The Art of Strengths Coaching

E is for Feeling At Ease And Expressing Yourself

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There are many models for doing fine work. One approach is to feel at ease, be fully engaged and then express yourself.

Looking back, can you think of a time when you followed these steps in your own way? You may have been writing an article, encouraging a person, playing a sport, leading a team, tackling a challenge or whatever.

Feeling at ease can mean different things to different people in different situations. Here are some examples.

You may feel at ease because:

You feel in your element – you are doing work you enjoy and are able to deliver excellence.

You have done everything possible to prepare for tackling a stimulating but difficult challenge.

You work in a team in which people are encouraged – rather than harangued – and are enabled to do extraordinary work.

Different people choose different ways to take these steps. Here are some examples.

Some people keep putting themselves into situations in which they feel at ease. They may climb mountain, sail the seas, solve particular kinds of problems or whatever. They feel at home in these places, even though other people may think such situations are challenging.

Some people use recentering or other techniques to feel at ease. They may use deep breathing exercises, practice mental rehearsal or focus on controlling the controllables. They then follow their chosen strategies to achieve their picture of success.

Some people focus on doing their personal best, rather than comparing themselves to others. They aim to build on their strengths, whilst managing the consequences of their weaknesses. They aim to become the best kind of person or professional they can be.

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 were able to feel at ease, be fully engaged and express yourself.

Describe the specific things you did then to feel at ease, be fully engaged and express yourself.

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

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Encouragers often help people to feel at ease. They may do this as parents, teachers, coaches, mentors or whatever.

They enable people to feel safe, rather than on trial. Feeling affirmed, individuals are then more able to explore, develop and express themselves.

Good leaders help people to take these steps when working in superb teams. They are positive and predictable, rather than negative and unpredictable. People feel encouraged and know what to expect.

Such leaders often communicate a compelling purpose. They then create a positive environment in which motivated people can achieve peak performance. Let’s explore how they help people to express themselves.

Ease

Good leaders start by selecting people who will feel at ease when tackling the challenges faced by the team. These may involve playing a sport, tackling certain problems, dealing with crises or whatever.

People need to want to tackle such challenges. Whilst feeling in their element, they also recognise the need to prepare properly and be on top of their game.

Engagement

Such leaders create an encouraging atmosphere and communicate a compelling mission. They then invite people to decide whether they want to engage in contributing towards achieving the picture of success.

People who wish to are then invited to clarify how they can build on their strengths and make their best contribution. They make clear contracts about the specific results they will deliver towards achieving the goals.

Expressing Themselves

Good leaders implement the right strategy with the right people in the right way. They put people in the right places where they can play to their strengths. People are then more likely to feel at ease and perform fine work.

Such leaders expect people to be effective by always following the team’s agreed strategies. People always do the basics. They are then encouraged to express themselves and add the brilliance. Taking these steps can help the team to deliver excellence.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of a situation when you may want to feel at ease and express yourself? You may want to take these steps when pursuing creative work, doing a project or tackling a particular challenge.

How can you do your best to feel at ease? How can you prepare properly? How can you clarify your chosen strategy? How can you then be fully engaged? How can you perform good work? How can you express yourself and deliver the goods?

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 feel at ease, be fully engaged and express yourself. 

Describe the specific things you can do then to feel at ease, be fully engaged and express yourself.

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

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