The Art of Strengths Coaching

S is for Asking: “Are You Serious?”

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During the past 50 years I have worked with many people and organisations that have settled on pursuing certain strategies. Before they commit to their action plans, however, it has been useful to say something along the following lines.

If you do these things, you will stand a good chance of success. The key question to ask is:

‘Are you serious?’

Many people make action plans. But they also need to consider both the pluses and minuses involved in working towards achieving the goals. Sometimes it can involve making tough decisions.

So, before committing to a course of action, ask:

‘On a scale 0 – 10, how serious are we about really doing the things that are required to deliver success?’

The score needs to be at least 9/10.

One leadership team I worked with took this step when building a values driven organisation. They aimed to build a positive culture where one of the values was for people to ‘Take Responsibility’.

The leadership team needed to model this in their own behaviour. They also needed to show what good looked like.

They could do this by sharing success stories that highlighted when people in the organisation had taken responsibility. This called for continually rewarding the behaviour they wanted repeated.

The organisation aimed to encourage people but, at the same time, it must never walk past a quality problem. What did this mean in action?

If the organisation was serious, it should only employ people who chose to take responsibility. It should not employ people who moaned or who chose not to take responsibility.

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The leaders were serious. They built an organisation where everybody chose to take responsibility. Those who didn’t soon found it wasn’t the place for them.

The organisation built a strong legacy. Many people look back on their time there as playing a key part in their careers. Many have also gone on to build positive organisations.

Let’s explore how it is possible to use this approach in both our personal and professional lives.

Being Serious
In The Past

If you wish, start by looking back on your own life. Can you think of a time when you demonstrated that you were really serious about achieving a specific goal? Here are some of the answers that people have given to this question.

I demonstrated that I
was really serious when I:

Left a difficult relationship and started a new life … Trained for and took part in a marathon swim … Built a new way of doing things at work, even though it was a rocky ride .

Took charge of my health and lost 10 kilos in weight … Home schooled our two children … Decided I was unmanageable and set up my own business.

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 that you were serious about achieving a specific goal.

Describe the specific things that you did to demonstrate you were serious about achieving the goal.

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Being Serious
In The Future

Looking at this experience, what were the things you did right? How can you, if appropriate, follow some of these principles in the future?

You will have your own approach to being committed. Looking at other people, however, they sometimes go through the following steps.

They feel strongly about something they want to do and translate this feeling into aiming to achieve a specific goal.

They consider the key strategies they can follow to do their best to achieve the specific goal.

They consider the pluses and minuses involved. They focus on how to build on the pluses and minimise the minuses on the way to achieving the specific goal.

They ask: ‘On a scale 0 – 10, how serious am I? Am I prepared to accept the whole package?’ They need to be emotionally committed to doing what is required to achieve the specific goal.

They then aim to do the right things in the right way every day to do what is required to achieve the specific goal.

Bearing in mind what has worked for you in the past, is there something you want to commit yourself to doing in the future? You may want to follow a particular passion, pursue a personal dream or do something in your professional life.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things and translate your seriousness into action.

Describe a specific goal you are serious about achieving in the future.

Describe the pluses and minuses involved in working to achieve the goal. Describe the extent to which you are serious about achieving the goal. Rate this on a scale 0 – 10.

Describe the specific things you can do to demonstrate that you are serious about achieving the specific goal.

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