The Art of Strengths Coaching

S is for Solid Ground And Dangerous Ground

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People often do their best work when they build on what for them is solid ground. They work less well when they are on dangerous ground. Let’s explore these concepts.

Solid Ground

Looking at your own work, when do you feel on solid ground? It may be when you know your subject area, know your audience and know their specific goals. Certainly you will be happy to stretch yourself, but you feel confident of being able to succeed.

Different people feel comfortable in different situations. One person said:

I have always felt at ease working with entrepreneurs and pioneers. I am less good working with people in old style institutions.

During my youth I travelled around the world, beginning by doing voluntary work. After a while I got used to living off my wits. This helped when I stumbled upon some of the first dot.com businesses.

Although I knew little about the field, I had learned a lot about decision making and the consequences. Soon I found myself acting as a listening ear to people who were running these businesses. After a while this turned into a full time role.

Over the next decade I tried to learn everything I could about decision making. I did not have the money to study at business schools, but I did manage to meet many leaders in the field.

Now I make my living helping people to make decisions. That might sound scary. But I am actually quite comfortable going into situations where the decision making has wide implications.

People are different. A person may feel comfortable dealing with complex technical problems, treating patients in Accident and Emergency Units, performing on stage in a play or whatever. They may feel less comfortable in other situations.

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

Describe the specific situations where you feel on solid ground.

Describe the specific reasons why you feel on solid ground in these situations.

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Dangerous Ground

Looking at your work experience, when do you feel on dangerous ground? You may feel uncomfortable working with certain kinds of people or where your values may not fit the culture. One person said:

I used to feel uncomfortable in older style organisations, so now I avoid working in them. It just wasn’t the right fit. Sometimes I committed cultural sins without even realising it.

On reflection, I sometimes used to go over the top. Maybe it was because I did not respect the people who worked in those types of organisations. So on occasions this slipped out.

People can often develop by stretching themselves, of course, but one point is worth underlining. They need to set themselves stimulating goals, rather than surgery goals. They need to stand a chance of achieving success.

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

Describe the specific situations where you feel on dangerous ground.

Describe the specific reasons why you feel on dangerous ground in these situations.

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Solid Ground and Dangerous
Ground in the Future

Looking to the future, how can you build on your strengths? How can you work on stimulating projects with stimulating people in stimulating places?

Peak performers believe in doing what they do best in the places where they perform best. Sometimes it can take years for them to settle on their particular niche.

Great workers are committed constant improvement. They often choose to focus on certain specialist areas, however, where they can become experts. They also focus on the kinds of people with whom they work best.

Trying to change their offering to reach a different audience can become their own dangerous ground. It can be important to reach different kinds of people, but not at the expense of diluting their top talent.

Looking to the future, how can you keep building on your solid ground? How can you continue to keep developing? How can you make the most of your talents?

How can you avoid putting yourself on dangerous ground? If you must go there sometimes, how can you prepare properly? How can you manage potentially difficult moments? How can you be super professional in those situations?

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

Describe the specific things you can do to keep building on your solid ground.

Describe the specific things you can do to deal with any situations where you may be on dangerous ground.

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