A foundation based on strengths
Outstanding leaders and flourishing individuals know their strengths, and how to recognise and nurture it in others. Unfortunately, the everyday relentlessness of corporate life can intervene and mute (or entirely obscure) the innate strengths we have. Strengths-based coaching helps us find or get back onto the path we can and should naturally be on. Strengths-based coaching does not imply blithe inattention to weaknesses! Rather, it can provide the basis for enhanced personal and interpersonal social ‘literacy’, where strengths – both realised and unrealised – are marshalled and nurtured, and the impact of weaknesses and learned behaviours are addressed from a more positive, and expansive perspective. (For the academically oriented, a list of peer-reviewed studies highlighting the success of strengths-based approaches is provided here. The evidence base is established, large and growing.)
With the growth in the science of Positive Psychology since the mid 2000s (particularly since the launch of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, and then Harvard University offering its first course he following year), strengths-based coaching approaches have been key in helping individuals find insight and empowerment, while improving their well-being and resilience.
“When well-being comes from engaging our strengths and virtues, our lives are imbued with authenticity.”
Professor Martin Seligman, in ‘Authentic Happiness’
The alternative? Traditional models of self and organisational improvement, and performance management ‘interventions’, have tended to work within a ‘fixing the weaknesses’ paradigm… often at the expense of attention to innate strengths. As many of you know, a blunt external feedback process can leave both deliverers and receivers entirely drained, for example, when focusing on how to ‘lift a rating’ on a less-well-performed performance criterion.
“A person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weakness, let alone on something one cannot do at all.”
Peter F. Drucker, in ‘Managing Oneself’
“Working hard to manage weaknesses, while sometimes necessary, will only help us prevent failure. It will not help us reach excellence.”
Professor Martin Seligman in ‘Learned Optimisim’
A strength-based approach offers a far more energising alternative, of benefit to the individual, the relationships around them, and the organisation.
FLEXIBLE, CUSTOMISED SERVICES
I recognise that coaching requirements are never ‘one size fits all’ in terms of structure and number of sessions. I offer services that range from focused goal attention to more layered developmental exploration and dialogue. Contact me to arrange a free initial consultation where we can clarify your needs and key elements of the coaching process.
I am a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Professional Member of the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA). I adhere to the ICF Code of Ethics.