Last week we talked about developing your leadership skills. Today we talk about shaping these critical skills into powerful personal strengths. Last week I asked you to choose 4 items on the list that you wanted to work on in 2021. You can find the article at How can entrepreneurs improve their critical leadership skills in 2021?
What leadership skills did you choose? Did you choose? I’ve learned many things from Marshall Goldsmith. He and I coach on different aspects in executive coaching. He focuses on behavioral change; I focus on strategic coaching and teams. In coaching teams our worlds cross over. This year we both are helping teams thrive.
It’s about selecting the right coaching clients.
One thing Marshall taught me was client selection is critical to success in what we do. I’ve heard Marshall Goldsmith say many times the key to a successful coaching outcome is getting people who are committed to change. Not the coach. It took me too many years to come to this conclusion when dealing with teams. Great clients are committed to accelerated learning and improvement. You can find Marshall’s article talking about this at Pay for Results is All About Client Selection!
High performing teams are a group of individuals who are committed to getting things done. For me, this sometimes means not everyone should or will remain on the teams I coach. It hasn’t always worked this way.
Do you have the right team members?
One of my favorite questions for executives is do you have the right team in place to take you to the next level? Is there one person on your team who is not committed to achieving your shared goals, mission, and vision? How does this one person impact your team’s morale and success?
When I fail at coaching teams, it always comes down to one factor. People, not technology. Someone on the team was not committed to the mission, vision, and values.
Leveraging strengths help leaders build great teams.
These people are not committed to changing how they work together. They still think of themselves as an individual not a member of a high performing team. My team coaching process is based on high performing team structures I learned from successful leadership teams. Early on in my career I learned even a small team of two can have a huge impact on an organization’s results. Today and in the future.
My strategies come from high performing teams I worked with in the military and first responders. Individuals who put their lives on the line for each other. From technology teams, logistics support, medical units to high performance special operations teams, all share a common characteristic. They are based on leveraging individual strengths in a team based culture.
Great coaches understand strengths.
Building and understanding others’ strengths is what makes me a great coach. My clients’ description, not mine. If you look at our successes, it’s always about the team. Great teams start at two people and up.
I read people very quickly. I don’t accept average performance from myself or my teams. So, why do I have clients guide me in what strengths they want to develop? Basically, I’m lazy. OK, not really but I don’t have enough time left in my life to work with people who don’t want to be excellent at what they do in their unique ways.
Leverage strengths to accelerate learning!
Coaching strengths can accelerate your growth and success. Once a person finds their unique strengths, they never go back to trying to improve their weaknesses. It’s much more fun to play at the higher level. Sometimes it can be almost effortless. Now that you understand my philosophy on coaching. let me share how you can use it in your life and business.
Understanding others’ strengths give you a unique perspective on their world and yours. It’s the international language of excellence. What four leadership skills did you pick to improve on? I’m going to walk you through a process I use to help my clients build their strength development plans.
What critical activities could leverage your strengths?
Here are the questions I use when talking with my coaching clients. I also use it when I have my own teams. I start the conversation with first interviewing a person who wants to be on the team. Even 20 years later people remember our initial discussions about their strengths. People are not used to focusing on their strengths. It might make you wonder Why Talented People Don’t Use Their Strengths?
Here are the question I ask. I listen for both the said and, more importantly, what it isn’t during the building of their strengths’ based performance plan.
- What skills did you choose for your top four? Why did you choose those skills?
- Are they skills that you have now? Do you want to improve incrementally or exponentially?
- Do you see any patterns in what you chose? Can you share a person you look up to who possesses these skills?
- How important are these skills to your life and career success? Could you tell me time when you used these skills to excel?
- Why do you want to improve these skills? Can you see converting these skills into strengths? What would happen to your life if you became excellent at these things?
- Would you prefer to work on strengths or augment weaknesses? Why? How would you describe your current leadership program?
- Can you tell me something you are excellent at? How did you discover this? What does it feel like when you’re working with your strengths?
- Out of the four skills you chose, which two could you delegate and still be an excellent leader?
- Who on your current team is good at these skills? Would you be open to having them help develop your capabilities to a higher level?
- Would you help others develop their skills to strengths? Can you give an example when you’ve done this in your personal or professional life?
- If you could choose only one of the four skills, would you?
- Would you prefer being great at something versus good at many things? Why?
- Have you ever done it before? What were your results?
- Do you have any questions about your selection?
- When do you want to start?
Only 90 minutes to start building great teams!
This should take you approximately 90 minutes. There are no right or wrong answers? You are looking for clues to see how committed they are to change. You are also looking for potential spots where they excel now and have even greater possibilities for accelerated growth and learning.
In two weeks, we’ll talk about how you get people started on this lifelong strengths path.
See you then.