitting those to ourselves. This can be a painful process for some people that takes time. Lucy used a set of cards that I thought were very useful for facilitating the process, as for some people, finding a starting point can be the obstacle.
Once you’ve identified your strengths, then seeking out opportunities to show them could be a next logical step; rather than tell people – show them. Put yourself in positions where your strengths are obvious.
Make connections, network within your organisation and increase your visibility if you want to progress -all the while, demonstrating your strengths as much as possible. Subtle, but effective. Even the brightest lights can’t be seen in a locked cupboard.
Another piece of learning for me was Lucy’s explanation of perceived weaknesses – that they are a strength overplayed or underdone.
For instance, one of my weaknesses lies in not liking confrontation. I can now see this as an overplaying of my ‘kindness’ strength.
Kindness, social intelligence and love and being loved are all strengths I identified. When they are overdone as a cluster, they can mean I suffer from being what I call ‘Terminally Nice’! Interestingly, I had also identified ‘courage’ as one of my signature strengths – a sign that maybe I’m beginning to recognise this and step up to address it.
Identifying your strengths, and weaknesses, either individually, or as a team, can be a great starting point for an exploration into developing yourself.
What are yours?
Sue Ritchie works with those new to leadership and management, those aspiring to it, and those who find it difficult to be assertive at work and undervalue themselves. She helps them, and their teams, to experience more success, happiness and productivity at work. Contact Sue: M: 0780 1502743 E: sue@youtimecoaching @susanjritchie