The Art of Strengths Coaching

C is for Character, Competence And Consistently High Standards When It Counts

There are many ways to do fine work. One approach is to develop the character and competence to deliver consistently high standards when it counts. Different people take different approaches to making this happen.

Some people believe that every moment counts and aim do their best in every situation. Bearing this in mind, they often rehearse what they are going to do next.

They may rehearse the small things, such as how they want to behave towards a person. They also rehearse the big things, such as how they can do their best in a critical situation.

Such people then apply their character and competence. They choose to become fully engaged and do superb work. They aim to rise to the occasion and achieve the desired results when it counts.

Looking back, can you think of a situation when you delivered consistently high standards when it counted? This could have been in your personal or professional life.

What did you do then to make this happen? How did you show the required character? How did you apply the right competence? What did you do to deliver high standards?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you demonstrated consistently high standards when it counted.

Describe the specific things you did to make this happen.

Describe the specific things that happened as a result of taking these steps.

Character

Character is the foundation of success. People need different kinds of character traits, however, for doing different kinds of work.

A paramedic needs to show compassion and be calm when faced by horrific scenes. An athlete needs to build on successes and recover from setbacks. A dancer needs to have the discipline to practice and the burning desire to perform at their best.

Imagine that you want to continue to deliver high standards in a specific activity. You may want to do this as an artist, carpenter, therapist, leader or in another role. What are the qualities you will need to demonstrate?

Imagine that you want to lead a team. Below is a list of the characteristics you may need to demonstrate. Some of these cross-over into the competence you will need. It may be important, however, to show the following characteristics.

To be self-motivated and want to be a leader … To know your strengths and weaknesses as a leader … To have belief in your approach … To also be honest and able to read reality … To be able to deal with feeling alone … To enjoy making decisions … To be calm when dealing with crises … To be able to continually motivate yourself.

Looking at your chosen activity, do you have the character to deliver the goods? Do you have the drive, discipline and determination? On a scale 0-10, how would you rate yourself as having the right character? What can you do to maintain or develop these qualities?

Competence

Character is a good starting point, but a person must also have the required competence. Great workers have the right combination of strengths, strategic thinking and skills.

Chefs must have a natural feeling for food and a good palate. Crisis managers must be able to stay calm, make good strategic decisions and deliver the goods. Athletes must have the physical and psychological ability to deliver peak performances.

Imagine that you want to lead a team. You may need to demonstrate the following competence. 

To manage upwards and deal with challenging stakeholders … To build and lead a superb team … To make good strategic decisions … To continually communicate the team’s purpose, principles and picture of success … To make clear working contracts with people … To create and maintain a positive environment in which motivated people can achieve peak performance. 

Looking at your chosen activity, do you have the competence to deliver the goods? Do you have the strengths, strategic thinking and skills? On a scale 0-10, how would you rate yourself as having the right competence? What can you do to maintain or develop these qualities?

Consistently
High Standards

Great workers maintain good habits. They believe in always doing their best whether performing at the Village Hall or the Carnegie Hall. They keep doing the right things in the right way and, as a result, consistently deliver high standards when it counts.

Great educators aim to deliver superb sessions whether working with unemployed teenagers or presenting to professors. They have a duty to their craft. They believe in encouraging, educating and enabling people to succeed.

Great chefs insist that every dish leaving their kitchen meets the highest standards. They are prepared to discard dishes that do not achieve perfection. Showing respect for their values and customers, they believe in maintaining the habit of always doing their best.

Imagine that you want to lead a team. You may need to demonstrate the following standards when faced by challenges. 

To stay calm and buy time when making decisions … To focus on the team’s purpose and principles … To clarify the strategy most likely to achieve success … To communicate the strategy to people … To manage by outcomes rather than tasks … To do whatever is required to achieve the team’s picture of success.

Looking ahead, can you think of a situation when you may want to deliver consistently high standards when it counts? This may be in your personal or professional life.

How can you show the required character? How can you apply the right competence? How can you keep doing the basics and then add the brilliance? How can you add that touch of class?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to deliver consistently high standards when it counts. 

Describe the specific things you can do to make it happen. 

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of taking these steps.

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