Posts Tagged ‘strengths’

A curious week

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Curious and creative coaching Last week was Learning at Work week, with the theme, ‘Curious and Creative’, and was also International Coaching Week. Coaching York, an organisation with the aim of making York the coaching capital of the UK, promoted running coaching sessions to businesses in York, and to celebrate both initiatives, we ran a ‘Curious and Creative Coaching’ session here at Forest Farm Business Park. We were delighted that some of our lovely fellow resident businesses joined us for the session in the fabulous facilities provided by Tailormade Conferences.

Most of the people who attended the session had little or no experience of coaching, and coaching is very different to training. In non-directive coaching, we need to think for ourselves, which can feel very different. Using creativity increases insight, and develops innovative thinking. It gives the coachee time and space to explore different perspectives and provides a safe vehicle to describe our goals and what might be stopping us achieving them.

You might be wondering how we made the session creative. A range of materials was used including photographs, coloured paper and pens, pipe-cleaners, and magazines to cut up, and linked to our value of having fun while we’re learning. Most of those attending created a collage to represent their goals and their current state in relation to the goals. We then asked curious questions to explore creative ways of achieving the goal. All of those who attended achieved insight into their goals and new ways of how to go about achieving them.

And the real power of coaching? Traditionally we’ve thought of people as little empty vessels in which everything has to be poured. In coaching we think of people as little seeds who have the potential within them to be magnificent plants and trees. We need nourishment, encouragement, and the light to grow and develop, and this is what is provided in coaching. To find out more about our creative approach to coaching click here.

As you watch your sunflowers grow, consider this; are you and your people being nourished and encouraged to grow and develop or do you just pour learning into them? If it’s the latter, you might want to talk to us.

Learning about yourself and others

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Fuzzy face

You might think that your strengths are ‘just things you’re naturally good at’, but they’re so much more than that! Strengths are something that exist within us, come naturally to us and give us energy. Sometimes we don’t even know we have them!

So beware…strengths can easily be overlooked when it comes to personal development. How many times have you focused on developing your weaknesses rather than using your strengths? More times than you can remember, probably. Sure, if you know what your weakness are you can manage them better and perhaps minimise their use, but surely it is far more energising to use your strengths to compensate for any weakness?

If you’re put on the spot and asked to identify your strengths, a lot of people find it difficult. That’s why it’s great to have an opportunity to understand what they are and then look at ways of playing to them, bringing them to the fore and sharing them with others.

When we use our strengths and live our personal values we feel energised and true to ourselves. It brings about a sense of fulfilment and authenticity. It helps us perform at our best and deliver great results. Sharing your values with each other in a team environment at work also means that you understand each other better and can start to behave in a way that respects what’s important to you all. And, once business owners understand the strengths of the people within their team, they can align tasks and projects with the right people for the best results, both for them and for the business.

Understanding your strengths and values can sound quite deep to some people, or a bit ‘pink and fluffy’ to others, but it has teeth! You can’t dismiss the importance of learning about yourself and others, and you can click here to read a couple of recent client stories to show the impact it can have.

If you would like to increase your self-awareness, or work with your team to uncover their strengths and values, contact us. We’d be very happy to help you bring out the best in you and your team.

How we’ve been helping our clients Play to Strengths

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Uncategorized

Discover Your Strengths

Discover Your Strengths

We’ve been focussing on playing to strengths with a couple of our clients recently. Here’s how we’ve been doing it.

Jack’s story

Jack had worked for a financial organisation for nearly 30 years, and had recently been made redundant. He hadn’t been happy in the organisation for a number of years, and was relieved to be leaving. Jack spent his time looking for similar roles, as he felt that was where his skills lay. His appetite and energy for looking for new work were low, and he was struggling to see the new and exciting opportunities redundancy can bring.

We talked to Jack about his personal values, strengths and what motivated him to be his best. His values included humour, kindness, judgement and fairness. Through our work with Jack, he realised that he had many strengths – caring, building esteem and connecting with people – which he wasn’t using. As a result of taking the time to learn about himself, Jack is now embarking on a brand new career in a completely new sector: healthcare. He is retraining, and has a new energy and lust for life and work.

“I had become institutionalised in my mindset and my perceived skill set. Pro-Development gave me guidance and the relevant tools to undertake a personal evaluation and open my eyes to the wider abilities and talents I had gained during my working life.”

Jack, May 2015

The Partners Group story

We spent time with the team at PR and communications agency The Partners Group identifying and discussing strengths, learned behaviours, weaknesses and values on an individual basis to help them each understand what motivates, energises and engages them at work.

Following the one-to-one sessions, we ran a half-day workshop bringing all of that information together and helping the team appreciate and value the richness and diversity they each bring. The team openly discussed ways in which they could continue to use their strengths and also identified opportunities to build on the strengths they were not currently using to help them achieve the business vision and goals.

Looking at the overall team profile collectively meant that we could identify potential gaps and challenges, which in turn enabled the team to address anything that could get in the way of achieving their vision.

“We had a good sense of many of the strengths within our team, but what we found really valuable from our work with Pro-Development was uncovering people’s unrealised strengths – the things they’re brilliant at but, for whatever reason, aren’t getting the opportunity to use. We’re now actively looking for opportunities for people to play to those strengths to help us achieve our goals for the business.”

Karen Tinkler, Director, May 2015