The Art of Strengths Coaching

W is for People Having Warm Hearts, Wise Heads And Working Hands    

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There are many models for developing as a person. One approach is to develop a warm heart, wise head and working hands. Let’s explore this approach.

People who have warm hearts often have a sense of gratitude. They count their blessings rather than their burdens. Such people have a generous spirit. They enjoy giving things to others and helping them to succeed.

People who have wise heads often have a wide repertoire of knowledge. They stay calm when faced by a crisis and clarify the real results to achieve. They explore the possible options for going forwards and the consequences of each option. They then pursue the strategy most likely to achieve the picture of success.

Great workers often do work that involves their heart, head and hands. Their heart feels they really want to do the activity and their head understands the strategy for making it happen. They then use their hands – in the broadest sense –to bring something into being.

Sometimes this literally means using their hands to build something or fix a problem. In others cases it means using their whole being – their experience, wisdom and knowledge – to translate the ideas into action and produce wonderful work.

This article was inspired by talking with people at the DQ&A Media Group and their colleagues at Clicks2customers and NMPi. They believe in following leadership principles that embody the qualities of having a cool head, warm heart and working hands. You can discover more about their work via the following link:

https://www.dqna.com/

Looking back, can you think of a person who had a warm heart, wise head and working hands. This could be somebody you have known or somebody you have heard about.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to write the name of such a person. It then invites you to describe the specific things they did to demonstrate some of these qualities.

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Warm Hearts

A person who develops a warm heart has often been given love in the past. They may have had parents or other significant people who helped them to feel safe, encouraged and able to grow. They are then more likely to pass on this feeling to other people.

Some individuals develop a warm heart in other ways. They may develop a sense of gratitude and be thankful for each day. Some appreciate all living things. Developing a sense of compassion, they want to help other people and things to grow.

Some focus on the best parts of people. They have positive eyes and ask some of the following questions when looking at a person or a group of people.

When do they come alive? What are their strengths? When are they in their element – at ease and yet able to excel? When do they perform brilliantly? What do they do right then? How can I help them to follow these principles to perform brilliantly in the future?

People with warm hearts create a positive environment in which others feel welcome. They help others to feel at ease and able to express themselves. Individuals often feel uplifted after meeting such a person.

Such people feel compassion for others and translate this caring into action. Different people have compassion for different things. Some may feel compassion for themselves and their loved ones. They may then have compassion for their friends and kindred spirits.

Some may go further. They may feel compassion for specific groups of people they identify with, such as communities or nations. Some may extend their compassion to include all human beings and future generations. Some may feel compassion for all living things and the planet.

People who show compassion often have a history of being loved and being taught to respect other human beings. They believe in spreading happiness, rather than hate. They want to plant seeds of hope that will encourage both present and future generations.

Such people are positive realists. They recognise the many challenges that we face as human beings. They believe in finding positive solutions, however, that will benefit both people and the planet.

They are strongly aware of systems theory, though they may call it something else. They may instead say something like: “You reap what you sow.”

Such people believe that what you put into a system – be it a relationship, organisation or planet – will strongly affect the future of that system. They therefore try to act with compassion rather than cruelty.

Jeremy Rifkin outlines a similar approach in his book The Empathic Civilisation. This calls for extending our empathy to the entire human family and the biosphere.

Below is a video on this theme. It starts by exploring a study of animals, but then goes on to describe how being compassionate may help us to survive as a species. You can discover more via the following link.

http://empathiccivilization.com/

Imagine that you want to continue to develop a warm heart. How can you take this step in your own way? You may want to maintain sense of gratitude, encourage other people or whatever.

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 developing a warm heart. 

Describe the specific benefits – both for yourself and other people – of doing these things.

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Wise Heads

People who have wise heads often have a wide repertoire of knowledge. They stay calm in a crisis, clarity the real results to achieve and explore the possible options for going forwards. They then pursue the strategy most likely to achieve success.

Wise people seldom consider themselves wise. Whilst acknowledging they have some expertise in a certain area, they also believe they have much to learn. They demonstrate humility, rather than hubris.

Many of the wise people I have met studied success. They aimed to study, simplify and share what worked. They then offered positive models and practical tools that people could use in their daily lives and work.

Trusted advisors often follow this path. Sometimes on workshops I invite people to describe a specific situation in which they were helped by such a person. This could have been a parent, teacher, surgeon, coach or other person.

What did the trusted advisor do right? How did they pass on their knowledge? How did they help the person in the situation? Here are some of the answers they give to these questions.

My Trusted Advisor
Did The Following Things

They made me feel the centre of their world. 

They listened to my story, clarified my goals and played back what they believed were the aims. 

They then asked if it was okay for them to share their ideas. 

They began by outlining the things we could do – the specific things we could control – in the situation.

They shared the possible options for going forward, together with the pluses and minuses of each option. 

They also, when appropriate, shared their knowledge and recommendations.

They underlined, however, that it was ultimately my decision and gave me time to reflect.

They then, once I had made my decision, again explained the implications. 

They explained what I could expect to happen at each stage of the process going forwards.

They explained the various roles – their role, my role and the roles of other people – as we worked towards the aims.

They then acted to pursue the chosen way forward. 

They used their skills, knowledge and wisdom to do what they could to help me to reach my goals.

Imagine that you want to continue to develop a wise head. 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 developing a wise head. 

Describe the specific benefits – both for yourself and other people – of doing these things.

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Working Hands

Great workers often do work that involves their heart, head and hands. Sometimes this literally means using their hands to build something or fix a problem.

In others cases, however, it means using their whole being. They use their experience, wisdom and knowledge to translate the ideas into action and produce wonderful work.

Looking back, can you think of a time when you went through these stages? You may have written an article, renovated a house, nurtured a garden, created an environment in which people could flourish. You may have directed a play, led a team, built a successful prototype or performed some other kind of satisfying work.

What did you do right to go through these stages? Your heart wanted to do the specific activity. Your head understood what you were doing. Your ‘hands’ brought something into being.

Looking ahead, how can you follow similar principles in the future? How can you do something you believe in? How can you clarify the strategy for achieving the goal? How can you then use your whole being to do superb work and achieve the picture of success?

Great educators, for example, encourage people to follow these steps in their own ways. Today there are many educational projects that are helping students to apply these principles and perform superb work.

The Expeditionary Learning approach is one such model that has proved successful for many students. Below are excerpts from the movement’s website and a video about its work. You can discover more via the following links.

http://elschools.org/

http://elschools.org/sites/default/files/Core%20Practice%20Final_EL_120811.pdf

Expeditionary Learning enables people to grow by embodying the following principles. Students translate these into action and do meaningful work.

Learning is active

Students are scientists, urban planners, historians, and activists, investigating real community problems and collaborating with peers to develop creative, actionable solutions.

Learning is challenging

Students at all levels are pushed and supported to do more than they think they can. Excellence is expected in the quality of their work and thinking. 

Learning is meaningful

Students apply their skills and knowledge to real-world issues and problems and make positive change in their communities. They see the relevance of their learning and are motivated by understanding that learning has purpose.

Learning is public

Through formal structures of presentation, exhibition, critique, and data analysis, students and teachers build a shared vision of pathways to achievement.

Learning is collaborative

School leaders, teachers, students, and families share rigorous expectations for quality work, achievement, and behavior. Trust, respect, responsibility, and joy in learning permeate the school culture.

When implemented robustly, the Expeditionary Learning core practices create school environments that promote deep engagement in learning and support students to achieve at high levels.

EL students gain skills critical to college readiness and lifelong success-literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, persistence toward excellence, and active citizenship – as well as mastery of subject-area knowledge.

There are many ways to do fine work. One approach is to have a warm heart, wise head and working hands.

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

Describe the specific things you can do to keep doing good work with – in the widest sense – your hands. 

Describe the specific benefits – both for yourself and other people – of doing these things.

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