The Art of Strengths Coaching

S is for Seven Steps For Helping A Person To Step Up And Succeed  

 

Many organisations want their people to step up. They want them to be self-motivated, develop their skills and deliver success. Some organisations approach this in a structured way whilst others do it in a more random way.

During the past 50 years I have worked with many organisations that have taken the structured approach. These have helped people to step up when working in therapy, education, sports, business and other walks of life.

There are many ways to help people to translate their potential into performance. This article looks at one model for helping them to step up and succeed.

The approach starts by creating a supportive environment. This is vital whether you are helping people to develop in education, sports, business or other areas. It then involves helping people to work through various steps. Let’s explore how this approach can be translated into action.

Start By Creating A
Supportive Environment

Great facilitators of talent create a supportive and stimulating environment. They then encourage, educate and enable people to perform at their best.

Such facilitators are often positive, professional and provide practical tools that help people to succeed. They create a motivating environment but also make it clear that people need to be self-motivated. People must play their part in working to achieve the agreed goals.

Different facilitators take these steps in different ways. Many follow similar principles, however, whether they are running a school, a sports team, a business or any organisation dedicated to developing talent.

They create an encouraging environment in which motivated people feel supported and able to develop.

They explain the Development Deal to people by explaining: a) The organisation’s responsibilities in helping the person to develop. b) The person’s responsibilities in helping themselves to develop

They then encourage, educate and enable people to build on their strengths and manage the consequences of any weaknesses on the road to continuing to develop.

Great facilitators continue to create a supportive environment, especially when things get tough. They also provide tools that people can use to support themselves and others in their development. This often involves focusing on the following steps.

Self-Motivation 

Great facilitators can encourage a person as much as possible but the person must have the drive to keep developing. They must show the will before they can learn a skill.

John Dewey, the educator, believed that it was important to encourage each child. When it came to helping the child to learn, however, he believed that:

The learner learns what the learner wants to learn.

The same rule applies to a person’s development. They must be prepared:

To say what they want to learn and translate this into a specific goal; 

To apply themselves to doing what is necessary to achieve the specific goal;

To accept both the pluses and minuses involved in working to achieve the specific goal.

Self-motivation is crucial. This is the case whether a person is aiming to develop their talents, play sport at a high level, change their life-style or reach a particular goal.

Good mentors, for example, aim to create a stimulating sanctuary in which a person feels safe and able to explore ideas. But it is up to the person to take responsibility for working to achieve their goal.

This is an approach I learned early in my career when running therapeutic communities for troubled young people. One of the key principles was:

The young person much be prepared to take responsibility for shaping their future.

We could show the benefits of staying healthy but it had to be the person’s decision to take responsibility. This also involved them being prepared to accept the pluses and minuses involved in working to reach the goal.

One way to illustrate this challenge is to consider the issues facing a drug addict, for example, who wants to become healthy. Looking at it from the addict’s point of view – rather than from other people’s point of view – here are the potential pluses and minuses.

The pluses will be:

They will feel more in control.
They will live longer.
They will possibly build better relationships.
They will possibly like themselves more.
They will see their children and maybe grandchildren grow up.

The possible minuses will be:

They must take responsibility every day for the rest of their lives.
They must find a new purpose – other than the purpose of getting a fix.
They must work to get money.
They must deal with their feelings without drugs.

Bearing these factors in mind, is the person prepared to accept the whole package? If so, how can they build on the pluses and manage the consequences of the minuses?

On a scale 0-10, how high is their motivation? The rating must be at least 7+/10, otherwise they may wilt on the journey. Even it is 8+/10, they will need to encourage themselves and will also need support.

Let’s focus on your own life and work. Imagine that you want to help a person to step up and succeed. You can want to do this when acting as a counsellor, educator, coach, leader or in another role.

Imagine that the person says they want to develop in their personal or professional life. They may want to change their lifestyle, learn a skill, gain promotion or succeed in another activity.

Looking at the area in which they want to develop, what self-motivating qualities will they need in order to step up? What will they need to do to demonstrate: a) The required drive; b) The required discipline; c) The required resilience to deal with disappointments; d) The required desire to keep improving?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to write the name of the person you would like to help to step up and succeed. It then invites you to do the following things.

Describe the self-motivation qualities the person will need to demonstrate to step up and succeed.

Describe the rating you would give the person in terms of them demonstrating these qualities. Do this on a scale 0-10.

Describe the specific things they can do – and that you can do to help them – to maintain or improve this rating.

Strengths 

Great workers build on their strengths and manage the consequences of their weaknesses. They then pursue their chosen strategies and do their best to achieve success.

Imagine that you are helping a person to step up. There are several factors to bear in mind in order to increase the chances of them achieving success. It will be important:

To build on the person’s strengths;

To choose a specific situation where the person can build on their strengths and set stimulating and achievable specific goals;

To set up the situation to make sure that – providing the person does their best – they are able to shine and will stand a good chance of achieving success.

Good facilitators of talent help a person to build on their strengths and go into situations where they can apply these talents. They then encourage and enable the person to succeed.

Good soccer coaches take this route, for example, when asking a player to step up a level. They make sure the player can do what they do best and play in their best position. They then encourage the player to go and ‘play their natural game’.

Later we will focus on creating a situation where a person is more likely to be able to shine and deliver success. Before then, however, it can be useful to ask the following questions about a person you are aiming to encourage. 

What are their strengths? What are the specific activities in which they deliver As rather than Bs or Cs? What are the specific examples of when they have delivered As?

What are the specific activities in which they may have the ability to deliver As? What is the evidence that they may be able to deliver success in these activities?

What may be the kind of situation where they can build on their strengths and succeed? What will they need to do to build on their strengths – and manage the consequences of any weaknesses – to succeed in the situation?

When clarifying a person’s strengths, it is good to be as specific as possible. Let’s consider one example.

A person may be good at mentoring people, for example, but what are the kinds of people with whom the work best? Are they good with young people, entrepreneurs, educators, managers, pioneers, artists, first responders or other kinds of people?

What are their specific areas of expertise as a mentor? Are they good at helping mentees to focus on strategy, leading teams, building businesses, being pacesetters or achieving peak performance in another field?

What is their style of mentoring? Are they good at encouraging people, facilitating, sharing strategies, passing on knowledge, providing practical tools or another skill? When are they at their best as a mentor?

Let’s return to the person you are helping to step up. The following exercise invites you to describe the specific activities in which they have the ability to shine. If possible, give examples of them showing this ability.

Situation

Looking at the person, what is the kind of situation in which they may be able to step up? How can you help to create such a situation? How can you set up things so the person will have a good chance of being able to achieve success?

Different people may aim to step up in different situations. They may aim to do this in their role as a sports person, singer, medic, therapist, actor, sales person, keynote speaker or in another role.

Whatever their work, there are certain ways to help a person to shine and deliver success. Here are some of the principles it can be useful to follow.

The Situation 

It can be useful to find or create a situation
where the person has a good chance of being able:

To play to their strengths; 

To set specific goals; 

To deliver the required standards and achieve success.

How to translate this approach into action? Imagine that you work as the Youth Academy Director for a soccer club. Part of your role will be to recruit the right kind of players.

You may begin by watching a player in action. Looking at their performance, you may ask yourself the following question:

Does the player have the right attitude and the right ability to reach the required level of achievement?

If so, you may invite them to play in a practice match. When doing this, it will be vital:

To put the player in the position in the team where they can play to their strengths and get the chance to shine.  

There is no point in putting them in a position where they cannot play to their strengths. That will be setting everybody up to fail.

Before playing the match, it will be useful to explain to the person what you will be looking for. For example, it may be important for them:

To be positive in their attitude and actions;

To play to their strengths and aim to achieve certain professional standards. 

Taking this route will create the right platform. You will aim to set thing up to succeed – both for the player and for the club. Similar rules apply in many areas of life.

Let’s return to the person you are helping to step up. It will be important to work together with them on improving the chances of success in a specific situation.

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

Describe the specific situation where the person could step up and succeed. 

Describe the specific things that you and they can do to increase the chances of them stepping up in the situation and achieving success.

Specific Goals

Imagine that the person you are helping is ready to focus on the situation where they can step up. This could be a personal or professional situation.

They may aim to do so when running a counselling session, teaching a workshop, solving a customer’s problem or doing another activity. They may aim to do so when working as a carpenter, paramedic, bomb disposal expert, mediator, technical expert, leader or in another role.

Looking ahead, it is vital for the person to prepare properly and set specific goals. Bearing in mind the situation they will face, you can help them:

To clarify the real results they want to achieve and translate this into a clear picture of success;

To clarify the key strategies they can follow to do superb work and achieve the picture of success;

To clarify the steps they can take to manage any challenges and do whatever is required to achieve the picture of success.

You can invite the person to spend some time with you to prepare properly. One approach is to begin by asking them to explore the following themes.

Looking ahead to the situation, what are your specific goals? What are the real results you want to achieve? What is the picture of success? What are the actual words you would like to hear the key stakeholders saying after you have done the work?

Bearing in mind what you can control, how can you do your best to achieve these results? What are the key strategies you can follow to give yourself the greatest chance of success?

How can you build on your strengths when working towards the goal? How can you manage the consequences of any weaknesses? What are the standards you want to deliver?

What are the potential problems that may arise? How can you prevent some of these problems happening? How can you manage any problems if, despite your best efforts, they do happen?

How can you translate your chosen strategies into a clear action plan? How can you get some early successes? How can you encourage yourself on the journey? What else can you do to do your best to achieve the picture of success?

Imagine that the person has explored these themes and also made a clear action plan. You can then invite them to complete the preparation by rehearsing pursuing their strategies.

One approach is for them to do the physical rehearsal. This will be vital if they aim to do good work as an athlete, dancer, singer, fire fighter, paramedic or in a role that requires lots of physical actions.

Another approach is for them to do mental rehearsal. This is a path often taken by peak performers who visualise everything before going into a situation.

There are many ways to do mental rehearsal. If you wish, one approach is for you to ask the person to look ahead to the specific situation. You can then invite them to go through the following stages.

Success

They can start by visualising the picture of success. 

Strategies 

They can rehearse pursuing the key strategies for achieving success. 

Solutions

They can rehearse implementing possible solutions to challenges they may meet on the road to achieving success.

Success

They can again rehearse pursuing the key strategies for achieving success.

Let’s return to the person you want to help to step up in a certain situation. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe how you can help them set specific goals and increase the likelihood of achieving success.

Superb Work

Imagine that the person you are helping goes into the situation where they want to step up. They can then click into action and pursue their chosen strategies.

They need to deliver the desired standards. This will be the case whether they are doing a counselling session, playing a football match, performing a surgical operation or doing another activity.

They can build on their strengths and manage the consequences of any weaknesses. They can keep doing the right things in the right way to produce superb work. They may then do something special that enables them to shine.

How to help them to take these steps? One approach is to make sure that they have prepared properly. As mentioned earlier, this means ensuring they have rehearsed following their chosen strategies.

They can then aim to keep following good habits and delivering the desired standards. Sometimes they may get knocked off course, however, which takes us to the next stage.

Solutions

Great workers are good at finding solutions to challenges. Sometimes they do this by anticipating difficulties and, whenever possible, preventing these happening.

The reality is that unexpected events are going to happen. If appropriate, you can help a person to find their own way of dealing with such situations.

One approach involves helping them to focus on the Clarity, Creativity and Concrete Results. You can discover more about how to use this model via the following link.

The Three C Model

Success

Imagine that the person you are helping is doing their best to deliver superb work. They will need to keep doing reality checks regarding their progress.

How to take this step? One approach is for them to keep asking the following questions:

What is going well? What can I do better and how? How can I build on what is going well and tackle the areas for improvement?

Great workers continually ask these questions. They then do their best to deliver the required results. Sometimes they add that touch of class to achieve the desired picture of success.

Imagine that the person you are helping has delivered the goods and you wish to continue helping them to develop. If so, it may be useful for them to take some of the following steps.

They can clarify what they did well when doing the piece of work and how they can follow these principles more in the future.  

They can clarify what they could have done better and how they can apply these lessons in the future. 

They can clarify the next situation in which they want to build on their strengths and step up to deliver success.

They can clarify the real results they want to achieve in the situation and the strategies they can follow to achieve success.

They can clarify the specific things they can do to do their best and the support they would like from you to help them to achieve success. 

There are many ways to help people to develop. One approach is to start by creating a supportive environment. It is then to follow some of the themes outlined in this article. You will, of course, do this in your own way.

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise regarding the person you have been helping. This invites you to describe the specific things you can do to help them to continue to step up and achieve success.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>