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Next-Level Strengths Coaching for People, Organizations

Next-Level Strengths Coaching for People, Organizations

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 7, Episode 50
  • Listen as Dean Jones defines and amplifies "next-level" CliftonStrengths coaching for individuals and organizations, and the profound impact this can have.

Dean Jones, Senior Learning Expert at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. Following up on a recent AMA ("ask me anything") webcast, Dean answered a coach's question on the meaning and implications of "next-level" coaching for both individuals and organizations. Dean shared how important it is that coaches be developing themselves within their own strengths before they seek to coach others.

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

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on December 13, 2019.

Jim Collison 0:20

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 teams, individuals and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room. It's available for you -- there's a link on the live page right above us there on the video. If you can't do that, or it's after the fact or you're listening to the recording, you can always send us an email: Dean Jones is our host today. Dean's a Senior Learning Expert here at Gallup and Dean it's always great to have you. These are some of my favorite Called to Coaches. Welcome back.

Dean Jones 0:55

Thank you. Thanks for thanks for having me here today.

Jim Collison 0:57

It's always good to have you we spent the last Called to Coach with you in an AMA [ask me anything] forum. We took questions from Facebook, and we got a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of great questions that came in. We spent the last session, which actually got a lot of great feedback. So if you're listening to this, and you haven't listened to the last session with Dean, you can find that in our Called to Coach playlist. Actually, Dean has his own playlist on YouTube. So if you go to our YouTube channel,, and then search "CliftonStrengths," and there's a playlist with Dean there, you can get that as well there.

Jim Collison 1:27

Dean, we didn't have enough time to answer all the questions, and we had some really great ones. And so we're going to spend today covering some of those questions, as well as maybe taking some -- if we have time -- maybe taking some questions that we get from the chat room. So if you're listening live right now, you can still influence our discussion. You can still get your question and we'll be taking those as we're here for the next 45 minutes or so. But Dean, as you think about some of the questions that we had from last time, where do you want to start? Where do you want to come back to?

Dean Jones 1:56

Yeah, I think -- I'm laughing Jim because I think doing Called to Coach the morning after all the holiday parties was probably a talent assessment in and of itself, right?

Jim Collison 2:07

You're being judged right now.

Dean Jones 2:08

Or maybe just -- maybe just an intelligence test, right?

Jim Collison 2:11

Or maybe I should watch for that as the scheduler. Maybe I should watch for that next time and block it out, so it doesn't ... .

Dean Jones 2:19

Sso yeah, Jim, we did get a lot of really, really, really great feedback. And and we we got a lot of great questions. And it was one of those things where I think we covered as many as we could but -- so here's the thing I thought we'd do is we kind of dive dive right in to these. Because there were three or four that we didn't get to last time. And then -- this sounds horrible, but -- I saw one in the, I think it was in the certified coaches group, I saw a question that I thought was cool and wanted to weigh in on even though nobody asked me.

Dean Jones 2:50

So I thought I'd start with a one from Heather Erickson and Heather, Heather had posted this last time and she talked about next-level coaching, right, she said she'd like to have especially next-level coaching with people who are familiar with strengths. And I thought that was a great question. I think we kind of we just, we glanced at it last time right at the end, right, as we were trying to get through stuff. But I'd like to actually start with that one, because I think, it's because I think that there's a lot there for people. Right. So I get this asked this question a lot like, What's next-level coaching? And I would tell you, you know, I think, I think there's a clear turning point in your coaching with people that it's almost like before and after -- B.C., A.D., right. Like, there's a there's a there's a piece where the coaching I think turns with people, right? And I think it's super important.

Dean Jones 3:51

I think as as, as experienced coaches, most of you would say, the first part is all about creating awareness. Right. So all of it is is, Do I understand what my talent themes are? Am I Am I clear about all that? Am I helping that person become aware of their talent themes? And self-awareness is like the, you know, is the whole goal, right? So, sometimes people get hung up because the whole process of turning your -- of developing your talents into strengths is a is a self-awareness process, right?

Dean Jones 4:22

So, but there's a point where one becomes aware of my strengths, and I always like to talk about it on two levels, right? From me to my strengths from my, you know, from my strengths to my life, from my life to my strengths, right? So do I see my strengths in my life? From my life can I see, can I extrapolate from my strengths from my life, right? So in other words, I want to say a little bit more about that. I've talked about this before, so I've talked about this on previous podcasts, but can, if if you say Hey, Dean, your Activator No. 1, right, which I am, right, where do you see your Activator in your life? I can go out and I can point to it. And I can say, Yep, I'm aware of those places right?

Dean Jones 5:03

Now, if you say, hey, look, let's look at yesterday, and your behavior and your decisions and your thought patterns and yesterday, now, let's work backwards. The ladder, working backwards from your life is harder, right? But more powerful for people because they start to see how their whole life is given by their strengths. Their, that that really that thing that we talk about, we talk about in a very, like, I would say, very high-level way in our CliftonStrengths Discovery course where we say, you see the world through the filter of your talents, right? Really, your life is given by all of your talents.

Dean Jones 5:38

And I think, so there's that first part where you're learning to understand what your strengths are, you're building your awareness with them. And I think on some level, you're learning to appreciate them. You sort of fall in love with your talents. And I think for some people, they fall in love, and they say, Yeah, but -- I wish I was, I still wish I was all these other things. Or yeah, but can I still have all those other ones? Right? And there's a maturity that develops over time where you say, yeah, I'm really these things. And in fact, that's what I contribute. And I'm going to get my ego into contributing all these things. Right.

Dean Jones 6:14

So I think there's an early kind of awareness stage, where you're really building awareness and helping become -- people become aware of my strengths, aware of your strengths, so and aware of how they interact together. There's a lot of that kind of stuff. Right. And the challenge, I think, is for a lot of people, and particularly in a lot of organizations, that sometimes you talk to people and they think that's all strengths development is. It's the funniest thing for me, they're like, Oh, yeah, we, you know, we've, we and we do activities, and we learn about strengths and, and they think that's all the all that strengths development is. And that's really just the, the first mile of really develop your strengths.

Dean Jones 6:56

I think there's a piece where -- and and you see it, particularly when you coach people -- where people make an intentional decision that they're going to focus on their strengths. So I think there's a piece where people decide, hey, this is really who I am. And I'm really going to invest in these strengths. This is really where I'm at, and I'm going to let go of that other stuff. And it's a big self-awareness milestone for people. It's a big self-awareness milestone. And sometimes it comes early, and sometimes it comes late; doesn't matter when it comes. Right. Sometimes, for some people, they never, they never get there. Right. And, but, and I, but there's a point where people really start to embrace their strengths and say, This is who I am, this is what I'm going to contribute.

Dean Jones 7:37

And when you do that, and you start to say, I'm going to let go of the things that I'm not so good at. I'm going to let go of those talents that I don't have. And I'm really going to get my ego, I'm really going to get into the stuff that I've got -- I think that's a turning point. And so, Heather, when you talk about next-level coaching, I'm talking about everything that comes after that point, right? And it starts to really be about application. How am I developing my strengths and applying them in meaningful ways to make a contribution to others? How am I taking my talents and strengths and applying them against the things that are my goals and objectives? And ultimately, I would say, the contribution that my life is about, right? Like, who am I as a contribution? And how do I start to do that? And that's really where the development comes.

Dean Jones 8:32

I think it's why, by the way, people "peter out" on strength sometimes. Like you see in organizations, it's like it kind of like strengths kind of "peters out." Right. And it's because we all did strengths. We all had the conversations about, Oh, you're Activator. Oh, I'm Deliberative. Oh, ha, ha, ha, ha. You know what I mean, we all have it -- we've had all those conversations, right. And, and there's things, there's insights that we have and like that, but there's a point where, like, awareness isn't enough. Right. Appreciating each other's strengths is not enough, you know. The point where it starts to really be valuable is when we're using our talents and strengths as a tool to be able to, to really, to really accomplish something, and to really contribute to others.

Dean Jones 9:17

So there's a piece where that becomes very, very, very meaningful. And the thing that's exciting about that is that's really, where strengths-based development starts. You know, there's a lot of learning that happens, and I don't want to diminish it at all, inside of this kind of like, building awareness stuff, right? But when you start, you start being up against -- when you start being up against a goal or an outcome. When you start being up against making something happen, right. it causes you to see, OK, it causes you to think, like, how am I really going to use my talents in strengths to accomplish this, and what support do I need? And what partnerships do I need? And where are my deficits? Right?

Dean Jones 9:59

And there's a whole world of development that really gets unlocked when that happens. So, and that's honestly, really where I need a strengths coach. The part before is a lot of education. And I think it's why for a lot of strengths coaches, they do a lot of trainings, right? They do a lot of workshops and like that, because the early part is all about, there's a lot of education and getting into the world of strengths. But once you're there, right, the question is, what am I going to do with it?

Dean Jones 10:27

And you see some, for some people, it's a very intentional, specific decision. Hey, yes, this is it. For some people, man, I tell you, I tell you, for me, it was hard. There were areas where I didn't want to let go of my weaknesses. You know, I wanted to be -- I still wanted to claim that stuff. And and there are times when it was like it took me a while to be able to say, you know what, I gotta let go of this and really focus on the stuff that is powerful for me, right? But then when you do that, you really start to see -- and and that's where I need a coach. That's I need somebody who knows my talents, knows my strengths, and is going to really coach me to be able to do that. And I think that's really a powerful thing, you know.

Jim Collison 11:08

Dean, we've been spending a lot of time on Theme Thursday talking just about this, you know, Theme Thursday could tend to be an exercise in just in just the discovery process, right, of just this self-awareness process. And Maika, as a coach, has really stepped in at times and the examples have been through me, which has been awesome. I've been the beneficiary of this great coaching. And even, you know, we're 5 seasons in and this year, I had a big breakthrough on how my Maximizer actually works. And it was that the discovery of that that really allowed me to push forward on some very successful things that we're planning for 2020 to your point where I had, I had delegated some things that I should have kept because I, I'm good at those things.

Jim Collison 11:54

And so pulling those things back in and pushing forward and then redelegating some things I really wasn't good at -- I liked but I knew others could do them much, much better. And, you know, like some of the strategic planning, some of the long-range forecasting and thinking, like that's just not -- I'm "in the day," right? And so to partner with somebody and say, Hey, doing that, that has changed. That's the success factor. Right? That's a changing my mind on letting go of some things -- just like you're saying -- letting go of some things I thought I should be doing. No, give them to someone else. And we are off to the races on 2020. And it's going to -- looks like it'll probably be the most successful year we have. I guess the time will determine that, but it is already looking like we're way ahead.

Jim Collison 12:41

You know, I remember when you and I first started working together on these and you're like, Hey, can you get 90 days out? And I was like, Oh, I think so. You know, just kind of ... now we're 9 months out in a lot of our planning, right, because I gave up those pieces and then focused on the day-to-day Activator action, getting things rolling, influencing people to sign up, right? So I do think those, there's a little tendency sometimes to get stuck in that discovery mode. And I think it's really, really important. But we got to move to that next OK, what's the actions associated with it? And it's taken me a couple years to get there, right? I mean, it's not, sometimes do you think people think that should be an instant -- Hey, in the next 3 weeks, we should have this nailed down? I think sometimes it takes a while. Right?

Dean Jones 13:22

Yeah, absolutely. And I think -- I love you, know, just kind of you're kind of sharing your development journey. And what you're saying is what you hear when you coach people around us, right? Is it's it's almost like a cliche, it's almost a cliche of soaring with your strengths. But when you are willing to give up those things that you are not good at, right, those things that are not talents and strengths of yours. And sometimes it's hard to distinguish, and I will I will really give you this: Sometimes it's hard to distinguish, Hey, do I do I have talent in this area and I just haven't developed my talent in this area? Or do I just really not have talent in this area? Right? So sometimes distinguishing between that can be hard for people, right?

Dean Jones 14:03

And but when you do, the thing that's so interesting is what you see is, you really see that what you end up happening is letting go of the friction. So you really see people just using their strengths and, and producing and performing at really, really, really high levels, because they've really embraced what works, but they're just doing more and more and more of what works about you. You know, and the more you exercise that muscle, the better you get at it. And so it's incredibly powerful. You know, it's an interesting thing.

Dean Jones 14:37

We've all had this situation, so we can spend all day kind of sharing but, you know, one of the things that happened midyear this year was I was looking with my boss at Gallup, right, my coach at Gallup. And the gentleman that I that I report to and we were looking at the parts of my job and, you know, like really I you know, I love doing stuff, right? And we're gonna talk about Responsibility here in a minute. I'm got Responsibility No. 7, right? So I'm like, you know, I'm like the poster child for some of that sometimes. And so I don't like to give up stuff. I'm like, I'm like, "More, please!" And so, but like, I was really looking and said, Gosh, you know, I don't think I'm adding really world-class value in this part of my job. And I think I should give it up and focus on these other areas. Right?

Dean Jones 15:20

And I will say, that was a maturity moment for me, right? Where I could say, Hey, look, I'm really looking at this and looking at it and you know, inside of my own development journey. By the way, I think I'm going to be a little "meta" here for a minute. But listen, if you as a coach are not developing yourself inside of your strengths, you got nothing to say to anybody else. Right? I mean, that sounds so harsh. I don't mean it as harsh, but the -- you really like it like we it's it, you know, we've said it before, and it's almost become a cliche, but one is, Every coach needs to be on their own development journey. And you need to be always working on developing your talents into strengths and discovering what's next in your own development. So you always need to be putting yourself in development and, and needing a coach. Right.

Dean Jones 16:09

So I have a coach I talk to -- actually have a coach that doesn't work a Gallup that I talk to she, she's an executive coach in Southern California. She's phenomenal. And, and I, I talk to her every other week. I really highly encourage everybody, you need a coach, right? And to be able to support you inside your development journey. So that's a that's a really important thing, I think when you're, when you're doing that, then it gives you -- it becomes it when you're, you're on the hook like that, then it's when -- Amy just said I need to walk the walk. Yeah. You got to walk the talk on this, right. You got to be somebody that is actually actually doing it in that way.

Jim Collison 16:51

Well, and Dean, for me, it would be easy now in the webcast world for 7 years doing this to feel like I can't be vulnerable and saying a story where I'm like, Hey, I'm 5 seasons and 6 years into this Theme Thursday and I'm having discoveries this year. Like, and I think as leaders, sometimes we feel like we can't have those -- we can't have those discovery moments or those vulnerable moments to say, No, I'm still learning, which, which I think our -- when we think about being leaders or being coaches, that I think that vulnerability was what draws people to you, as opposed to pushes them away, right?

Dean Jones 17:28

Yeah, I also think too -- yes. 100%. And I also think, you know, there's times when I'm like, why does development have to be so hard? Why can't it be just like, I wake up one morning and I was struggling inside, I see God, you know, like, like, you know what I mean? Like, why does it have to be so hard? Why does it always feel like I'm, I have to work through something, right. But I think that but it is the working through something that also gives you empathy for people you're coaching as they're working through stuff, because you got compassion for what it takes to be able to be able to develop, right, and to really to to unconceal those blind spots and really be responsible for something you don't want to be responsible for, or make a tough decision.

Dean Jones 18:12

I want to go to -- this is the one -- there's a comment by Jabiel John, I think it was in the Certified Coaches group. Right. And John didn't ask me this question; I just wanted to weigh in on it. So I read it, and I thought, I'd like to talk about that. So I'm gonna read the, I'm going to read John's comment. I thought it was a really good one. John said, I'm struggling a bit with getting certain folks to prioritize themselves over their work. I have a couple people I work with who are high Achiever/Responsibility. And I'm finding that despite being initially invested, it's now a secondary priority for them. I simply cannot understand this. John, I'm sorry, I'm not laughing at you; I'm laughing with you, right. I simply cannot understand this. I have Connectedness and Maximizer in my Top 5. But I can also roll the punches as Adaptability is in my Top 5 as well. Of course, of course you can, right? Fortunately, I work within a company so it's not impacting my livelihood directly. But I really want to figure out how to get folks to hold still. To be clear, it's not about demonstrating value quantitatively -- I assume he's talking about of coaching, right -- it's literally about getting them to hold still and recognize the short-term investment in the space has long-term gains. Right. And then he adds, and then "imposter syndrome." Yeah. You know what I mean, like, should I be doing this at all? You know what I mean? Am I really just an imposter pretending to be a coach? Yeah.

Dean Jones 19:36

I think, John so one is, I think that -- what I loved about your -- first of all, thank you for your post, cause I thought it was great. And it was like -- Jim, you were just saying -- it's one of those really great vulnerable posts, posts that you can post in our Certified Coaches group, right, to be able to say, Hey, here's what I'm dealing with. And I always think those are the best posts, right? You know, I'm you know, like, like, you know, Where's this worksheet? You know, what activity can I do? I, those are all those posts, but I love it when people are sharing, hey, here's what I'm dealing with as a coach, right? I always think those are the kind of cool and most meaningful and where the support is really, really great.

Dean Jones 19:37

And so one of the things I love, John, about your post, first of all is, one is the thing I can deal with that I can really relate to, and I think all of us relate to, is one of the things that as a coach you have to be able to, to manage is your own talents, right? You see the lens -- the world through your own lens. So you have Connectedness, Maximizer, Adaptability in your Top 5; of course you're going to see the world through that lens, right? And the more you can distinguish that for yourself, the more it becomes transparent. So I want to talk about that for a minute. This is why you work on understanding and becoming aware of your own strengths, right, your own talent profile is so that it becomes transparent. So you're not stopped by it. Right? It's like when you're judging people through the lens of your strengths, that is not helpful as a coach. You know what I mean?

Dean Jones 21:12

It's just, you know, it's just what so, right. It's like, you know, I am, you know, like I'm Focus No. 2, I'm like, "They should set goals. Right? They should have priorities!" Yeah, that -- not not helpful, right. It's something I can contribute, because I see the value of that. But I also have to know, that's also the way I'm wired. And the more I see how I'm used by that, the more it becomes transparent so I can see and honor the expression of other talents.

Dean Jones 21:40

So this is one of the reasons our theme today is, as coaches develop yourself, right? One of the things that is, is super important is that you are really, really, really aware of how used you are by your own talents and strengths. Because until you -- that awareness is perfectly correlated with your ability to move past that or to, to, it becomes transparent so you can see beyond it, so that you can really honor other expressions of talent and the difficulty people have around that. Right. And, John, I see that's exactly what you're doing. And you got -- you're right on the, what's so wonderful about your post is, is you can see, Oh, yeah, I looked through my lens. I don't see that. Right. And that's part of what you're saying in that in that post: Hey, I'm, I look through this lens, man, that's not an issue for me. And I, you know, I'm having trouble here. Right, you know.

Dean Jones 22:38

The other piece of it is we know that people that are high, particularly high Responsibility, and people that lead with a lot of Responsibility, I don't want to generalize, but oftentimes have boundary issues. Right. And, you know, it's fun to be around people with high Responsibility -- I have Responsibility No. 7 -- because they do everything for you. These are people without boundaries, right? So oftentimes, and I, you know, I remember years ago, there's this wonderful, wonderful, brilliant coach from Stryker who talked about coaching leaders with Responsibility, right? And so she was doing, she was doing a lot of coaching, coaching leaders with Responsibility, and she said, Gosh, I always have to help them, like, bring them back time and time again as to what was the scope of the assignment? What were the boundaries, right? Because it's just really important for those folks that that have high Responsibility to also know to be very, very clear about what are the boundaries of my Responsibility?

Dean Jones 22:53

And when you're coaching them, in order to get them to prioritize themselves over their work, you need to make sure their work has good boundaries, and that they -- it's, sometimes that people go down and it's they deal with it like a self-esteem issue, or like a self-image issue. Like, don't you love yourself? Yeah, of course, I love myself, but I feel this deep responsibility for the things that I have committed to, right, and for the things that people are counting on. And it's part of who I am and my values, right? So it's not a, and oftentimes going down that road where they say, hey, it's a, this is a self-image issue or a self-esteem issue, oftentimes doesn't yield much, right? Because that's -- you're not coaching, you're not coaching them inside your talent, you're getting kind of psychological around it. Really the place to be able to help them is, How do I express my Responsibility in a way that's positive for me and positive for them? Right?

Dean Jones 24:35

Sometimes, and I will tell you -- I had a coach who did this with me and it didn't work very well -- but I have heard with other people do this, where they had, they, they coached someone, they coached somebody around, What is your responsibility to yourself, right? And what --where are those boundaries for you? Right? And what are the -- around that. And I think that, you know, I can see how that would be useful. And, and so it's something to try with folks. Right? I also think, you know, you got to remember people that are high Achiever, that people that are high Achiever just absolutely love to work, right. And so some of the, you know, and love having lists.

Dean Jones 25:20

And so I've got Achiever in my 6 through 10. And those people just, they love being able to accomplish stuff. You know, and I've talked about this before, but you also have to remember that the way it looks from the outside in is different than it is from the inside out. Right? So when you look at somebody, for instance, that's high Achiever, it looks like you know, they're hardworking and they're accomplishing things and they, they're managing things -- from the inside out, it's, gosh, there's a lot to do, and there's lots I can put on my list, and I love being able to accomplish stuff, right? Or, in some cases, I'm burdened. I see so much there is to do, right. But, and again, it's really being able to say, hey, where are you on the list? Right? So as you start to, start to look at the list, where are you in the list? And what are the things you want to accomplish for you? Right? One of the things ... Yeah, go ahead.

Jim Collison 26:10

Dean, can I, before you go too far on that, that's such a great question, you know, learning more about this next level of education, which is awareness at a company level, how do we -- so we talked a bunch about at the personal level of this, like, how do we go to the next level, even as coaches learning, but when we think organizationally, how do we get or how do we help coaches get organizations to make that flip from awareness exercises, you know, we sometimes end up doing these endless amount of discovery sessions, which, which are OK, but organizationally, how do they take the learning steps, to go from ... go ahead.

Dean Jones 26:46

Put up her question again, will you please? You flashed it up there. "I love to learn about this next level, after the ..." OK, great. Yeah. OK. Yes. And that is -- thanks. Thank you, and Patricia, you're right. It's a great question. And Jim, yes. So yes. I think in the beginning, so one of the things we always say, and I've said this before, and is that typically, when you're introducing strengths in an organization, there's really 3 things you want to do. Right? And it's super simple. People get so mystified by this, is you want people to do the assessments. So you want people (1) to do CliftonStrengths, right? (2) You want to give people some basic strengths education. And so you want to make sure they've had some strengths education so they're in the world of strengths. And then (3) typically, you want them to have a one-on-one feedback with someone, OK? Could be their manager, could be a strengths coach -- doesn't have to be a strengths coach; could be their manager. But typically those three things.

Dean Jones 27:41

And typically, I recommend -- sometimes it doesn't work to do it this way, so don't get legalistic about this -- but typically, it's in that order, right? Do the assessment, then do the education and then do the one-on-one feedback. People always ask, Should I do the one-on-one feedback before the education? I -- my preference, and what I, when I, when people ask for my consulting and or, or advice around this, I always encourage people to do the education first. The reason for that is, is that oftentimes people are not enough in the world of strengths, and don't have enough information to be able to deal powerfully with their own profile. And when you do the education first, the one-on-one feedback becomes more meaningful for people, right?

Dean Jones 28:24

A lot of times if you haven't done the education first, the one-on-one feedback becomes more of a one-on-one strengths course than it is one-on-one feedback about your specific profile. Right. So I think it's always meatier and more meaningful when people have had some level of basic strengths education. I think the way it often unfolds -- you know, the other thing we get, and man, we get this a ton, is companies coming to us and saying, we want to do strengths, but we want to be oriented around the team. We want it to be team-based. So we want to immediately go into things like team dynamics, right, or team, you know, collaboration, and conflict and things like that.

Dean Jones 29:03

You can't really go that direction. I always like to say, you can't -- the, the first step to really impacting the dynamics of the team is that everybody knows their strengths and is aware of them. So the first thing you want to do is, like, people have nothing to say through a lens of strengths about collaboration or conflict or anything else, if they don't first know their own strengths, and so they just don't, right. So the thing that is, is most powerful is first to do the one-on-one work, and do that one-on-one work, you know, excuse me, or the individual work and then have people know their strengths.

Dean Jones 29:43

What you'll start to see is, when you do that, so when you do education with people, they, when you do education with people, what happens is, is they get more articulate at being able to think about and talk about their own talents and strengths. As they share that with the team, people have "Aha!"s. They have big insights where they can say, Oh, yeah, I see that you're that way. And it also creates a kind of -- it deepens the relationship because I've, I've seen that you're that way. Now you see that you're [that] way, and now we can both own it, right? So there's a deeper, there's a kind of intimacy or a kind of relationship that gets built that supports collaboration and teamwork.

Dean Jones 30:28

So oftentimes the, you know, it's we do that first-level education, everybody has strengths feedback, then we, then we continue to work on awareness, which is not bad. And it it morphs into, let's do some team stuff, right? And that's, like, perfect next step is like, how are we collaborating? How are we getting work done? Where do we get hung up? You know, where's there friction between members of the team or the team around that? And then as we work through that, typically we start to, at that point, we start to hang it on a goal or an outcome. And it's the piece about starting to hang it on a goal or outcome that becomes the important kind of turning point.

Dean Jones 31:06

So if you -- and sometimes you get, you'll notice like you go into work with a team, or manager, and it's all about, you know, I, you know, like, owning your own strengths or talking about your own strengths, or talking about somebody, somebody else's strengths. And you notice that there's not any conversation of how are we now using this to produce results? That's when you know, OK, we got to, we got to hang a goal or outcome on this group or an objective on this group. Right? And that is a great pace, again, for a strengths coach to interject. Right?

Dean Jones 31:41

So that's a place where, where a coach can just simply ask, Oh, this is all great you -- you all sound like you're very aware of your talents and strengths. Looks like you're doing a great job developing your strengths. How are you using these now, you know, to improve your performance? How are you using this now to accomplish what the company is counting on you to accomplish, right? And so how -- and just simply asking, sounds funny to say, but, like, have your results improved? Have your results improved, right? Because this should be access to performance. And if your results haven't improved, then we need to look at what's missing through a strengths lens, through a strengths lens. What's missing to have performance improved? One of the things, you know, sorry, I keep getting distracted here. Jim, there's something funny happening with chat today.

Jim Collison 32:35

With our chat?

Dean Jones 32:36

With our chat Yeah, there's something funny happening. We can talk about it later.

Jim Collison 32:39

Maybe it's just really active. They're doing a great job out there.

Dean Jones 32:43

That's good. That's awesome. The -- one of the things that, one of the things I love, many of you guys know Maureen Monte. She was one of our very first certified coaches. Right. And she wrote a book called Destination Impossible -- is that right?

Jim Collison 32:58

Destination Unstoppable.

Dean Jones 32:59

Destination Unstoppable. And she's phenomenal. She had been at IBM for a long time, that literally thousands and thousands of people had done strengths as a function of her of her and her passion for strengths. Right? Then she became an independent coach. And she, she's, she's, the thing I love about her work is she's very oriented around helping people apply their talents and strengths in meaningful ways to, to win or to accomplish things. Right. And I think that as a coach, you know, ultimately, that's what people want, right? People want, they want to be able to say, Hey, how am I using this tool to be successful? I was gonna ...

Jim Collison 33:39

Dean, let me, as you pause, gather your thoughts for a second, one of the, one of the things we've seen as we think about this next level, and I think we've learned and published with It's the Manager, is that coaches, and I don't know if I would call this the next level. So you can correct me if I'm wrong, but we've done a lot of thinking and a lot of research around the greatest amount of impact in this area of strength and who has -- in a team setting, who's the person who has the greatest impact, right? It's the manager. And so strategically thinking, if we think about coaches working with organizations, does it make sense for coaches to really spend a lot of time trying to zero in on the managers -- and taking them from what we say boss to coach in their relationships with their customers -- Is that a next level? Or can you kind of address that as in our thinking about this, Dean? What's the strategic opportunities that are there?

Dean Jones 34:34

Yeah, I've said this before, in fact, Jim Ball had a had a question this time up that sort of related to this, that we could dig into if we want to, Jim. Yeah, I so where the best -- from, from our perspective, right -- the best thing that a strengths coach can do in an organization is focus on the managers. And in the beginning, as you're building awareness, you may be doing other things. So it's not like you're focused exclusively on the managers. So you may be leading information sessions that are designed to help people understand strengths and and encourage them to take the CliftonStrengths assessment, right? You may be doing one-on-one feedbacks with people -- you may be -- to help them understand their profile. You may be doing, delivering workshops that are strengths education.

Dean Jones 35:21

So all those things you may be doing, right. Over time, where it becomes the most useful, is that you're coaching managers to be effective in using their strengths in their role as a manager, managing their weaknesses in their role as a manager, and then cultivating the strengths of their people. And so what, what we know is, we know that managers have a disproportionate impact on the engagement of the team. And so we -- look, you know, we've said over and over again, that at least 70% of team engagement can be directly attributed back to that more group manager.

Jim Collison 36:00

And both good and bad, right?

Dean Jones 36:02

In both good ways and bad ways. Yeah, it's all on you. Yeah, sorry. Bad news, right, here we go. Right. And so it's, it's, and so we know the manager has this disproportionate impact, right. And so we know when strength coaches go to work on supporting managers -- the other thing that I've seen, and I've seen this in organizations that we work with, where, where the strengths coach wants to coach everybody on the team, and is coaching the manager, and they get tangled up in the relationships between the managers and the employees. And it becomes this kind of morass where the employees are getting feedback from the strengths coach, they're getting feedback from the manager; sometimes that's in conflict, so they don't know how to reconcile that. Sometimes it feels like feedback overload. And so it feels like it's Gosh, it's just a lot, right?

Dean Jones 36:49

And you want, ultimately, you want managers to own the development journey for the employee. So managers -- in fact, I did a series, I was thinking this morning, Jim, that we ought to post, I just did 2 webinars that were designed for our clients that we ought to post somewhere, right -- and maybe in a Certified Coach group -- about learning and learning strategy inside organizations, and I thought it'd be useful. The last one I did, where we were talking about the central role that managers have in in delivering learning in the organization.

Dean Jones 37:20

So you want managers to own that development journey. And you want managers to really own that development journey. And part of it is is one is managers, it's kind of like we were just talking about with coaches, managers owning their own talents and strengths. And because that gives them a ton of, ton of opportunity and ton of contribution and a ton of biases. Right. And particularly when you're a manager, people see your blind spots. And you have, the more you can own those and be open to understanding and transforming those, the better shape you'll be in, right. And so, so there's that, but then there's also being able to really be somebody that understands the unique talents of each individual person on your team and can then develop those talents.

Dean Jones 38:04

One of the things I always tell people in organizations is that strengths will make your managers better. Strengths will make your managers better; it makes them more effective, because I don't intuitively need to know how to read people. I don't have to intuitively know how to understand; I don't have to have a lot of the same level of just intuitively understanding how each person is unique. If I've got somebody strengths, it gives me kind of the "cheat sheet" to know OK, how is this person wired? And it's not everything, but it's a starting point, and a really good starting point for having the right kind of conversations that are going to help make sure that that person is engaged and developed and successful in their role. So that's super important, right.

Jim Collison 38:52

Dean, I also think that getting the managers involved early and getting them to buy in is the sticky what people are looking for. That when the managers -- when it sticks for them, and they get this and they figure out, oh, because they're judged on their team's velocity, and when their team's velocity picks up and they see the benefits of that, they're responsible, they're directly responsible for that team velocity, whether it is direct or indirect, by the way.

Jim Collison 39:17

And, and so you have the motivations in the right spots, and you get the incentives and the recognition in the right place. And all of a sudden, those systems start to click. And so I think, sometimes in organizations, nothing wrong with bottom up, where it kind of comes in through a strengths champion, and they try to work those things in. But I think really where we see in organizations where those managers, especially the higher up, the better, where they, that that then begins to be a performance metric. And the managers are incented on better performance using strengths. Of course it sticks because that's the method in which they they they determined they're able to get this and so it is for, I think, for individuals who are asking, How do we get more "stickiness" I think we get that into the managers.

Dean Jones 40:01

That's right.

Jim Collison 40:02

And get them thinking about it.

Dean Jones 40:03

Because the managers, then, their attention, you know, like, for years people were working on morale or satisfaction, right, you know, and it's not really, you know -- it's it's interesting, I think about, you know, I was thinking about, we were at this holiday party last night, and, you know, this, and there were probably maybe 30 or 35 of us in this team. Right. And, and it was a love fest, right. But it wasn't because everybody was just giddy happy every moment in their job, right. It's not because, you know, we have a foosball table or, you know, like, you know, or espresso machine down the hall.

Jim Collison 40:42

Protein bars for free.

Dean Jones 40:43

Protein. Yeah, like, it's not, it's not about that. It's about that people, people have deep, meaningful relationships with the people that they work with. And they're being developed in ways that are consistent with their goals, right. And they have a sense of success. And, you know, when there's nothing and particularly high performers want nothing more than to be able to contribute and have a sense of success. So that's what engages people. That's what keeps people, retains people long term is that.

Dean Jones 41:15

I want to go John -- Jon Sexton made this comment in chat here that I wanted to go to what I thought was really good. It'd be great to hear your thoughts -- Jon asked -- It'd be great to hear your thoughts on strategies for working through initial resistance to the concept of transitioning from boss to coach. Jon, that's a great, great question. And I think it, we also see this sometimes when we introduce our engagement work inside organizations. And I think it I think, you know, for all of us that love strengths and love engagement and love workplace culture, right, we get all excited and revved up about, oh my gosh, we're going to introduce strengths; it's going to be so great and everyone's gonna be happy and the world's going to be a better place, right? You know, you know, unicorns, rainbows, the whole thing, right?

Dean Jones 42:02

So we -- we're all revved up about this. And I think we sort of underestimate the, that change is highly dislocating for people, and very upsetting. And if I'm a manager, and I've been producing results, or if a manager and I'm struggling to produce results, all of a sudden hearing, there's a new expectation, or that I want you to do your job in a different way, can often imply to people, Hey, what you've been doing is wrong. Or, Hey, we think you're a bad manager and you need to improve, right? And so, you know, the, it's one of those things where the message sometimes is, is, Hey, look, we're doing this because something's not working. Or because or there or just simply there's a new expectation, and managers are not sure that they'll be able to meet that expectation.

Dean Jones 42:55

So I think we got to have a lot of -- one is I think we as we do strengths in organizations. thing that's cool about strengths is, is it creates change in organizations. It really does transform organizations. People really have a new context for looking at themselves, each other and their work inside of the strengths lens. And it is incredibly powerful. It is just one, it's one of the most powerful tools I've encountered in my career. It is just incredibly transformative.

Dean Jones 43:25

And at the same time, that kind of change, that kind of transforming change, is highly dislocating for people. So you have to, one is, I think you have to go in with a lot of compassion. I think and, and there needs to be -- in times of change, you always want to be overcommunicating rather than undercommunicating. So you want to make sure you're communicating significantly and communicating effectively, and listening at the same time to make sure the communication is landing and it's landing the way you intended it to. The other thing is you don't want to take stuff for granted; it's easy to assume, well, everybody knows that or everybody understands that. I can count on all my fingers and toes and more the number of times that I sat across from somebody who was a manager or executive who said, well, doesn't everybody know that? And the answer is no, they actually don't, right? And we need to say it sometimes so that they hear it coming out of our mouths, right?

Dean Jones 44:23

The thing that I think, as you transition from boss to coach, the thing that's powerful, and I think, the Jeremy Pietrocini and I did a session at the last Gallup at Work Summit -- at that point, the artist formerly known as the CliftonStrengths Summit, right -- last summer on this, but I think the first step in that transition, you do sometimes get some resistance to that transition. And I think one of the first things is for managers to just go have conversations with their folks where they ask questions and listen. I have promoted this -- I don't, I'm looking around my house to see if I have a copy -- one of the tools that I promote to coaches a lot to be injecting in, in their, in, in their role in their coaching of managers is is something called our Individual Conversations Guide. We make it available to managers in the Leading High-Performance teams course. It's available for sale on the -- on our ecommerce website on, right, in our store.

Dean Jones 45:27

And it's a guide; you buy one for each employee that you manage, right? And there's 30 questions in it and it's designed so you, you ask the questions, and it tells you what to listen for as a manager. And if you're a coach, it's a great tool. So you can say to a manager, hey, listen, this week, go ask each employee the first 5 questions here. Right? Go ask each employee the first 5 questions, then come back and we're going to talk about each one of those. Right. So we're gonna talk about your people so I can kind of coach like, what are you hearing? What does that tell you? What are you going to do differently around that? And just have your managers be working through that.

Dean Jones 46:04

What happens oftentimes, where with managers is, they don't have enough relationship with the people they manage to be their coach. So what they can do -- there, there's, there's not a deep enough relationship there. And you know, we could spend all day talking about it, you know, in, in certain environments, that are high-turnover environments, you've got a, you've got to manage that, you know. Like in, you know, call centers where there's 150%, 200% turnover in a year. Right. You know, people say, How do I do that? There are, you know, best practices for how you manage those relationships, whether it's a -- whether you're in a high-turnover environment or you're in a low-turnover environment, right.

Dean Jones 46:45

But I think the first, the first take at that, the first place for managers to go to start to make that transition is to go have conversations where they're asking good questions and listening. I can't tell you the number of times that we've had, we've had managers do that. I'll never forget, in one of the courses, we had a manager who said, who went and, and he was a fairly senior manager, so a fairly senior leader in an organization. And he went and, and did the conversation, and he was kind of doing it as, you know, I'm going to demonstrate how I'm, I, I'm, I can do this like everybody else, right. So he went and had a conversation with the guy he worked with and started going through the questions. And we do this as part of the exercise in this Leading High Performance Teams course. So he goes and comes back in the room and you can see it was just like he was lit up.

Dean Jones 47:38

And he said, I learned more about this guy in the last hour than I did in working with him for the last 30 years. And it's just asking great questions and listening. And that alone can reshape relationships. Right. And so, and that'sthe beginning I think, OK? So hopefully Jon -- Jim Ball, who posted your question, hopefully that starts to address some of it, right. The other thing you asked, so I'm going to read Jim's post. And then I want to I want to answer the last part of it. Jim posted on Facebook, Last time, you talked quite a bit about the manager experience and what the best managers do to bring up the strengths in their -- of their people. By the way, listen to that prior AMA, because that that's where we went into that, right. Can you go into more detail about how different managers can use their unique talents differently to accomplish the right outcome in the manager role? We kind of talked about that today. Also, how does company culture senior leader actions shape manager behaviors in terms of those desired outcomes?

Dean Jones 48:39

I think, you know, there is no question that, that senior leader actions, that manager behaviors are given by senior leader actions, right, and by the culture of an organization. And, you know, I think for in a lot of ways you want to be thinking about what are -- that a lot of the job of a manager is to translate the direction of a leader for the team in a way that's powerful for them. So it's really looking and saying, the leader may be saying, Hey, we're going to take that hill. And the manager's job is to be able to say how we're taking the hill, why we're taking the hill, well, you know, what steps we're going to take, who's going to do what, how it's going to work that we do that, like that. So it's being able to translate all of that direction and that guidance so that the team feels like they're set.

Dean Jones 49:34

One of the things that we know is, as the workplace has shifted, part of what people want to know, it's not in the old days, you know, in the olden days, when there were covered wagons and that kind of stuff, it was just like, Hey, go do this. That doesn't work anymore. People want to know, people want to know, how does this relate to our mission and purpose? How am I uniquely contributing? Right? How am I uniquely contributing to this? How am I going to get developed as part of doing that? And those are some of the kind of questions that managers need to be, need to need to be able to answer. Where do you see my strengths? And how do you see my strengths contributing to this? Right? So those are all sorts of the pieces of it.

Dean Jones 50:18

The other thing we probably don't have time to go into today, Jim, is values. Right. And I think values are an important, important piece of it, there was a post, I think, on in one of the groups about the values cards, and about values discussions. I think it's really, I think that's another aspect of it is being able to discern, what are the organization's values? You know, and how do I, as a manager line up with those organizational values? You know, obviously, if there's big disparities between the values of the organization and my values, then it's going to be hard for me to be able to do that. Right. And that's just what so. And so it's real, but really discerning what are the values of the organization, what are my values, and then how do I embody those as part of the work that I do? And strengths can really help us to be able to do that and translate that. So is that useful?

Jim Collison 51:05

Yeah, I think I think it's really great. We get a lot of questions on those conversation guides that we have. I put a link to them in the chat. That's the reorder packet, if you want to do it that way. We got several different options of ways to do that. As of right now that is on our shop site. So We are transitioning shop onto store just for our coaches and certified coaches that work with us over the next couple months, many of our products will be shifting from shop to store. I know that's a little confusing, we're changing kind of vendors and the way we do our store purchasing that makes it way better for the future for everybody. And so, but the link is out there now; will automatically redirect that when we shift that over so.

Jim Collison 51:46

Dean, I think really, really helpful guidance today as we think about you know, as we kind of ended with boss to coach, that's really a great starting point, I think, for coaches to start thinking through, OK, what am I doing inside of organizations? And how am I having the greatest impact on the manager? And how is that cascading kind of downstream? Here at Gallup, we have an advantage, because when we do organizational impact, when we go into organizations, we have salespeople who go in and help get the right product. We have consultants who come in and help do the consulting bit, and we have coaches who that's their only role.

Jim Collison 52:24

And I do -- today, for some reason, it just kind of dawned on me and gave me kind of a new appreciation for -- that's all in one for many of our coaches, where they're playing the role of a salesperson; they're playing the role of a consultant; and they're playing a role of a of a coach. And may not necessarily have the talent in all three of those places to succeed. And maybe a great opportunity, one, it's around self awareness, to stop trying to be those things if they're not, and partner with others or find or hire or whatever, right, for those to fill in be able to do that. But realize in those engagements, there are those three very important tasks that need to be done at an organizational level to make sure those things are able to happen. We're able to deploy people who are -- we've hired just for those roles to be able to do that, where an independent coach, a certified coach, may be trying to fill all those roles at the same time,

Jim Collison 53:19

Dean, I hope they hear what you're saying today is, Let go of those things, going back to the beginning, let go of those things you're not good at and stop maybe trying to take responsibility for them. Would you give, would you give any more to -- any more advice to our coaches when we just think about those, those roles and engagement as we as we close out?

Dean Jones 53:37

Yeah, no, I know, I think -- I was just looking, I was thinking about Jon Sexton's comment, he had a follow-up to his thing where he said, the initial reservations about this boss-to-coach thing are often around assumptions about what it means to lead from a coaching lens. Defining and creating buy-in is essential for organizationwide buy-in. I think one of the things you just need to manage as you're thinking about all of this, right, is that, for us, coaching -- for us, coaching is -- of course, you would want to be coached and you would get coaching. Right? And that, you know, I was talking with, we have a Bentonville coaches meetup that I participate in. We were talking about how in some organizations, coaching is seen as having a negative connotation. Right. And so being, again, being responsible about -- being responsible about how is what is the connotation around that -- sometimes coaching is seen as soft, as a soft way to lead. And so being responsible about that.

Dean Jones 54:38

And of course, to your point, Jim, being responsible for one's own strengths and weaknesses around it. And I think it, you know, sometimes there's opportunities to partner around that. Sometimes it's just knowing, hey, I'm gonna really put the emphasis here. We do know and we see there's some coaches that say, Hey, look, I'm where I'm really great is in one-on-ones and that was I do is just one-on-one stuff. I have a friend who's an executive coach and his work is with executive teams. And it really, like, this is where I do it. One of these we've talked about in the past is, is, is as a coach is finding your niche, right, finding the thing that is really your niche. And I think this all becomes part of it, right? As you know more about your own strengths, then it becomes easier to figure out the expression that's the right expression for you. And where to be able to then focus your, your coaching practice, whether it's inside an organization or whether it's as an independent coach, to focus your coaching practice so you're doing the things that really play to your talents.

Jim Collison 55:37

Dean, great session today. Thanks for taking an hour with us this morning to be a part of it. Overwhelmingly that 9:30 I think is going to become the 2020 Dean Jones time for Called to Coach.

Dean Jones 55:49

9:30 is the new black!

Jim Collison 55:50

We will -- we won't move the rest of the Called to Coach schedule for that, but it would be good -- I would like to diversity in time for folks around the globe to be able to join us live. And so we'll be moving those here in 2020.

Jim Collison 56:04

With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available now on Gallup Access. And there's a lot there if you have not checked that out yet. Head out to By the way, you can log in from there, but there are tons of resources that are available for you. I get questions all the time, like, what's the history of CliftonStrengths? Well, it's there. What's a one-pager that can help me, you know, introduce CliftonStrengths to my organization? It's there. So we have all these things, we listened to all this feedback that we got on the Strengths Center and what we didn't have, and we added a whole bunch of new resources for you, including all the back episodes of Called to Coach and Theme Thursday. All those are available, just head out to And you might want to spend an hour or two to just kind of working your way through the tabs so you know what is there. If you have questions or comments on anything, you can send us an email: You -- like I mentioned, you can also catch the recorded audio and video of this program as well as all the past. They're available on YouTube, if you want to do it that way. Maybe you just love to listen to things on YouTube. Go to YouTube and search "CliftonStrengths," if you want to do that. You'll find our channel -- about 800 hours of content, by the way available for you, all the professional development you would ever need. If you're interested in becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach or want to see a list of any of our courses that lead to that, head out to our courses page: Dean mentioned the Gallup at Work Summit that is coming up, and I think, Dean, we are starting to really pick up speed here I know it's only December but internally we are beginning to move on that. You can get details June 3 -- yeah, June 1, 2 and 3 here in Omaha and there's no better time than Omaha in June. So you want to be here. Be a part of it. All the details: and we'd love to have you join us here for the summit. I know many of you have already signed up and are paid, and we'd love to see you out here. Don't forget, you can join us in the Facebook group. Dean mentioned a few of those, and we are watching and we are listening, and we are learning from your questions out on the Facebook group. Go to And that will get you in the group as well. Ask to be invited in; I'll let you in. And we'd love to have you in the conversation. Want to thank you for joining us today. A great live group who came out, some great questions. And I love to see the way you guys help each other in the live group. So I appreciate that. We'll be back for the last Called to Coach of the year next Friday. Jon Sexton from Vibrant is going to come and talk about what they're doing there. And I think a great example, Dean, of a lot of the things we talked about today. So if you want to see it in action, come join us on the 20th. We'll see you next week. Thanks for joining us.

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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