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Rolling Out Strengths in an Organization: 4 Key Roles, Pt 2

Rolling Out Strengths in an Organization: 4 Key Roles, Pt 2

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 7, Episode 31
  • Listen as Dean Jones talks about the roles of strengths coach and manager, and how they are key in rolling out CliftonStrengths in an organization.

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with the Principal Architect of Gallup's Global Client Learning Strategy, Dean Jones, about 4 roles or types of players that are key in rolling out CliftonStrengths in an organization. In part 2 of this webcast, Dean discusses the third and fourth key roles: strengths coach and manager.

NEW: Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison 0:00

I'm Jim Collison and live from the Gallup campus here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on August 9, 2019.

Jim Collison 0:19

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you are listening live, love to have you interact with us in our chat room. It's available there on the live page, or if it's after the fact, and you have any questions, send us an email: Dean Jones is our host today. Dean is a Senior Learning Expert here at Gallup. Dean, it's always great to have you and welcome to this early edition of Called to Coach.

Dean Jones 0:49

Thank you very much. It's great to be here. I'm glad to get the start here.

Jim Collison 0:52

Yeah. Kind of glad to get it out of the way for the day. It's kind of nice. Maybe we'll have to schedule a few more early-morning Called to Coaches. We spent some time talking about strengths rollouts. And so this is really Part 2, that we're kind of coming back to two more points. Maybe you could spend a one minute kind of giving us a transition from what where we came and then we can kind of dive into what we what what we have to share today.

Dean Jones 1:20

Yeah, I'd love to tee it up. But you know, I guess one of the things I didn't say last time, but I want to make sure. I know that -- the reason I start I started thinking about doing this was it really came out of conversations I had with with coaches at the summit. And so I was at the CliftonStrengths Summit this summer, as I'm inclined to do. And I was talking to a lot of coaches and and there were a lot of coaches who were talking about working with working with rolling out strengths in their organization or with client organizations that they work with, right. And I get the sense all the time that people want us to be able to say, "This is the right way to do it." Right? And there's not a "right way" to do it, there's not like the one right way to do it. We -- I think we have done a great job over the years of distilling some of the things that work about doing it. And you'll see in our It's the Manager book, there's 5 things that we've identified relative to strengths-based culture that we think are important, but from a tactical standpoint, and there are some tactics that work, and that's part of why we're doing this here, right? The thing that I that so I want to I say that not to give you a sense to -- not to be disarming, you know, or not to be or not to alarm anybody, but but also to give you some freedom, that part of your just your understanding of the organization, your understanding of what works, your experience that you can bring that to bear on this, it's not like you're going to do it wrong, right? And and the more you -- just like all skills, the more you practice it, the better you get.

Dean Jones 3:00

The thing that we did see was or that I have seen, and that we have, we have learned over the years is that there are some key roles in a strengths rollout that make a difference in terms of being successful. And, again, this is stuff that we at at Gallup have learned as we've rolled out strengths in many organizations, the four kind of key roles that we know are: the role of the leader, the role of a strengths champion in the organization, the role of a strengths coach, and the role of the manager. And so that's really where this thing came from, Jim, is the is that -- last one, we talked about leaders and strengths champions. For some people, I think "strengths champion" is a new term. I mean, it sounds funny for us, because we've been using "strengths champion" for a long, long time, and have helped a lot of organizations build kind of champion networks. And so today, I think, maybe more familiar, although I think there may be some stuff as we cover, we're going to talk about strengths coaches today and managers and their respective roles in a strengths rollout. And I think there may be some stuff that will help provide some clarity about how how both of those kinds of folks can apply themselves in a really meaningful way.

Jim Collison 4:12

Early on in the community work that I did with our strengths coaches in the community, I used the word "strengths champion," and somebody said to me, "Jim, is there a certification for strengths champions?" And so like, that's always the road we go down, like, how do I, what do I need to do? How do I check this off? And I don't think if you go back to Part 1, Dean does a really great job of kind of explaining the role. And I think it's really the community role in an organization, right? It's that informal process -- that informal role where people can really keep the momentum going. So we spend a lot of time talking about that in Part 1. Today, we want to talk a little about the role of a strengths coach. And like, I think, Dean, this feels like a little bit of a slam dunk, because this is the community we're talking to. But I think you really have some more things to share around it. Because this is that formal role, right, that we're talking about?

Dean Jones 4:58

Yeah, that's right. And I I think I would tell you that I think that sometimes it gets -- that for strengths coaches, just to kind of dig in here, for strengths coaches, I think sometimes it gets confusing. I, you know, we've worked with clients where there were enthusiastic strengths coaches, either inside the organization or that were working from outside the organization with the organization, and in the ways that they were applying themselves, they were actually not advancing strengths. They were creating confusion in the organization, you know -- and, not intentionally, of course, right. But it was, I think you got to know as a strengths coach, what's the best way to apply yourself, particularly the larger the organization gets, the more challenging I think sometimes it can be. So -- so typically, just to jump into it, typically, when you're a strengths coach, and you're working with an organization, typically you're not coaching individual contributors directly. Typically the audience you want to apply yourself to is managers. So you may be providing strengths feedback; you may be delivering strengths training that includes individual contributors; but you know, one of the things where we see challenges sometimes is, is coaches that want to apply themselves that where they get in the organization, and they think they're going to coach every single person in the organization. In a small organization, that may be possible, right? In a large organization is just not, right? There's just it's just not -- you can't, you know, as we work with organizations, we know, gosh, we're not going to coach every single person in that organization. There's going to have to be champions and coaches that are providing those resources and that developmental feedback, right. So the role of strengths coach is typically to provide support to managers as they use their own strengths in the role as they work with the strengths of their team. Right.

Dean Jones 6:49

So I want to say that again, because I want to make sure that as you think about that, where you as a strengths coach are going to insert yourself is in a strengths rollout, the role of the strengths coach is typcially to provide support to managers as they -- and there's two dimensions around this, I'm going to talk about this in a minute here. But there's helping managers understand and use their own strengths in their role as a manager, and the other piece is working with the strengths of their team, OK? So and typically we look at a strengths coach as somebody who spends a portion or a significant amount of their time providing developmental and performance conversations using CliftonStrengths to people inside the organization. Typically, it may be individuals, maybe managers, maybe leaders, maybe teams, right. And so as we think about this, different from a champion that we talked about last time, where it's more about promoting strengths and being a resource for strengths and building awareness, and generating participation in the organization. A strengths coach is more focused developmentally, and more concerned with the application of talents and strengths to performance objectives for the organization. So typically, for strengths coaches, what we recommend, and this is, man, I tell you, this is the most common question, we get it all the time. Typically, we recommend -- the common question is, how, how many strengths coaches should we have for our organization? Typically, we recommend a ratio of roughly one strengths coach for every 20 to 40 managers in an organization, right? Now, 20 to 40 is a big range, right? So one of the things you want to look at is you want to look at first of all, you'll notice that we're we're we're we're putting that ratio together based on the number of managers in the organization, not the number of individuals, because basically, what you're -- the strengths coaches are going to provide resources and coach managers; managers are going to coach individuals in the organization.

Dean Jones 8:53

So you want to think about the number of strengths coaches that you need, based on the number of managers you've got in the organization. The number of strengths coaches will vary, depending on the number of hours they actually can devote to coaching, so, and the frequency with which they're actually working with managers. So if you're a full-time coach and you've got the luxury of being able to do that, that's great. And, and for full-time coaches, you may need fewer coaches in the organization to make that work. If you're doing this as a part-time gig, you know, where you've got other responsibilities in the organization, and you're coaching people, you may need more coaches inside the organization. Rarely do we find that strengths coaches in an organization are 100% dedicated to this activity. I think sometimes there's some mischief around this, like we've talked to, to clients who assume that when we're talking about certifying strengths coaches, that somebody had to be 100% dedicated. Typically, internal coaches are not 100% dedicated to this activity; they have other responsibilities -- they're like "player coaches," right? So they've got a role in HR; they may have a role in organizational development; they may be a manager themselves, and are, you know, love strengths and have gotten certified around this. So they may have other responsibilities that they're working with around this. So um, yeah, Amy just said, I'm 20% dedicated. Yeah, that's, I would say that that kind of range -- somewhere between 20% and 50% is what we is what we see typically, that somebody is doing, right.

Dean Jones 10:24

And the other thing that it depends on, and we don't talk about this as much, but it's what's the frequency of need for the managers in the organizations? Rarely, rarely are you as a coach meeting with the managers you support weekly. You might at some point, but over time, it becomes more infrequent, where, you know, for instance, you're touching every manager once a month, right. And so you've got, you've got some time with them, either in an individual setting or a group setting, right. And you'll just like anything, you're going to have a range, right, you're gonna have managers there that are are going to get it and be dynamite and highly generative. You're going to get ones that are going to need lots of support, and lots of encouragement and lots of guidance, right. So in most cases, organizations start with a small number of strengths coaches that are distributed throughout the business divisions and HR. I would tell you, typically, there's like key stakeholders and the central organization that started to support that -- those are typically the first people that get certified as strengths coaches. Then the number grows, based on the need in the organization, the level of interest, and as the strengths movement kind of grows in the organization. So you see that happening -- typically, and I've said this last time is, typically when you begin launching strengths in an organization, the need is more for strengths champions than strengths coaches.

Dean Jones 11:41

So in the beginning, it's more about creating awareness, creating it at, you know, answering people's questions, helping people at the beginning, just kind of get connected to resources, promoting it, asking people to participate. So the beginning, it's all about the champions, right? And as momentum start to build, then people start people start taking CliftonStrengths, they start getting some basic strengths education, and then managers start using it with their teams. And and then that's where strengths coaches start to come in. Right is OK, help me understand more about how to use my strengths in my role; help me understand how to use this with my team. I always laugh because typically in organizations, you know, organizations are always concerned about how do we make this go viral, right? And so, how do we make sure that this happens? So, and you know, one of the answers is that we'll say like, typically, we want to make sure the leaders are bought in right? You know, the first thing in It's the Manager is make sure your CEO or senior leader is bought in to strengths in the organization, because it is a cultural shift for the for some organizations, right? May be very different than than where the where the, the the culture, the culture of the organization is now, Marta just made it Yay, go Marta! Sorry. So, yeah, and Judy, here, I'll get to your question here in just a second, OK? But, so it may be a cultural shift for the organization. So you want to make sure leaders are bought in, but typically, you're going to managers, and I always laugh, because, you know, when you work with managers, there's always two questions they ask. The first question they always ask is, Can my spouse do this? And then the second question they ask is, Hey, can my team do this? You know, and it's always in that order. It's never, it's never first the team and then the spouse, it's always the spouse first. It just always makes me laugh. So, you know, I'll be standing in front of the room at the end of the session, and people say, I've got a couple questions for you. And I know what's coming.

Dean Jones 13:40

So anyhow, so, I want to go to Judy's question here in chat, because it was a really good one. She said, "But can an outside an outside certified coach can provide both roles?" Yes, absolutely, right. So typically, I will tell you, and this is not to diminish it in any way, but typically, strengths champions don't know don't need the same level of depth of understanding developmentally about strengths as a strength coach does, right. Typically -- now sometimes you do see that they're very talent -- different talent sets, you know, people that are strengths champions love groups and people and being with people like like that kind of -- they're, they're the Jim Collisons of the world, right. You know, the, the people that are great strengths coaches often prefer that kind of one-on-one, I'm going to be with people. You know, like, I always think about Curt Liesveld, who, Curt, like, as much as he loved people, he liked them in, you know, in small doses, right? He liked the -- he liked to be with you, and just you or you and a couple others, right? His preferred thing was, he just loves to coach, right. And so he loved to be one on one with people. So to at the, at the ends of the spectrum, you get different kind of talents and different inclinations, right. But certainly, and you see it all the time, where certified coaches provide those roles. It's one of the reasons that as we were building our coaches training, that we made sure that there was like a PowerPoint to be able to do an information session. And it's one of the reasons that we started certifying coaches, to lead the CliftonStrengths Discovery training, because oftentimes, strengths coaches are also the champion for the organization. And they're also the people that are doing a lot of the development and training for people. So um, Jim, anything else about that?

Jim Collison 15:31

Dean, when we think about -- so if you're coming in, if you're coming in from the outside, should your -- should your priority be managers, first? Should you be trying to get the organization to buy on to additional coaches? Do you go right after the senior leaders? Is there a kind of a progression that that they can follow? Or does it kind of just depend on the organization and where strengths has rolled out in it, you know, to that point?

Dean Jones 15:57

Depends on the organization. You know, I have conversations with some of the coaches that I talk to on a regular basis. And, and -- on it, and, you know, typically people that are leaders in organizations want to be coached by somebody who's outside the organization. So, and I think I said this last time, typically, typically, it's challenging, oftentimes -- it's not always the case. So often, you know, sometimes there's a CEO who the head of HR is a real trusted adviser to them and, and could coach the CEO. But oftentimes, oftentimes in organizations, the executives of the organization want to be coached by somebody outside the organization. That's where an external coach really is very helpful for people, right. With managers in the organization. I think, you know, we know and I'm going to talk about this when I talk about the manager piece is, we know managers have a disproportionate impact on the culture of the organization. So having -- so working with managers, is a high leverage point for impacting the organization and impacting strengths in the organization. The other thing is, is that you often sometimes see strengths coaches who get in the middle of that manager relationship and get tangled up in it, right? So they're coaching an individual contributor, coaching a manager, and they get tangled up in the relationship. Again, I'm going to talk about that in a minute here. But I think that it I think the right, that over time, where you want to focus your energy and your efforts, whether you're an internal coach or an external coach, is making sure you got really strong managers, that really strong managers that that are in good shape around strengths. Right? And I think that's the that's the key piece, right? Yeah, you were gonna say something else.

Jim Collison 17:40

No, I was going to -- let's, I think let's, we've been dancing around it. Let's, let's move on to the manager.

Dean Jones 17:45

Yeah. So let, there's a couple things I want to say before we before we dig into managers here, OK? So, coaches -- where you start to see is that coaches provide a really essential role is with champions, with champions, they start the kind of the ball rolling, right. Then coaches kind of pick it up, and they start to be really helpful, as teams begin begin implementing strengths broadly. And because they help individuals and teams start to understand and invest in the development of their strengths. So a lot of -- at the beginning, what you see is a lot of talent identification, right. And so there's a lot of, "Oh, these are my talents." You know, "This is my, this is my strengths profile. These are my talents." There's a lot of orientation around that. A lot of talent identification, a lot, a lot of talent awareness, right. And what you see what you see strengths coaches being able to do is come in, then, deepen that awareness, build a deeper level of understanding, build a deeper level of awareness, start to build appreciation of different strengths inside the organization, and then start to really refocus that to application. Right.

Dean Jones 18:59

So the challenge you see sometimes, and you see this very, very commonly in strengths rollouts is things stall after everybody's done the assessment and had some basic education. Right? That's the thing, like, I will tell you 9 times out of 10, where people get stuck in organizations is they rolled out the tool, the instrument to everybody, right? So they thought that strengths was about the instrument. So they rolled out the instrument to everybody; they gave everybody some basic training; and then then everything stops, right. And they, they want to know what's next. That's where strengths coaches help people start to -- all you've really done at that point is talent identification. You haven't done strengths development; all you've done is talent identification. People know what their talent, what their talents are, you know, and the intensity of their the relative intensity of their talents compared to each other. Right? You haven't even started strengths development, right? This hasn't even become a developmental exercise yet. Boy, Friday morning, and I'm ranting.

Jim Collison 20:00

I like it. Preach it! Preach it!

Dean Jones 20:02

Yeah, exactly. It hasn't become a developmental exercise, right. So what you want -- that's and that's where coaches can be so helpful, is, that's where they deepen that awareness. It's like, you know, and we've talked about this so many times on on podcast it's where people may know their themes by one trait in the theme, by one pattern of behavior in the theme. So they don't have a very deep level of awareness of what the theme is, right. And they don't have any access. And this is where I think strengths coaches really need to get their ego into the work that they do is, is where you need a strengths coach is to learn how to develop your talents into strengths, right? You can read the report and know what your talents are, and you can recognize yourself in those. But how do I develop those into strengths? That's the job of a strengths coach, right. And that's, by the way, that's the way I would be, if I was a strengths coach. That's what I'd be -- selling myself, in my organization and to my clients, is to be able to say, is to be able to say, Hey, look, I can help in the organization, people develop their talents into legitimate strengths, that are being applied to the performance objectives of this organization, because that's my job. That's what strengths coaches do, right? They're also helpful as managers start to work to deepen this use of strengths of the team, and as the organization embeds strengths in their human capital processes.

Dean Jones 21:28

So one of the things that happens is, is you start to see typically, the kind of flow of what happens is, is, is people they roll out the tool, you know; managers get excited about it; they want their teams to have it, right. The next step really, oftentimes is helping managers to understand their own strengths. And the and to start to, you know, to what does their talent profile look like? How do I develop those strengths? How do I use those in my role as a manager? And then starting to look at, OK, how does this apply to the team? And that's usually typically the progression that tends to happen around that. It's happening also with, with leaders at the same time. Now the job of a leader is a little different; listen to the last podcast, we'll talk about that. And so, Donna had a question here. Jim, do you want to put that up? For for an external coach, what's your suggestion for the key elements for a follow-up proposal to a strengths discovery session? Yes, great. I think, Donna, I'm going to, I'm going to give you part of it now. And then I'll give you part of it at the end, I think, here's the piece I think is super important, right? You want to start to work with the managers in the organization. And my suggestion would be working with the managers one on one, and working with the teams, right. And so what you want to be doing and and what you want to be doing is getting those managers, there's kind of two levels of it, there's two levels of it: getting managers to understand and use their own strengths in their role; getting them to your strengths with their teams. Those are the kind of key components of it. And typically, what that turns into is, is coaching the managers, either one on one, or in cohorts. So you don't have to do all this work one on one; you can do small cohorts of managers where you're working with them. You can also do training with managers, right. The other thing you can do is facilitating team sessions. And so as managers get more facile with it, and want to start to work with their teams more, being able to do that, right?

Dean Jones 23:29

Two pieces I think you got to think about as you're setting up, as you start to put put strengths coaches in an organization, right? One is if is, if you're a strengths coach, you know, and you got a big organization, you're going to need lots of strengths coaches, right. So one of the things you got to think about is who should be a coach? And oftentimes, that's the conversation we get with clients is who should be a champion in this organization, who can be who should be a coach, right? And you got to start to think about, OK, how do people nominate themselves to be coaches? How do people nominate others? Typically, you want people that other people go to and trust, right? And just painfully, sometimes that's not HR, you know, sometimes, you know, people -- the instinct sometimes is we're going to make all the HR business partners in an organization strengths coaches, and sometimes that's not that they're not the the people that people immediately think of. A lot of times, it's other managers. You know, you know, you've got to listen to who are the -- where the people, places that people get coaching to be successful in their role? And where, specifically, where do the managers get coaching? You may want some kind of application process. So people apply to be able to do that. So you can sort that out. You know, like, I was talking to somebody earlier this week, and I said, you know, this is not an honorary title. It's not like you get a sash and a crown. Like, no, there's work you got to do, right? Anybody who's a strengths coach knows this is work, right? So this is not just like, I'm going to go get certified. And then I'll, you know, parade around, right? I'm like, No, you're, you know, that's when the work really begins. Right?

Dean Jones 25:09

So there's lots of work to do to get up under the development of people and their strengths in the organization, right? And then part of what you want to be able to know is, what's the impact of having those coaches, right. So you always want to be pointing to what is the impact in the organization? And, you know, and there's lots of lots of things that we know are associated with, with the impact of people doing strengths in organizations. There's higher levels of participation in employee programs; there's higher citizenship in the organization, higher retention, right, productivity goes up. There's lots of key metrics. And we've included those in the meta-analysis that we do around that. So we know that. The other piece you have to think about with coaches, and then we'll turn to managers here, but the other piece that you have to think about with coaches is, how are you going to develop coaches over time? So a lot of organizations, as they put together networks of coaches inside the organization, think about the initial certification, so we're going to train coaches; we're going to certify them; and then we're going to turn them loose, right? The problem is, is that you need, you know, anybody who's a strengths coach -- and I, you know, like, I, as I look at this chat, I see lots of seasoned strengths coaches -- knows that you're just learning all the time, you know, and part of your learning is, is the practice that you do, the reps that you get, right? But part of the learning that you do is the -- is things like Called to Coach, is the other kind of resources that we've got around that. I thought -- I brought, I brought some show-and-tell stuff today that I want to show you before as resources that I think are good that you may already have. But I want to make sure that I tell you about them before we leave.

Dean Jones 26:50

But part of this, you got to think about what is the what's the ongoing support that you're going to provide for your coaches. The other thing is, is you want coaches to make sure that they're getting together and sharing in an organization on a regular basis. So you want coaches, you want to be able to capture learning, you want to capture themes across the organization -- that's great information across it. You never want to betray anybody's confidence. You know, one of the things when when we're doing coaching inside of an organization, we always make sure that people know, we're never going to share anything that people have said specifically in the session, that what we tend to share is the themes that we're hearing. Right? And, and it's particularly telling when you have a group of coaches that are working across an organization and you can aggregate up the themes that you're hearing, because those tend to be things that are useful for leaders in the organization to be -- to know. So that's the on the coaching piece. Jim, anything you think I should say, or cover or anything before we go to -- ?

Jim Collison 27:47

I think we're going to cover this in the manager part, but how do you get on muscle memory and move managers from boss to coach?

Dean Jones 27:53

Um, yeah, I think I'm going to talk about this in the manager session. But I think that, you know, I think that's one of the really challenging things is that for a lot of managers, they, you know, I tell you, the thing that has surprised me over and over again is that a lot of managers don't see themselves in a developmental role. And so it's really interesting for me, that a lot of times that managers don't see, sounds funny, I'm thinking about people that I know that are not managers who want to be managers. And oftentimes, the thing that they want to be managers in order to do is develop people. But most of the people that I know that that are managers are, you know, at least outside of Gallup, you know, oftentimes don't see development as part of their role. And, in fact, they see, you know, it was interesting when we were doing some of the, the stakeholder interviews and some of the some of the research prior to building some of our manager programs, it's oftentimes they see that as somebody else's responsibility in the organization. I'm going to send people off to be coached and trained, right, as opposed to, hey, it's my job to coach and train, right.

Dean Jones 29:02

So the thing that we say is that is managers are the best coach for an employee. So the thing you got to know is just the absolute best performance coach for an employee is their manager. And that's the way it should be in an organization. And it can be hard for strengths coaches to hear that, because I think sometimes strengths coaches see their role inside of an organization as providing that kind of strengths coach, strengths coaching. And in fact, the best in the best case, what you see is, is the -- that managers are getting both strengths coaching and performance coaching from their manager, right. So they have this deep relationship with their manager, where they know their manager cares about them; they know that they experienced being known by their manager; where their manager understands their talents and their strengths, is working with them to develop their talents into strengths. And they're applying those strengths at towards meaningful performance objectives for the, for the organization. So that that is absolutely the best-case scenario. And then there's a strength coach who's supporting that manager around that, right.

Dean Jones 30:09

So coaching the manager, supporting the manager to make sure that the manager is really, really successful doing that. As I said before, the challenge you run into sometimes, and I just saw this in the last few months with a client organization, where strengths coaches can get kind of inadvertently tangled up in the relationship between the manager and the employee. And they they end up providing feedback and guidance that runs counter to how the the employee is being managed and developed. Right. So there's the managers providing one set of feedback; the strength coach is providing a different set of feedback; and they're not in sync. And the employee doesn't know how to make sense of it, right? You always got to have a head coach, right? You may get input and guidance from other people, but you always have to have somebody that's your head coach, and your manager really needs to be the head coach, right. Now, strengths coaches, it doesn't mean strengths coaches can't be a great source of resources for employees in an organization, can't be a great source of strengths feedback. So oftentimes, in organizations we'll deploy strengths coaches to go do one-on-one feedbacks to help people understand their strengths report, and to be able to make sense of it like that, and start that process going so that they can get conversant in the process. Doesn't mean that doesn't happen at all. But strengths coaches can and should be supporting managers and being aware of their own strengths, applying them in a role and using strengths with their teams. Right. So, and again, there's kind of two pieces of that, right? Um, yeah, Kira just said, I want to put up Kira'a quote here, you can tell all of a sudden, I started producing the show just a minute ago.

Jim Collison 31:50

Hold on, I'm waiting. I'm waiting for that quote to appear.

Dean Jones 31:54

Okay, yeah, go ahead. Sorry.

Jim Collison 31:55

There we go. There we go. About about 80% to 85% of our managers have gone through the LHPT [Leading High-Performance Teams course] in the past two years, has really helped reinforce the role of managers as key to developing employees.

Dean Jones 32:07

Yeah, the LHPT is our Leading High-Performance Teams course. It's our flagship course for managers. And man, if you're a strengths coach, that course makes your job super easy. Because, you know, really, what that core that that course is about is helping managers understand what is their role, you know, in an organization. And there's really three key things right: 1) to be able to develop people -- and obviously, we advocate for strengths based development -- 2) to be able to engage people, and then 3) to be able to manage their performance, right. So it really helps managers understand what their role is. And it gives them this appreciation for how to start to understand their own talents and strengths and apply them with their teams. So I want to keep talking about these both of these dimensions. And I want to make sure I want to formalize that in just a little bit, right.

Dean Jones 32:54

So there's really, when you're working with managers, as a strengths coach, you really want to work on two dimensions. One is, do they know their own talents and strengths? And two is, are they using it with their teams? In terms of knowing their own talents and strengths, part of the benefit of that for managers is they understand their own -- their own biases, and they -- they start to value differences in people. Sometimes you see, like, you know, there's a classic example of, you see a salesperson who's highly competitive that only wants to hire competitive people, right, and doesn't understand that there's multiple ways that you can produce a result, right? You find, you get engineers who are incredibly detail-oriented, they only want to hire detail-oriented people, right. And so you, you start to see managers that they start to understand, as they understand their own talent profile, they understand their own biases, they under -- they see the filter, they can see beyond that filter, that lens that their talent provides. And so as a result of that, they can own it, and they start to be able to be somebody that can then value the different contributions that people have. And that just makes you a better manager, right? I mean, it just makes you a better manager. And they, they then start to be able to use their talents and strengths intentionally in their role as a manager, to be able to own, OK, this is how I can really use my talents, you know, you get less locked into it has to be this way, or this is the right way to do it. That kind of stuff. And you start to have to be somebody where you see, OK, this is how I can intentionally start to use my talents and strengths around that.

Dean Jones 34:32

You know, I was thinking about, I was thinking about our session this morning, when I was when I was getting dressed. And I, you know, I was thinking about my own journey as a manager. And, you know, one of the things about me that's sort of interesting, I always thought it was a real people person. And then I saw my theme sequence, right? And I realized, like, I'm not so much a people person as an Influence person, right? Like, if you look at my Top 10, my Top 15 themes, I'm all Influence, right? I got one lonely little Relator at No. 5, right? You know, and that's hiding behind this big Woo, at No. 3, right. And then you gotta go way down at No. 15 before you hit Positivity. Like, like, you know, it's a long drop before you hit another Relationship theme, right. And it was always a challenge for me as a manager. And one of the things that really helped me and I got coached by a gentleman in our organization, it was Gail Muller. He's one of the, one of the great minds, he's no longer with us, but he was one of the great minds in our organization, I happened to be sitting next to him at a manager meeting. And we kind of were, I don't know, we were doing some exercises, we were looking at each other's strengths. And, and, and he turned to me, and he said, you know, looking at your strengths, you really got to lean into that Relator, you gotta, you gotta really focus on those one-on-one relationships. And man, it was one of the key key strategies for success that helped me as a manager to really be successful, was to really lean into lean into that, right, so really started to understand that.

Dean Jones 36:07

So we also know that one of the great characteristics of great managers is when they individualize that they know how to tailor employees, job responsibilities, assignments, feedback, coaching and recognition, uniquely, to the talents, strengths and personality of the employee. Right. And so this ability to individualize is we know that really the hallmark, and sometimes I think people get that confused with the theme Individualization there's different ways. So there's the talent theme, Individualization, but then there's the skill around being able to individualize that managers have. And if you've got Individualization you can apply that talent to it. But there's a lot of other talents that people use to individualize. Right. I've seen a lot of managers use their Strategic talent, be able to do that, right. I've seen managers use their include her to be able to do that, right. So there's lots of other themes that people apply to this responsibility to be able to individualize in the way that they work with people on their team, right. And it's one of the key attributes that we know of great managers in the as they start to apply that to their team, right? So it's thinking about how do I how am I going to shape that employees responsibilities, that their assignments, their feedback, their coaching, the way we recognize them uniquely, to their talents, their strengths, their likes, their dislikes, right? Using strengths is a way that managers who may or may not be well equipped to individualize can start to determine the way the best way to individualize. So there's lots of managers who don't, I would say, just flat out don't know that they should be individualized. Right? Or that that's, that's what great managers do.

Dean Jones 38:00

Some of them that you run into, I shouldn't chuckle but there's some of you run into who are I would say, are sort of adamantly opposed to individualized thing, right? You know, that super high inconsistency and think everything should be exactly the same. And super fair. You know, I always think my mother who I am convinced she never did strange, but I'm convinced she led with a ton of consistency. Because she and my three siblings, she made sure my me and my three siblings had everything perfectly equal. You know, and so, you know, it's, it's really, if you, if you use strengths, strengths, then becomes the, the tool where managers can start to individualize in really meaningful ways, strengths, and allows them to be able to start a conversation around individualization. Hey, I see you, I see that you have this or I see that you're this way, or I see this talent in you. Donna asked, Do managers with high consistency have a challenge with this? Yes, sometimes they do. Yes. Sometimes that's that, because their tendency sometimes is is to not want to individualize or to be concerned with that sometimes you see that right now that not every case, it you know, it's the degree to which it consistency as high as also the degree to which that, that they they they can see that thing I was talking about earlier, Donna, that that the degree to which that they own their own consistency and can see it's that their, it's their own bias, right.

Jim Collison 39:26

Dean, sometimes in management consistency is easier, because it sets all the rules, and it's like, just follow these rules. And right, it's it, there are some I think there are some organizations and I think about maybe some of our government work, where it's required. And you have to both be consistent. And individualized. We talked about, we just did the Thursday consistency. Yesterday, we did a bunch of talking about this. And as we think about the manager, you don't really as a manager, you don't really and this is why they they need coaching, because you don't get the option to do one or the other, you have to do both. You have to be both great at fairness and consistency and predictability in your management. This is where I struggled when I was managers being Yeah, being predictable. And then also individualized and caring and knowing the needs of those employees and what they need, right. This is why managers being so close to the employees makes them the best coach, they should know these things. Right? They and this is where you know -- it, again, we talked about the Relator bit, if you're just going to dictate orders or manage processes, you're probably not a manager, just to be completely honest there.

Dean Jones 40:36

Yeah, it's just not there. And to your point, I love what you said, Jim, because that Individualization has to be against a background of systems and process. So it can't be -- there's got to be structure in the organization, can't be all Individualization, right? Or people do really feel like it's unfair, people really do feel like everything's arbitrary. And what happens is, is your top performers will leave, right. And it's an those systems and processes and structures have to be rooted in shared values and a shared philosophy for the organization. So it's can't be individualization. And it's all individualization all day, right? It's got to be Against this background of a structure systems and process, and then rooted in, in values and philosophy. And we'll we can talk more about that on a future podcast, if that's of interest to people. Um, the other thing that springs to do so my point here is, is that is that that I think strengths is oftentimes kind of the cheat sheet for managers who may not be disposed to individualize. Right. So in that allows them to start the conversation, it also gives them a positive common language to discuss individual differences. One of the challenges and you see this now, we're just talking about this yesterday, every organization in the world is concerned about diversity and inclusion right now. I mean, every organization is grappling with it, it is the hottest topic in workplace culture. And part of the challenges is that a lot of managers don't have a vocabulary that's respectful and positive, to talk about individual differences in a way that's productive, right? Strengths gives them that vocabulary, right? It allows people to talk about how you're unique, and I'm unique in a way that's respectful in a way that's positive, in a way that's shared so that we can talk about how do we harness those individual differences, we want to it, we don't want everybody to do the same, we want to capture that diversity and apply it to building a better workplace culture, right.

Dean Jones 42:30

And so strengths allows people to be able to do that. It also and I tell you, this is a big thing for managers. And it was one of the things that I that I that I that I guess I'd forgotten, right. And I thought, again, when I was putting together the notes for for today is that a lot of managers are in a mystery about what's motivating individual behavior and team behavior. A lot of managers just can't figure it out, right. And there, and it provides understanding and insight into what might be motivated individual behavior and team behavior there. It's horrible to tell a story, but there's a woman I managed early my time at Gallup, and she would get so upset. And she was she was she absolutely wanted that my approval, she would get so upset if she didn't have my approval for some reason, or, you know, she just gets so concerned, right. And one of the things is that when i when i that one of the things I discovered is she's really high significance. And so I was really important to her. So my approval was really important to her. At the on the one hand, she needed autonomy to be able to do a work, but at the same time, she wanted to make sure that the people that she respected most, she felt like she had their respect and access to them. And, and, and approval from them. You know, and when that happened, man, I tell you, it changed everything, it First of all, I started to understand, like how to work with her in a way that was really productive. And were to keep her from feeling derailed, from time to time. And, and also to really support her to do really her best work, because she's really talented, talented human being. So like that, that you mentioned this earlier, Jim, the problem sometimes with managers is they haven't established a coaching relationship with people. So sometimes what happens in the organization to introduce strengths -- it is a new expectation for managers, right? So all of a sudden, you know, on Tuesday, I was just bossing people around, right? And then we introduced strengths on Wednesday, and all of a sudden, Thursday, I'm supposed to be everybody's coach.

Dean Jones 44:34

You know, and it's like, what what gives? You know, like, this is crazy town. Right? So, you know, like, so people, so managers get thrown by it, right. And they also have an established relationship with people to be able to coach them. So if they roll right in and start coaching people, right, they, that it's weird for them, it's weird for the people that are managing, right. So you really have to help people that you have to help managers transition from being people who give assignments provide direction, make decisions, yet, you know, that, that that kind of traditional kind of boss role. And there's times by the way, we, you know, we I think as we talked about this, there's times you need a boss, right? When there's an emergency, you want somebody who's going to give people assignments provide direction, and and Krakoff decisions, right. But in day to day work, you know, the culture of our workplaces changed significantly, so that people really expect that their manager is going to be able to be their coach, the piece that managers have to transition to is know is, is empowering the employees, they manage to own their own work, and to create that, that relationship of trust with them. So they're comfortable trust trusting them, right. So you guys all know the strengths coaches, but a lot of managers don't know this, right? You can only coach into a foundation of relationship that you've established. So the first piece is you have to establish a foundation relationship. So a lot of the transition from boss to coach is helping managers establish a foundation of relationship with the people that they manage, right, that gives you that provides the trust, and it also starts to open up permission to coach somebody. Right? So typically, what we suggest, or what we would recommend to managers is they start to build that relationship by sitting down one-on-one with people and starting to ask really good questions, asking really, really, really good questions and listening to the answers, right.

Dean Jones 46:43

And the tips I typically give people that I give managers around it is one is you want to prepare what questions you're going to ask. So you want to think about that person, prepare what questions you're going to ask, you always want to make sure you ask permission to ask question. It sounds like an obvious thing. But you know, you don't want to sit down and just start interrogating somebody; you want to get you want to help them understand, like, hey, I'd like to get to know you better. You know, as your manager, I want to be able to support your work, I want you to be able to fully own your work. And I want to be able to make sure you're fully engaged and fully self expressed in the work you're doing. So I wanted to find I wanted to ask you some questions. So I found out more about about you. And so I can I can help you with that, right? A big piece is to be able to listen without comment, right, is to be able to listen and not comment on people's answers to stuff. So she asked people questions is to be able to listen, I encourage people to take notes. And note taking is super powerful, you know, really, really, really useful for people, but to listen, take notes, don't comment on the answers, just just get the answers right. And be aware of your influence as a manager. So I you know, in a lot of cases, people want to please their managers. And, you know, most of us, you know, if you if you, if you didn't know anything about developmental psychology, we're just going through life recreating our family of origin, right? You're my mother, you're my father, like Chinatown, you're my mother, my sister, my mother, my sister, you're gonna meet my mother, my father, my sibling, you know, like that we're, we're all just kind of recreating our family of origin as we as we roll through life, right?

Dean Jones 48:26

So, you know, people are want to please you, right? And they want to like what you like, and like that. And you have to be aware of your influence, so that you're giving people permission to be themselves and encouraging people to be themselves. One of the tools that we sell on our online store, is this tool. A lot of times, I can't see myself, can you guys see this? This is called, I'm gonna blow it out. So there, hey, great. This is the Individual Conversations guide. OK. So this is a tool that we include in the Leading High Performance Teams course, it is, it's designed. So you have if you're a manager, you have one guide, one of these guys for each person that you manage, right? And so your work your way through one guide with each person, right? And we often recommend that people do this as part of an onboarding process with people around this so that the manager does this.

Dean Jones 49:19

For a lot of managers, they don't know what questions to ask. Right? So I would say some great questions are things like, what do you think your strengths are? And sometimes that's even better before taking people taking CliftonStrengths? Because they're not giving you a pat answer. They tell you, here's what i think i'm really strong at, right? How would you describe yourself? Tell me about your best day at work? What do you paid to do? Or how do you what do you think you contribute to our organization and to our team? When when do you feel your job is important? in what situations? Do you feel like you feel like your job is important, you're making a real significant contribution to us? What do you want to accomplish over the next six months? What's your biggest challenge at work? So these are all kind of kind of questions that are found in this guide. It's super useful, because the manager doesn't have to pick up the questions, right? And it's designed, I'll say, this guy, it's got 30 questions in it. They're divided in three categories. They show the questions, but they also show what to listen for in the answers, right. And there's space to take notes and like that, we sell them in packs of 10. I think this is super useful tool, right? For helping managers be able to know as they talk with people, what questions to ask and how to be able to ask those questions. Typically, most managers are not going to ask all 30 questions in a session, you'll probably get through, if you're good, you'll get through three or four, you know, in an hour, you know, you know, and but what's cool about it is, is you can work your way through this in a series of meetings over time, and then refer back to it. So that you know, so that you you know, as you as you're thinking about that person, you're going to prepare for one on one with that person. You've got it all documented here, so you can go back to it. So I think that's a super useful tool. OK. I know we're at the end of the hour. I want to as long as I'm talking tools, I want to talk about two more things, OK? Jim, is that OK?

Jim Collison 51:12

Yeah. Sounds good. Let's do it.

Dean Jones 51:14

One is we recently updated this document. OK. This is called the CliftonStrengths Resource Guide for managers. I don't think most people know that. We just updated it. And it's like, right now, I think it's only $20 on the store. And it's probably the price will probably go up at some point, right? So get them while they're hot, right?

Jim Collison 51:33

Even better. It's $15 right now, but I do know they are getting ready to raise that price. So you might want to pick them up.

Dean Jones 51:38

Yeah, it's this. This thing is nuts. OK. So this is this is for every theme. It's got, it's got a section on every single theme. super useful. It's designed for managers, right? So it's designed to be a manager resource. But super useful tool, right? So this is one that I really highly encourage people to, I really highly encourage people to, to get because it's super, super, super useful, right? If you bought it to someone, it's more likely yet, it's most likely, it's the current version, that I will tell you the old version wasn't as long the current version is 70, 75 pages. So if you got the 75 page version, you got the new version, right? super useful. The other one is this. And you can only get this as part of the Leading Performance Teams Kit. And so I don't mean to like, I don't mean to just tell you about something that's super expensive, right. But I but I want you to know about this, this, I consider this the best manager tool we've ever built. This is called the managing for engagement resource guide. It's in the Leading High Performance Teams Kit. It is a dynamite. It is a dynamite tool. It goes through every one of the strengths, every one of the strengths, themes, talent themes, and talks about how you as a manager can use it for yourself, how you can use with your teams, then it goes through each one of the 12, the Q12 elements, those 12 elements of engagement, and talks about how you can work with your team around it. Like we've this, this resource is unbelievable. I think it's one of the best kept secrets of Gallup. We don't sell it individually, at least not not right now. It's only available through the leading high performance teams kit. But this is also a great manager resource. So I want to mention those things because I think they're super useful. The other one that you guys all have I don't I don't have it to show up show. But yeah, and digital, digital is coming. We have digital, we just we just don't sell it yet in an ecommerce way. But we've got it. And so and it'll be available.

Jim Collison 53:44

Pretty, pretty quick. This change to Gallup Access and all the backend stuff the that will allow us to do a lot more digital selling to you. So that's coming up with this change. A lot of people have been asking us, why are you moving? Why this big push to Access? It really allows us to do some digital store stuff now that we couldn't do before on the GSC.

Dean Jones 54:03

Perfect. So that's it. That's it -- 4 critical roles in a strengths rollout: leader, strengths champion, strengths coach and manager. And each of those roles is different. And they're they're critical in different ways and at different times. And you need to as you're -- as you're thinking strategically about how you're going to roll out strengths in an organization. But you want to be thinking about, OK, how am I -- who's going to play those roles? How are we going to how are we going to plug those into this process, hopefully the last session and this session are useful in terms of being able to think about that and be able to set people up for success around it. So that's it, Jim.

Jim Collison 54:43

All right, Dean, that's awesome. Good work, two-part series. If you're just listening to this, and you only caught the second part here, go back to the channel, you can get it in the Called to Coach playlist that's available on any podcast player. If you go out there and subscribe to the podcast, you can go to our YouTube channel, just search Gallup Strengths Center on YouTube and we have a playlist -- Dean has his own playlist, by the way, literally 10s of hours. I know that doesn't sound as impressive but we probably have you 40 hours, Dean, of of learning that's available if you're not currently watching that. And while you're there, subscribe to all those things so you get notified when we produce new content -- very, very valuable. We're getting some great feedback in the chat room as well. And so with that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available at the Gallup Strengths Center. Soon, on September 20, that'll be moving to Gallup Access and so all those resources will be -- will be moving. You really need to do nothing if you go to the Gallup Strengths Center, you'll just be redirected to our our new Access site, be able to log in just like you do with the Strengths Center. Those resources will be available for you there as well. If you have any questions, contact us in an email; send it to, great way to do that. And don't forget to view our Coaches Blog, this is changing as well, but for today, In the future, we'll be at So got some great new materials, great refresh on on that; it's all available there. Dean mentioned the courses --we have a Boss to Coach course; we have a LHPT course; a certified -- an ASC course for our certified coaches. Those are all available on our coach -- on our courses page, And if you want to follow all our webcasts, go to and you can sign up there to be notified whenever we have something new. I want to thank you for joining us today. Thank the live audience for being on here, some great questions. We'll be back again with another Called to Coach and that, we'll say Goodbye, everybody.

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

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