What is the Clifton Strengths Assessment? How does it help hundreds of thousands of people succeed at work and feel more like themselves in their lives?
In addition to the thoughts that I have about wellness and career development, I also have a certification that I recently renewed: I’m a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. I wanted to share more about that with you since I got reignited with passion for this assessment over the last few weeks.
Missy, what does this mean? Overview of the Assessment
Great question. This means that I am certified to administer an assessment (the Clifton Strengths Assessment) to people who are looking to better understand their greatest talents, invest time into those talents and turn them into strengths! I’ve been certified since 2017 and recently rectified.
The test itself is an online assessment that you can take anywhere you have an internet connection. I normally purchase the code(s) for my clients, email it over and then you take the assessment by a date that we agree on. During the assessment, you’ll have a set amount of time (I think it’s like 20 seconds or so) to answer each question. *If you have a learning modification or need more time, we can always contact Gallup and they can take the time restriction off for you. I’ve done it before. It worked really well. The idea behind timing it is that you are to choose which of the statements is most like you and your gut instinct is what you must listen to. I believe there are 175 questions that you go through. The test takes somewhere between 20 - 35 minutes depending on how quickly you answer the Qs.
After you complete the assessment you are given 5 words that are your natural talents (you’ll see me interchange the words Talent & Strength a lot) that you do best almost every time. For example, my top 5 are: Empathy, Positivity, Maximizer, Connectedness & Strategic. There are 34 total themes that you have the option of getting in your top 5. Your themes are ranked in order from most like you or things you do all the time, to things you rarely ever do.
There are two different reports that you can get, one is the top 5 where you only see your top 5 talents. Gallup’s CEO, Jim Clifton, stated that the top 5 are really only like 10% of who you are, so unlocking the rest of your talents is beneficial. If we work together individually, I highly recommend the 34 report. There’s so much more we can do in our coaching sessions knowing all of these rather than just the top 5.
One of the hindrances of the all 34 report is that most people look right to the bottom and say, “how do I bring up this talent?” which is not the point of the Clifton Strengths Assessment. The point of the assessment is to find out what you do well and make it better. Where do you naturally succeed and how can you succeed more. During our sessions we go over your Dominant Talents, those that show up in the top 10 - 12 of your report. Those are talents that when nurtured, lead you to GREAT things!
What if, instead of focusing on what’s wrong with us, we focused on what’s right? What kind of a world would that be? I think it would be pretty amazing! But that might just be my Positivity and Maximizer coming out to play. 😉
How I Work with Clients:
Working with a Clifton Strengths Coach can take a few different turns. We work with individual people on their top talents. I also facilitate group sessions with organizations and teams to help them strengthen their bonds, notice each others’ talents and bring them closer together to be amore effective working group. The conversations with teams that I’ve had have been truly beautiful to watch. The groups have been open, honest and we went deeper into each others lives than I thought we would in a work environment. The vulnerability, honesty and raw-ness that this test can bring out is truly amazing.
Break it down: Individual Coaching
For individual clients, I work with you ideally for at least 4 sessions. One session is more intake, where we get to know each other and a little bit about strengths, in general and then we get into the nitty gritty of this test and what makes you, you! We talk through examples of times in your life that you’ve seen your strengths played out and how we can continue to notice those strengths.
Sometimes, if clients are unhappy at work, it can be because they’re not using all of their strengths on a daily basis. I know that in jobs where I’ve not been 100% happy, it has been because I’m not using all of my strengths on at least a weekly basis. We can talk through this process and brainstorm what might be next for you. I’ve been career coaching for the better part of a decade so this stuff really excites me.
How it can help:
“Seeing my Clifton Strengths Assessment results was like looking in the mirror and liking what I saw for the first time” - I went to the Clifton Strength Conference in Nebraska in 2018 and one of the keynote speakers said this and I loved it so much!
have a better understanding of why you do the things that you do
learn the vocabulary you need to explain those strengths & talents
have a great answer to the interview question: “what are you strengths?” with very concrete evidence to back it up.
learn why you have or have not enjoyed certain jobs that you’ve had, believe me, there is a reason you haven’t enjoyed them.
be better able to relate to your friends, family and colleagues because of this new found understanding of the self.
Break it down: Group Coaching
For group, corporate or departmental strengths coaching the types of services I provide can vary. These are some options and I can always have a phone call with the manager or leader of the group to create something custom that works for your organization.
1 - Half Day Session - this is the most cost effective way to get your team access to the Clifton Strength Assessment. I come in for a half day ~4 hours or at least 3.5 and we talk through everyone’s individual strengths and do many activities to get everyone in the room talking about each other’s strengths.
This also includes a 2-hour 1:1 session with the manager or leader of the group, so that they can fully understand their strengths and so that we can set the goals that they want to accomplish for the group. I always say, that I hold the container of the group and the manager helps facilitate the session based on their goals for the department.
2 - Half Day + 1:1s with all members of the team - I really like this option because if everyone in the group already has a great way to talk about their strengths through our 1:1 session together, they’re going to be more willing and open to share during the group session. This would require a few weeks of lead time leading up to the half day session, to make sure we can have those 1:1s done. The 1:1s would be an hour to an hour and 15 minute sessions with each member of the team and a 2 hour session with the manager or leader.
3 - 2, Half Day Sessions + Multiple 1:1s with team members - this is the ultimate strengths package. We work together for about 3 - 6 months (depending on the client’s timeline) completing the half day + 1:1s with all members of the team stated above, then we do another round of 1:1 sessions with everyone about a month after the first half day session. Checking in, see how the strengths based workplace is working out. Questions or concerns about anything and move forward from there. We can do one check in or two depending on our agreement. I would also want at least 2 or 3 total check-ins with the manager to see how things are going and what the goal of the second in-person half day session will be.
Then about 6 months or so, down the line, we do another strengths half day session to remind ourselves why we’re doing this. What goals have been accomplished within the last 6 months? What do we still have to do? How are we playing to everyone’s strengths? Did there have to be reorganization of duties to allow staff members to be in their zone of strength every single day?
Any of these sessions that you choose will:
bring groups of people closer together
sort out any differences that people have in a brave space
create more compassion and understanding for the way others’ strengths can play out in a negative way. (they’re not just positive all the time)
give the leaders a great framework for providing feedback in a compassionate way
85% of people in the USA are unhappy at work. - Gallup.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were not one of those people? Finding a place of work that invests in your strengths and talents or moves toward doing that through group sessions is so important. We all want to be doing our best and we can definitely do that when we know our greatest strengths and talents.
I love the Clifton Strengths Assessment. Knowing my top talents has radically transformed my life and I know it will do the same for you. Please reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a phone call to chat more about strengths. Have I mentioned that I love this stuff??
Until next time - XO Missy