The Art of Strengths Coaching

S is for Focusing On Support, Stimulation And Success

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There are many ways to help people to do good work. One model builds on the approach taken by good leaders.

Such leaders often start by setting the scene. They communicate the goals to achieve and people’s roles in achieving the picture of success. They then create a supportive and stimulating environment in which motivated people can achieve success.

Good workshop leaders, for example, often start by making people feel welcome. They then make clear contracts for the session. Such leaders may do this by saying something like the following.

Setting The Scene

Welcome to the workshop. My aim is to create a supportive and stimulating environment. It is also to provide some practical tools that you can use to achieve success.

Bearing this in mind, let’s start by focusing on what we aim to achieve and to agree on some guidelines for working together.  

The Goals

As far as I understand it, the
goals for the workshop are:

To …

To … 

To …

My Responsibilities

My responsibilities in helping us to
work towards achieving these goals are:

To …

To …

To …

The Participant’s Responsibilities

As far as I understand it, your responsibilities in
helping us to work towards achieving these goals are:

To …

To … 

To …

Does that match your own understanding? Would anybody like to add anything to these things? If all agreed, let’s start.

Workshop leaders then aim to encourage, educate and enable people to achieve their goals.

Looking back at your own life, can you recall a situation when you took this approach? You may have been acting as a leader, teacher, mentor, coach, advisor or parent.

You may have started by agreeing on the aims. After making clear contracts, you created an encouraging environment in which people could achieve the goals.

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 created a supportive and stimulating environment in which motivated people could achieve success. 

Describe the specific things you did to create such an environment. 

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

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Fiona is somebody who follows this approach in the marketing arm of a big organisation. She has a track record of leading teams that deliver the goods and also help people to develop. She does this by providing the support and stimulation required to help people to succeed.

Fiona kicks off each financial year by makes the professional deal clear to her people. She says something along the following lines.

Every organisation – including our own – has its version of a Scorecard. This describes the mandatory things that must be delivered.  Every team is then given its own Scorecard.

Bearing this in mind, we will aim to do the following things to do satisfying work.

We will deliver our part of the Scorecard. This calls for delivering certain targets relating to profitability, product quality – including customer satisfaction – and people.

We will also deliver certain Stimulating Projects. This calls for building on our strengths and doing satisfying projects that benefit the organisation and our customers. These should also be fun to do.

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Bearing these things in mind, we will clarify the targets that must be delivered regarding the Scorecard. We will also invite each of you to suggest potential Stimulating Projects. Putting these things together, we will then agree on the team’s picture of success.

The next steps will be for you to clarify your best contribution to delivering these goals. I will then meet with you to agree on what you aim to deliver in the next year.

We will agree on how we can each play to our strengths, whilst also completing all the other practical tasks. We as a team will then aim to support each other and do great work. 

Fiona invites people to do the following exercise. She meets with each person and makes clear contracts about their specific contribution. The person then proactively keeps her informed about their progress towards achieving the goals.

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Looking ahead, can you think of a specific situation when you may want to apply this approach in your own way?

You may want to do it when encouraging a person, running a seminar, leading a team or whatever. You may want to do it in your personal or professional life.

How can you start by setting the scene and outlining the potential picture of success? How can you then provide support and stimulation that helps motivated people to achieve the agreed goals?

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 create a supportive and stimulating environment in which motivated people can achieve success.

Describe the specific things you can do to create such an environment.

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

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