Today is March 16, 2015...in 7 or so months, on October 21, 2015 we're supposed to have flying cars, fax machines in every room of the house, automatic laces, and yes...hoverboards. Ok, I don't think we're going to see any of that either, but I do think 2015 is the year for organizations to get serious about strengths-based leadership coaching.
Recently, I had a friend of mine, who runs a non-profit, ask me what strengths coaching could do for him and his executive group. I could tell he was apprehensive of the whole idea and probably worried, like most, that each week would turn into a 45-minute, "on the couch" therapy session with no measurable results in the end. (*in case you're wondering, that's not at all what happens).
My friend shares my love of the game of golf, so it was quite easy for me to come up with the following metaphor. Leaders are like golfers, with skills ranging from absolute beginner to the best in the world. Fortunately for golfers, and leaders, there are coaches. The best coaches help you determine what it is you want to accomplish and then help you get there. They work with you week in and week out to tweak different areas of your game. One month you may be working on your putting (communication with employees) and another week, bunker shots (dealing w/ difficult situations in the workplace). The coach is there to help you grow as an individual in your communication, leadership, attitude, etc. so that you (and your organization) can be at your best.
Continuing with the golf coach theme, this is a big one - If you want truly great leadership in your organization, you need to provide individualized leadership coaching. Guess what, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson don't get together on Monday mornings at a driving range down in Florida to be coached by the same coach at the same time. It is 2015, the group training you require every employee/manager to go through once a year for a couple of hours is a not enough! Your leaders are your rock stars, the best of the best in your organization and maybe even your industry. Individuals need individualized coaching to accelerate their results.
Strengths-Based Coaching/Development is a positive approach to looking at individuals in a unique way. We all have talents, or themes, we innately gravitate towards that shape how we handle job functions, communication & interpersonal relationships. Take those pre-conference socials we've all been to - some of us love being in a room full of people we don't know and we leave at the end of the night with a few business cards and a lot of energy. On the other hand, some dread the entire experience and retreat back to their hotel room, exhausted.
Some of us love to focus on the detail of a project, while others are more concerned with "getting it done" and moving on.
And some of us are more focused on preparing for what's 3 years down the road than what's important right now.
Everyone lives their life and leads in their own way. As an organization/leader, we need to recognize that all of our employees are not going to operate on the same wavelength we are, and that's ok...in fact, it's preferable. Having individuals with different strengths helps round out a team, helps diminish "groupthink", and drives change and innovation to make the organization better.
Unlike traditional development, which focuses on where people are weak, Strengths-Based Coaching/Development is all about focusing on the talents you're innately drawn to - feeding them with knowledge, practice and application so that they become strengths. When we operate or approach our work with strengths we increase our energy, performance and are able to create more repeatable instances of high productivity.
Employers who focus on the strengths of their people have seen 6x higher employee engagement, increased employee retention & increased profitability over weakness-focused competitors.
So in 2015, you may not be able to hover around in your Prius or send your friend faxes from your bathroom, BUT you can make a huge difference in your people, your organization and your community by implementing a Strengths-Based Coaching/Development program.
husband + father + pilot + director of talent development + leadership coach + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books