How to discover more about own strengths or lead others through self-discovery process of strengths
What is Strengths based approach and why would a trainer use it?Strengths based approach means to focus on strengths, not weaknesses. It means to look for strengths in self and others, to discover them and to see how can we use them in different situations and contexts. Using our strength enable great performance, makes the person more energized and one feels fulfilled by doing activity in which strengths are engaged.Read more about strengths based approach and why would a trainer use it in previous Trainers Toolbox Strengths based approach 101 – What is strengths based approach and how to use it? blog post.
Strengths based approach can be taken in training, coaching, management, team work and many other contexts and using it often brings a big positive impact on the individual and team or organization.
How can one discover more about own strengths, and strengths of others?
1/ Reflection on own achievements.
A nice way of taking the first step in exploring own strengths is through the exercise of listing down own achievements and successes, and then in the second step writing down next to it what kind of strengths and abilities in oneself helped in achieving them.
To broaden and enrich the list of strengths that one gets through that exercise, the simple next step is to add on any other strengths and things one likes about oneself.
Other than through reflection on previous achievements, there are couple of more ways to explore strengths: asking oneself set of questions and taking time to reflect on those, or asking close colleagues and friends for feedback on what are ones strengths.
2/ Explore own strengths through structured reflection
Following questions are great way to kick of a bit deeper reflection on own strengths:
- What is the best thing about you?
- What do you like most about yourself?
- What do you enjoy doing most?
- Tell me about the time when you were at your best?
- What brings out your best?
- What is your most significant achievement?
- What makes you feel you are being who you really are?
- What are you most looking forward to in the future?
- How can your strengths help you in the future?
It is enough to take any of these questions, and reflect on it for a while. There is no need to go through all of it, but one can choose the one that cause many thoughts and responses in him/her and see which strengths get discovered through that reflection.
3/ Asking others
One of the best ways to get to know oneself is through asking others for feedback – in this case, for feedback on what are one’s own strengths. This question can be formed in different ways, depending on the context, relationship, etc. It can be simple and direct “What would you say, what are my strengths?” but also questions such as “What do you think I am good at?”, “What do you like about the way I work and would like me to keep on doing?”.
4/ Taking exploration a step further
Another great and comprehensive way to explore own set of strengths is through strengths surveys and games on strengths – this topics will be explored in few of our next Trainers Toolbox posts.
5/ Action, action, action – Most important step to do after discovery
The power of strengths is of course not in just reflecting on them and understanding own strengths (or strengths of others) but in using those strengths as much as one can.
After having a list of “own” strength, being it from reflection, feedback or surveys, one can pick 5-6 top strengths and ask oneself:
- Is this the real me? Do I enjoy using it? Do I find it energizing and exciting?
- How can I apply these strengths in all important areas of my life?
And then trying to implement them more in all that one does.
A thought to take away
Remember, the power of strengths really lies in providing opportunity for self and others to use our strengths at work, hobbies, everyday lives. For that, we first need to know them. But then we also need to act on them and be brave enough (and open minded and creative enough) to find opportunities to engage those strengths and see where that takes us.