Whilst underpinned by science and data, the strengths approach is straightforward. A strength is something you do regularly, that you do well and energizes you when doing it.
Founded in 2005, Strengths Profile is an online tool that you can bring into your business to open up and challenge the minds and behaviours of your managers and teams. It was developed by a company called Capp, who have spent the past 11 years designing new and better ways of assessing people. At the heart of the ‘strengths profile’ is the ‘strengths’ methodology which has been developed by Alex Linley, a leading expert in the field of Positive Psychology.
As a HR professional who has been about for a while and seen a lot of self awareness tools on the market, I like this one a lot. Why? because I have found it to drive better performance conversation, change behavior and shape an empowering culture in business. At the same time, it meets the needs and demands of business today. It helps address and manage the soft skills gap and the technology of tomorrow. This is important when you are looking for talent and trying to retain talent.
I came across it back in 2015 when recommended to me by a trusted friend and ex-colleague who is an experienced senior learning and development professional. I subsequently engaged a seasoned Strengths Coach to come into the business I was in at the time, to be blown away by its simplicity, robustness and practical effectiveness – its value. I later qualified as a strengths profile assessor and now offer this as a service to individuals, teams and business in my own boutique HR and Coaching Consultancy I set up over a year ago.
If you are a business owner, a leader of people, it goes without saying that you need to get to know your team, to understand their individual strengths and weaknesses so you can maximize their potential and leverage your human resources properly. Strengths coaching does just that. It will help you create that better aligned, motivated and productive workforce.
The vision is simple – match your people to your business. Align your people to their strengths and the career path they want – they will become happier, more engaged, driven and perform better. Strengths coaching is about asking the powerful questions and creating that new awareness among employees that gives way after a while, to a common language that is spoken by all. It helps embed a culture up, down and across where employees talk openly and honestly about strengths and weaknesses. Why? Because business and the professionals working in it embrace vulnerability and imperfection, where mistakes are seen as learning and weaknesses as opportunities. As a result, people are not afraid of blame, but grow and develop, they get stronger and better in a business.
Strengths coaching encourages leaders to not bury their head in the sand and run away from a conversation about weaknesses. Instead, leaders and employees talk regularly about their weaknesses and strengths at 1-2-1 and team meetings. They welcome it and expect it. It helps create understanding and awareness among leaders, teams and individuals on how best to leverage the resources they have, by knowing who is good and bad at what. It becomes the norm in a business. It can also help strengthen team relationships, remove crippling silos, break down barriers and improve overall team awareness and dynamics. The benefit is that every employee has clarity and awareness of what they are good at, where they need to focus their efforts to have more success for themselves and the business. Employees in turn take ownership for their own career development path with more openness and clarity. It helps drive performance to a new level and improve overall business results.
What excites me most about this self-awareness tool as a HR Partner to business, is that it can be stitched into day to day best practice of managing people and performance, and so goes hand in hand with my HR profession of origin. It can work across the entire candidate and employee life cycle. From hiring the very best talent, to managing people, building confidence in high potentials to supporting ambitious individuals seeking out their next career move. It is not just a one hit wonder, or an offsite self-awareness programme you attend and talk about for a few days, then forget about. It takes every participant on a journey of self-awareness that makes them take action. It can be used to support the development and retention of your talent at all levels in all their various shapes and forms. It can move employees from average to good, from good to excellent from excellent to rock stars. It supports the manager in all his/her necessary conversations; the performance discussion, the difficult conversation, the career development discussion.
Above all else for the manager or business owner, it takes away the fear of not knowing what to say and how to bring up weaknesses, how to approach it. It gives a manager the armour; something tangible to support the conversation, that’s not seen as a subjective biased view. More than this, it makes sound commercial sense, when compared to other tools out on the market and adds that long term value every business is after.