Wish to take your Strengths Based Approach to the next level? These are the tools to check out!
After understanding the foundations of Strengths Based Approach (introduction to Strengths Based Approach can be found in Trainers Toolbox post Strengths based approach 101 – What is strengths based approach and how to use it?) and learning how to explore and discover more about own strengths more in our post on Strengths based approach 102 – How to discover more about own strengths (and lead others through that discovery process)), one is ready to dig into own strengths in a deeper and more comprehensive way.
For that, choosing one of the strengths assessments tools is a great way to continue.
Drawing from the science of positive psychology, there are 3 evidence based assessments that deal with the topic of strengths:
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Gallup (shortest, most practical, great for teams),
- VIA (ex Values in Action Inventory , by VIA Institute on Character, following Seligman and Peterson’s book on Character Strengths and Virtues) and
- Strengths Profile (ex Realise2, by CAPP institute).
On the following links you can learn more about each of them and see what each of them offers and what are it’s advantages and disadvantages. Once you check out these three different approaches, lower in this post you can see what are the main advantages of working with strengths assessment tools and how to approach it.
Also, in the end of the page find a quick comparison of these three, as well as some more idea on why and when would it be a good idea to use these.
Advantages of using strengths assessments
There are many advantages to working with your strengths and looking into discovering them.
Knowing and following your strengths (Clifton and Anderson 2001):
- encourages insights and perspective in your life
- makes one less sensitive to stress
- generates optimism and resilience
- provides a sense of direction
- helps to develop confidence and self-esteem
- generates a sense of vitality and energy
- engenders a sense of happiness and fulfillment
- helps achieve one’s goals
- enables one to be more engaged at work and perform better
According to VIA, a strengths based approach is honest, positive, empowering, energizing and connecting.
There are many advantages of exploring own strengths through different strengths assessments:
- gaining awareness of your own strengths
- exploring your own identity and reflecting about oneself
- building higher self-confidence
- gives you “authority” or permission to talk about your own strengths
- gives you ideas on how to use strong sides more
- boosts motivation by thinking about your strengths and how to use them
- ideas on how to approach a challenge based on strengths
- ideas on what kind of partners and colleagues to search for to complement us
- great vocabulary and baseline to communicate our strengths towards others
There is also a downside – one might limit oneself to these strengths, not thinking of many other strengths that one might have. Taking more assessments on strengths, with different vocabulary and different set of strengths might be a good idea, as well as just discussing one’s positive sides with others through exercises such as Reflected Best Self or Johari Window.
A valuable use for strengths assessments is also within a team, to exchange knowledge on the strengths of different individuals.
Should you try all of this? If not, which one?
So, you decided to try out one of the strengths assessment, being it for yourself or your participants, clients or the team. But how how do you choose between these three?
Exploring all 3 of these assessments is very valuable as a process of self-discovery and self-exploration, as each gives a somewhat different range of strengths. They have overlaps, but quite some new information can be gained from each of the tests.
One does need to make sure to take enough time in-between to process each, to test the activities and ideas for how to work with one’s strengths.
In general, very quick comparison would be:
- Choose VIA for free test and first steps with the strengths and for understanding the concept and list of strengths. Also, VIA posters are great framework for self-reflection on strengths.
- Choose Strengthsfinder for most practical or for teams at work, where sharing and discussing, because it is concise, straightforward, practical and book helps you in that a lot.
- Choose Strengths Profile for very comprehensive and deep dig into your strengths – it is the most informative of all three, but that also can make it overwhelming at times.
For more details on each, please refer to the articles dedicated to each of the assessments: Strengthsfinder 2.0 in Trainers Toolbox post here, VIA in Trainers Toolbox post here and Strengths Profile in Trainers Toolbox post here.
Being it that you decide to use this survey for yourself as a trainer, or for your participants or clients, please make sure to outline this very important message:
Whichever surveys you look into, make sure to remember that the strengths on that list are not your only strengths! You probably have many more talents, strengths and capabilities than what’s on that list. Self-reflection and asking for feedback from other people are great ways of tapping into these.
Notice that these surveys are still based on our self-perception and are not an absolute truth – they are merely a good place to start of self-reflection and perhaps get some new ideas and perspectives into our own character.I hope you will enjoy using these surveys and will find them valuable. In case of any questions or experiences you wish to share, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.