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Answers to Your Pressing Coaching Questions With Dean Jones

Answers to Your Pressing Coaching Questions With Dean Jones

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 5, Episode 27
  • Listen as Dean Jones shares his insights on training and education, certification, wellbeing and more in this coaching Q&A.

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Talent Development Architect, Dean Jones.

Dean Jones is the principal architect of Gallup's global client learning strategy. Dean consults with clients on strategic solutions to address key business issues, including organizational development, performance management, learning and development, productivity and workforce effectiveness.

"Ask me anything with Dean" Day

Training and education at Gallup in 2018?

  • We spend a lot of time thinking about the future
  • We're working on the set of second-level coach development opportunities
  • The first level/grounding stuff is what makes up the ASC course
    • We never intended for this to be it
    • But it does give you a lot of stuff to work with
  • The intention is to be able to then have new second-level stuff -- where do you go next?
  • The Advanced Strengths Coaching course
    • Two pilots:
      • 2016 -- 1 day on developmental milestones (1 pilot)
      • 2017 -- 2 days (two pilots)
    • Started with developmental milestones that came from conversations with coaches all over the world
      • We added fundamental coaching skills to it
      • Now we're refining it and adding additional material
      • We're playing around with it
      • We'll run it probably 3 times in the fall -- U.S. only
      • It's all the material that sits behind our ASC course
      • It's more conceptual in nature
      • It's like moving from undergraduate to graduate
      • It's creating a meaningful shift in the clarity and ability that coaches have
  • Also working on our Train the Trainer course for CliftonStrengths Discovery
    • This is our intro course to strengths
    • At the summit we rolled out for the first time the ability for people other than Gallup people to lead it
    • 3-day train the trainer at the Summit
    • Only certified coaches are allowed in it now
    • There is a certification that goes with it
    • Will offer it a couple times in the fall at $3500
    • Designed to be basic strengths education for people
    • Good for people after they take the assessment and before they have coaching
    • You can do the first ½ day as a standalone; a full day; or two half-days
    • Many coaches have built their own introductory courses that serve particular audiences
    • Ours is generic designed to get somebody started with strengths
    • Good for people who know they can't design something like this
    • It's a world-class course
    • Is it "turnkey" for new coaches?
      • Yes, but it's not just for new coaches
    • Also good at helping you be a better course leader
  • Other certifications?
    • Yes -- some kind of certification around employee engagement and using the Q12
    • Also broader workplace certification
      • Actively working on this
    • We want to be sure to continue to support the current certification, not water it down
    • We typically announce to our certified coaches first
      • We need a sandbox to play in and try stuff out

Coaches are creating their own certifications -- are they competing with Gallup?

  • Coaches creating their own certification programs is different than coaches competing with Gallup
  • We know certain coaches have created their own programs for coaches
    • Some are on how to sell, grow and market your business
      • We're not the right folks to do that; we often refer people to these coaches
    • Other coaches offer a coaching certification -- one caveat around this
      • People take our course and then re-package our materials into their own program -- we won't let people do that
      • They have to have their own material
    • What about selling a Gallup kit and then offer training around that like our course?
      • That's probably not right, too close to what we do
    • But others have a distinctly different background from us
      • They have their own content around their specialized area
    • Sometimes it's super clear, then there are gray areas
      • We try to be as rational and collaborative around helping people
      • We know people aren't out to do something malicious
  • The best thing to do is to contact us in advance and let us review what you're doing
    • Jessica Kennedy is a person to contact
  • If you've gone through someone else's program, it will not count as Gallup certification, which will be required for some of our new offerings
  • How can we use materials in the kit?
    • The intent behind the material in the kit is to empower people in their coaching work
    • We did not intend it to be something people would repackage and sell
  • Back to domain expertise concept
    • As many of our coaches build their practice (independent or within an organization) they can connect their functional coaching skill to their domain/industry/unique expertise
    • Powerful to connect coaching with expertise in an area

What's the difference between coaching and strengths coaching?

  • People use multiple assessments, models and constructs
  • As a strengths coach the first level is to help people understand their talent, develop their self-awareness, claim it, appreciate it, start helping them invest in their talent
  • The next level is to help people aim their strengths at performance; producing a result for people; point strengths at meaningful outcomes
  • Depth of understanding and knowledge about strengths; knowing the domain of strengths
  • Strengths coaches are focused on and work on what's right with people; always interact with what's right about someone
  • Don't use strengths like a baton to hit someone with; don't use them as a weapon
  • Currently working on thinking about performance management through a different lens; strengths is a big piece of it
    • Strengths is a catalyst for employee engagement

During the Summit, Tom Rath talked about wellbeing … are we going to bring more of our wellbeing work into what we're doing from a strengths perspective?

  • We are committed to wellbeing
  • We continue to look at what is the best way to plug it into what we're doing with strengths and coaches
  • We haven't cracked the code yet on the best way to plug it in; but we're thinking about it
  • It's all good work, but I don't have a great answer on how we'll connect it

If you only had one hour with someone, what would you do?

  • What do you do in a CliftonStrengths feedback session?
  • This is in the last session in the last learning series
    • Jim reminded everyone how to find resources
    • There is a YouTube channel that is just Dean
    • If certified, 2017 learning series is in the Yammer group

Do you have a favorite question or activity? If you had only one coaching question, what would it be?

  • I don't have just one favorite question

How did you use your talents to be successful in a particular situation?

  • Don said to help people study their successes
  • How are your strengths helping you succeed? Be more intentional, stop claiming talents they don't have
  • People get narrower and more focused in the ways they can deploy their strengths, not broader
  • Feed forward questions … next time what would you do? What talent would you use?
  • Team activity?
  • 5 Clues to Talent even before we get into the language of strengths
  • Think about themselves in their own words before getting into the strengths vocabulary


  • Not a beginner-level concept
  • Based on study of how leaders use their strengths in group settings
  • If you get to them too fast, there seems to be mischief around them (I can't think, I can't execute)
  • Learner isn't just about learning; shaped by other themes; where do I point my love of learning?
  • Your disposition is more towards the domain areas where you have a large cluster of themes
    • My instinct is …
  • I don't like teaching domains with just Top 5; such an incomplete picture; you need the themes that are "all of the time" -- map these to the domains to see where you are
  • I get concerned that people make up crazy stuff about themselves and others when domains aren't presented in the right way
  • Domains give you your biases, the ways that I tend to want to work

What about using all 34 from the start?

  • Everyone who is manager and above should have all 34
  • You have to help people make sense of what to do with this list
  • Important to do the sorting exercise; what I lead with; fire once in a while in response to something else; rarely use -- this provides context
  • Focus people on their Top 5 and give them context for their Bottom 5
  • Don says you could spend a lifetime mastering your Top 5
  • I spent 3 to 3 1/2 years thinking about my Top 5 and 12 years later, I'm still discovering things about them
  • People get bored too quickly with them
  • Focus on Top 5 and start unpacking them; there's a reason we call them signature themes; they leave an imprint on everything you do
  • What about Bottom 5? There's nothing to do with it; let them be; it's not a weakness; if it becomes a problem we'll come up with strategies to deal with them
  • There isn't a perfect Top 5 or Bottom 5
  • Complementary partnerships are my strengths and your strengths together
    • I'm not compensating for a weakness with a partnership; I'm contributing something and you're contributing something to the partnership; the total is bigger than the sum of the parts

Final thoughts?

  • We didn't get through all of the questions
  • I like this format, we need to do it again
  • I love hearing from people; send me email; connect with me on LinkedIn

Dean Jones' Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Activator, Focus, Woo, Strategic and Relator.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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