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Successful Leadership: Understand Your Greatest Strengths

Successful Leadership: Understand Your Greatest Strengths

Webcast Details

  • What role can strengths play in nurturing leadership qualities in leaders?
  • What strategic questions can coaches employ to help leaders be proactive in the challenges they face?
  • How can an accountability partner and past successes keep leadership development front and center?

Jaclynn Robinson, Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 3 of a series on successful leadership, Jaclynn focused on understanding one's greatest strengths. Leaders face challenges every day, and those have only been amplified during the past year. Coaches who understand this, and who have a firm grasp on Naming, Claiming and Aiming strengths, can serve a vital function as they coach executives, leaders and managers -- and this episode provides resources to help them in their quest. These include supportive questions to ask those they coach, what it means to serve as an accountability partner, and recommending relevant materials such as podcasts that will engage leaders' thinking on a topic.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 5. This is Part 3 of a 7-part series on successful leadership. Access Part 1 of this series on leadership. Access Part 2, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7 of the series.

I've got 3 [questions coaches can ask leaders] ... "What are your 3 biggest priorities right now?" ... "What barriers do you foresee with those priorities?" ... and ... "How can I support you?"

Jaclynn Robinson, 6:42

So structure and agility [in our coaching], right. Having ... "both and" -- we need the structure; we can't just go in flying blind, but [need] to be able to move from that structure pretty quickly.

Jim Collison, 8:52

Know who you want to be your accountability partner -- friends, family or colleagues that know the right moments also allow for the grace and aren't just there constantly bugging you like that devil on your shoulder.

Jaclynn Robinson, 40:58

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world -- or at least today here in the United States -- this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on January 29, 2021.

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 individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link right above me there that'll take you to it. Just sign in with your Google account. Join us in chat; let us know where you're listening from. If you're listening after the fact -- and that's OK; many, many more of you listen to the recorded version, either as a podcast or on YouTube -- and you have questions, you can send us an email: Don't forget, you can subscribe to us as a podcast, just search "Gallup Webcasts" in any podcast player. And find us on YouTube by searching "CliftonStrengths." Subscribe in all those places. Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup. Jaclynn, always great to be with you on Called to Coach. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 1:10

Thanks! Thank you much.

Jim Collison 1:12

Great to have you. We are in Part 3 of a 6-part series. We're talking about successful leadership. We talked about inspiring leaders in the very first week. In the second week, we talked about the value of self-awareness. And I think, for a lot of coaches, we kind of zeroed in on kind of why they do what they do around coaching. We kind of want to avoid, I think, sometimes we get into this Name it, Name it and Name it mentality when we think about strengths. We just want to talk about what they are and maybe not always zero in on the implementation of making decisions, right? Because that's really what it comes down to.

Jim Collison 1:46

And, and leaders oftentimes have to make the most difficult decisions, and making them in the context or the framework of their individual themes, right? Beyond just naming them but really talking about claiming and aiming them, as well, I think is really important. Where do leaders kind of seek the support, I mean, if we're gonna get real practical for one minute, in what areas do they really need the support, do you think?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:13

I'm glad you brought up the naming piece, because I think it is easy to get stuck there. And once you're in that executive coaching phase, they want to get more into the, the meat and the, and the challenges that they experience. So I would say what comes up the absolute most when I'm coaching is negotiations. They've got a decision that they need to make, they need to negotiate it with senior leadership. Or it's having those what I like to call courageous conversations. It's a tough conversation that they might have to have with somebody in that decision-making process.

Jaclynn Robinson 2:46

Or it's related to, you know, difficult personalities, challenging personalities, whether it's an employee or someone that they work laterally with -- it's just a fellow colleague -- and they have to navigate in a more tactical way around that personality. What else comes to mind for me? Sometimes it's just related to organizational restructuring, too. It's a decision, it's, it's theirs, or it's someone else's. But that triggers decisions that they then have to make. So those come up, I would say, most frequently.

Jim Collison 3:19

Yeah, those are really the hardest part in a lot of cases of the job managing. I think a lot of people, you know, we've been kind of taught. Like, if I go to school, I learn how to do something, I take a job and then I work that job for a while and then I become a manager. Like that's kind of the -- we, we know from our research that, that, that idea of talent, the talent that it takes to be a manager is actually its own talent. It's, we don't we don't, like we don't always take the best salespeople and make them sales managers. That can, that can happen, right. But that's not what we do.

Jim Collison 3:54

And then the, the job responsibilities are, are often very stressful for managers. This is why we, you know, we see the disengagement in our managers number that we do. Jaclynn, when we think about, OK, so I'm a manager, I've got these 5, and maybe I've got access to my all 34 report. And let's think about, in some of your coaching, as you think about managing leaders, give us a little bit of an example, maybe just even in a coaching situation, as how you might approach, I'm taking these themes and then maybe applying them to these different, these difficult conversations or a difficult personality. Can you give us a little example of that?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:34

That's where having that naming conversation early on is helpful. Maybe the first one or two sessions so they have that foundation, and then helping them think through -- what I tend to do, let's say there's, there's one that comes to mind, actually a couple that come to mind, and they have to have courageous conversations. If they lead with Deliberative and Analytical and high Discipline, then what I might ask is, "When have you been successful previously whenever you've had to hold a conversation that felt more difficult?" And some might say, "Well, I practice -- that, that repetitive practice of just playing it in my mind and the different scenarios that could come forth support me, because then I feel well prepared going in."

Jaclynn Robinson 5:15

So it's that reminder, it's that prompt. "Oh, that worked before." OK, let's see if we can just implement that this next time around. And then, we serve as accountability partners to say, "How did that work? Did it work effectively? If so, I'm going to keep that in my coaching brain so when that comes up, again, I can, I can remind you, of what, what seemed to work before." So that works. It really is playing into their themes to say, "What, what are you finding?"

Jaclynn Robinson 5:41

I find a lot also have high Harmony. Specifically, and I've been coaching lately too, a number of them have high Harmony. So they're, they're feeling out the conflict. They see how maybe a couple of different teams aren't getting along, or, you know, they might have difficulty working with someone else. And so then I play to them and say, "What's the common ground that you're finding with this person? What do you both agree on?" So without calling out Harmony specifically, you can really just start to break down what that theme is and incorporate it into your coaching questions.

Jim Collison 6:13

Yeah, I think you're right in that, even trying to tie those successful outcomes to those talent traits that exist underneath that umbrella of Harmony -- getting beyond just the Harmony label and saying, "Hey, Harmony brings these kinds of things. Here's how it's been successful for you. Now, how do we tie it to some actions you have to take?" Coaches are always asking us for questions like, What kind of questions can I ask? So as we're getting to the concerns of managers, what kind of questions can coaches ask to kind of get to this point?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:42

Yeah, I've got, I've got 3 that are my favorite. And they follow one another. So the first is, "What are your 3 biggest priorities right now?" And I have them work through that. And then the second follow-up question is, "What barriers do you foresee with those priorities?" And then they tend to share out whatever that challenge or barrier is, and then that next follow-up question is, "How can I support you?"

Jaclynn Robinson 7:08

So let them share out what they need from us, as opposed to putting so much pressure on yourself to try to come up with that solution or solve the problem for them. Especially if that's what you feel you're working on right now is not solving their problem, but really being the guide, asking, "How can I support you?" now that they've walked through priorities and challenges, is a great way to understand if they just want you to be an accountability partner, if they want you to, you know, help them work through a negotiation, or a challenging personality or org restructuring.

Jim Collison 7:39

When you're coaching leaders and managers, do you have a set of questions that you use every time? Do you tailor them kind of based on what you know? Do you, how do you, if you were going to give some coaching advice on coaching managers in this area, how do you approach it?

Jaclynn Robinson 7:55

Yeah, I, this is probably, thinking about themes, it's probably my Strategic. I like being in the session and in the moment. That helps me the best and just being able to be more attuned to what they want. And we talk about this in our coaching courses, too, but you can prep and prep and prep and have questions prepared, but then you might end up scrapping them altogether because something else comes up.

Jaclynn Robinson 8:19

So what I tend to do, just to have a little bit of insight into what that next conversation might hold for us is, at the close of a session, say, "You know, what would you like to talk about in our next session? Is there anything specific you want me to start noodling over that can support us?" And then they'll share out or say, "You know, this might be coming up; it might be a topic of interest." Or they know exactly what they want to talk about. Maybe they have high Discipline or high Focus, and there's a plan in mind. Or they just say, "Let's just see where the wind takes us."

Jim Collison 8:52

OK. Yeah. And so it kind of varies, so structure and agility, right. Having both, kind of "both and" -- like, we need the structure; we can't just go in flying, flying blind, but to be able to move from that structure pretty quickly. I love that last question of, "So what do we need to talk about next time?" I, that's a, I think there's a lot of brilliance in bringing that in at the end, especially with leaders. What other ways, what are other ways we can support, you know, we know our leaders are under fire at this point. And I don't think because it's 2021, it's going to get any easier. So what are some ways we, as coaches, we can support our leaders and managers?

Jaclynn Robinson 9:28

I've got, I've got a few in mind here. So I've got, what I've kind of considered my Big 4. So the first is really "Leaning into the, the talent themes" -- helping them understand what the themes are, and then helping them study their successes in adverse situations. So if you're not asking those, those questions, What are your priorities? What challenges do you foresee? and How can I support you? When they come to you and they just share out that they're going through something difficult, how can we lean into their themes and study success? So go back to what worked before, and are there any ways they can take some of those best practices and apply it in the here and now.

Jaclynn Robinson 10:08

A second one that I wrote down was "Serve as an accountability partner." They have so much on their plates that oftentimes they just forget what works. And we all do that; we're all very guilty of doing that. They, they're in high-stakes situations oftentimes. And so just being an accountability partner for them, and reminding them of what they'd mentioned had worked previously, can be very helpful.

Jaclynn Robinson 10:36

The third one that I wrote down was "Provide materials like quick reads or podcasts." Leaders love that; they don't always have time to absorb new information, but they're looking for it. They like "brain gain," just like everybody else. So oftentimes, at the end of a coaching call, based on whatever we've discussed, I will look for articles, I'll send podcasts. I'll do it in a coaching session too. But if I really need to be a little bit more resourceful and dive deeper, I'll, I'll find maybe three or four resources that are specific to the topic that we discussed and send it over by email. And they tend to really like that. And then that next session, you can also talk through it and say, What, what worked for you? What, what's helped you? What was an insight that you captured? So resources.

Jaclynn Robinson 11:23

The, the fourth and final one that I wrote down was, "If you are contracted with an organization as a coach, get familiar with the internal resources that are available to leadership. They don't always know what's out there. HR can be your best friend, or anyone, maybe on the talent development side or learning development side. Oftentimes, there's continuing education, there's skills training. Depending on the organization, some media agencies have trainers internally, and they can help them with public speaking, which comes up very often with leadership. And it doesn't even have to be large-scale, where they're doing an organizational, an organizationwide town hall; sometimes it's just a high-stakes meeting, and there's 15 leaders in there, and they're, they're terrified. So sometimes, if it's a media organization, they might actually have a trainer that can support them there. So getting familiar with resources is great.

Jim Collison 12:18

Yeah, it's kind of my role in the community here is to, as a coach to coaches, is to helping them find resources or doing these programs as new resources, right, for them. Those are some things, like, as a coach, even as a manager, you could be creating content internally, for your organization, just like we do here. So that may even help.

Jim Collison 12:39

Lisa -- by the way, when you ask your questions, always helpful when you put "Q" in front of them, so I can see them easy -- she says, When, when you say, "How can I help you?" Often people feel grateful, but you know, wave it off, "No, I'm fine." "How are you doing?" "Fine," keeping the pressure on themselves to fix things. How do you handle that? Or how do you get past "Fine"? "How are you doing?" "Oh, it's great." You know, "Well, really? Is it really great?" How do you find, like how do you find you get past that?

Jaclynn Robinson 13:07

It's been, asking those 3 questions actually has been most fruitful. I haven't received -- I was just thinking back, had I had that, that response from a leader when I've, I've asked the 3 priorities, What challenges do you have? And how can I support you? Instead of saying "Fine," what they might say is, they'll reiterate things that have worked for them that you've shared out. They might say, "Oh, you know, I've really been working on starting with the positive before I frame it up and get into a change we can make." Because maybe they have Analytical high or maybe they have Maximizer or Restorative. "So if you could just continue to support me and make sure that I, that I'm doing that, I'd love to continue to keep this conversation alive."

Jaclynn Robinson 13:50

So then when we're having coaching sessions, it's checking in and they're saying, "OK, well, I just had a conversation with my employee. I remembered what you said, and it worked really well. And this is, this is, this is what we did." So typically, if you're asking, "What are your priorities? What are your challenges? How can I support you?" they tend to either reiterate how you have helped them, or they will say, "It's going really well; if you could continue to serve me as an accountability partner, that would be wonderful."

Jaclynn Robinson 14:18

And then you can just, again, be valuable by providing additional resources or advice that continues to help them down that path. So maybe you can continue to give them new coaching questions that help them in that specific circumstance, or there's a new article you read and you can share out some thoughts from that article. So you can pull in new information and continue to just stay on that topic.

Jim Collison 14:42

We're going to talk about some advice for leaders, managers, if they're listening right now. We hope they are. One final question before we move on to that. Mark asks, Do you see a significant difference between seasoned versus new managers? So in your coaching, when you're doing this, do you see a difference between the two and maybe the pressures from, from those two groups?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:01

I think it goes right back to your point made earlier. Some people have a natural ability to manage, or to lead, whether they're a manager or leader, and that just shows through. And then others really struggle with it. It's more, what makes a great conversation with them is their willingness to be coached. And that's probably something that resonates with all of you. Whether they're new or they're, they're seasoned, do they have a willingness to want to be coached? Are they coming and bringing topics to the forefront? Are they engaging in that conversation? Or are they just kind of sitting there and they're expecting you to take the lead and and go through everything? And then it can be difficult. And that's a struggle that every coach has. And we still have it here at Gallup. And we might share out, "OK, this feels like I'm really having to dig. What are some other ways that you're, you're getting through this?"

Jim Collison 15:56

Heather, Heather brings up an interesting question; I want to get to before we move on. But she's you know, we get stuck in that Name it, and even sometimes in our coaching with leaders, we get stuck in the Name it, Name it, Name it. How do we, using your questions, or in, how do we really punch through that? I mentioned, we mentioned tying results in the past to talent, or even having them saying, OK, What was it about Harmony that -- we used that as an example -- What was the talent underneath Harmony that helped you get there, getting to a specific action? Jaclynn, what other kind of advice would you give about punching out of Name it, Name it and Name it, and really getting into the application space?

Jaclynn Robinson 16:37

Whenever I set the, set the stage for what our coaching sessions will look like, I'll let them know the first one to two sessions, it would be really fruitful just to go through their full 34 report. Sometimes it just takes one session, if they're really familiar with it. If they're very new, then it might take one, one and a half, two sessions. But what I let them know is, the first one or two sessions, I just want you to get really familiar with your themes. After that, know that I'll have them in front of me, and I'm going to be keeping them very top-of-mind as we go through the challenges that you have.

Jaclynn Robinson 17:09

If you get stuck too long sitting in the naming phase, let's say it's session 3, and you're still just calling out themes and connecting it and just saying it out loud, it can start to make it -- them feel like it's just, it's just strengths, and it's not strengths connected to the aiming piece. So they're going, "What are we doing here?" So I think setting the stage ahead of time to say, let's just spend the first one or two sessions really setting you up, helping you understand what these themes are. And then we'll just incorporate it in as we go through.

Jaclynn Robinson 17:41

One easy way of doing that is having a 360, or any type of stakeholder interview rolled out as well. And if you're starting the stakeholder interviews at session 1 or 2, then you tend to have all of the data, I would say, by the fourth or fifth session. So now you've gone through their CliftonStrengths themes for, for sessions 1 and 2. Session 3 or 4, you're starting to look at the 360. And now you can connect it, to say, We've gone through your themes. And it feels a lot better for them too, because they know the help and hinders.

Jaclynn Robinson 18:17

So if someone has constructive feedback, they're connecting that with Harmony or with Restorative. If they see positive feedback, they might be connecting that with their Achiever or their Responsibility, but that's how they can start to connect the pieces and then you can move forward from there.

Jim Collison 18:34

Getting some of that feedback from their peers so it's not just them saying it, I think, is another great way. By the way, this applies to everybody, not just managers, right. This is a great way of getting in and kind of getting that done. I think gives us the ability to to get beyond, get beyond, you know, that's kind of why we created Theme Thursday, that was Curt's original intention is that it could be a tool for people to learn more on their own, be able to listen to this, be able it. So, you know, you may be able to take sessions -- many coaches do this -- take our sessions of Theme Thursday and have them listen to those, maybe in the same season, so they make kind of sense or whatever. But there's some great tools -- you talked about having people listen to podcasts.

Jim Collison 19:13

OK. We have leaders listening in now. Let's shift gears just a smidge. We're actually talking to them, Jaclynn. For leaders, what can they do? What, what's some advice we might have for them?

Jaclynn Robinson 19:24

Yes. The first for leaders is study your successes. So if you're thinking about a challenging situation that you're currently going through, when have you been successful overcoming an adverse situation previously? And you can even just broaden what that adversity looked like for you. It doesn't have to be specific to relationships or maybe specific to something task-oriented. But when you've overcome adversity, what, what helps you? What does that look like? There might be some prep that you were doing. There might be some mindfulness that you were doing to get in the zone. Maybe you had an accountability partner that you were talking to.

Jaclynn Robinson 20:05

But thinking about what that is, and even having your talent themes in front of you, can help you start to recognize what themes you were using or what practices you had in place so you could, you could, you know, implement it in the here and now. So that's the first one.

Jaclynn Robinson 20:21

The second one that I wrote down was, Trust your gut. Trust your gut. You're, you're a leader for a reason, or you were placed into a management position for a reason. Because people believed in you, you were, you were operating successfully. So trust your gut, but also ask yourself, What is making me feel this way? What's the "why" behind it? Is it that you need additional information, and that's why you feel uncertain about the decision that you're making? If so, how can you gather more information to feel more well-informed? Is it, is it just anxiety? Because we know anxiety plays tricks in our mind. And it might just be that now you're catastrophizing a situation, and that's not actually something that might happen. What else did I write down for this one?

Jim Collison 21:09

Before you, Jaclynn, before you move on to the next one, one of the things I've found really, really helpful in the last couple years for myself, in my leadership, you mentioned anxiety. And I think, oftentimes we don't recognize that for what it is. It becomes a response. We're in the midst of a firefight with our own brain, and we don't know why. And I think understanding, like I began to try to get enough Discipline; I have none -- it's [No.] 34. But I started getting enough Discipline to recognize those moments, those anxiety moments, and call it out for what it was. Then step back and take a deep breath and go, OK, now why, why am I feeling anxious about this?

Jim Collison 21:47

Just that -- there's lots of opportunities for managers to feel anxious. Trust me, you guys are doing the hardest job on the planet. It's really, really hard. Recognizing it for what it is, and stepping back and saying, "Yeah, I'm in a moment. OK. Let's take some deep breaths. Let's figure out why." Like, why is this causing it? Kind of takes the steam out of the anxiety, at least for me, that's been my experience, of calling it out for what it is. OK, I'm really nervous about this conversation because I'm afraid I'm gonna fail. And then you start realizing, OK, I just need to get this done. Like, for me, I just started running into, instead of running away from the anxiety, I began to run into it. The faster I can get this done and taken care of, the, the better, I'll feel. And man, that has been, that's paid huge dividends. OK, so --

Jaclynn Robinson 22:37

Glad you mentioned that.

Jim Collison 22:39

Attach it to a theme, Activator, right. I have Activator [No.] 5. So now I can begin to say, OK, in my talent set, when I'm feeling anxious, there are some strategies either to get an email sent out quickly, make a telephone call. (Telephone! Nobody calls on the telephone anymore!) Make a Zoom call to, you know, right. Set up something. Get it taken care of, right. I can begin to attach those talents directly to the actions that I have. And that's Activator getting that done for me. So I think, thanks for setting me up for that, for that nice example in a callback --

Jaclynn Robinson 23:11

Communication -- talent in action.

Jim Collison 23:13

Yeah, right on. What else, what else can --

Jaclynn Robinson 23:14

I love that! I'm glad, actually, I'm really glad that you mentioned that example, too, because that "labeling it" piece is huge. Once you label the feeling, it no longer has a hold on you. Because now you've got an explanation for where it's coming from, and it's, Oh, OK.

Jim Collison 23:29

All of a sudden, you're like it's almost an out-of-body experience. You're like, Oh, I didn't realize, you know, you know, sometimes I'll even say, "Why is Jim feeling this way?" You know, kind of make it a third, a third-person experience a little bit, to separate the emotional piece from it and say, "What's going on in Jim's world that's causing this?" And just spend some time. I've also found getting in a different environment helps. So if I'm in a certain situation, even a place, getting up and moving to a different place to think about it kind of changes, kind of changes my emotional response to it. So what else? What other kinds of things can leaders, what can they do?

Jaclynn Robinson 24:10

That actually takes us to the next one that I had thought through and written down, and that was, just give yourself some space. Give yourself space to go walk. Walk into another room, walk outside. What some, some parents are doing is they're, they're taking their kids on a bike ride, and the kids are biking ahead, but it gives them that time to then think and process and reflect. So I know some parents are maybe hiding in a closet for 15 minutes just to try to get away from family and children. Give me some time! Just so that you've got that think time.

Jaclynn Robinson 24:46

But having the time to just pause and reflect and giving yourself that, that, that moment is imperative, I think, to being able to even have the time to label your feelings. If you're going, going, going you're not even taking a moment to ask yourself, "Why am I feeling this way?"

Jim Collison 25:01

How important are our coworkers, trusted advisers in this equation, too, with leaders?

Jaclynn Robinson 25:06

Yeah, I ask leaders who they have as constituents. Do you have a constituency? Who's in that circle? Who are your trusted advisers and colleagues, so to speak? I think it's incredibly important that they have people that they can go to if they're feeling uncertain about something, because those trusted colleagues know you, and, and they know if you need that additional information, and that's why you're antsy. Or maybe you're just lacking self-confidence in the moment, and they're giving you that extra pep in your step. So I think knowing who you can reach out to -- even having, you know, a close 2, 2 to 5, in your, in your circle, have that little social network, is really important.

Jim Collison 25:54

Justin says -- let me find his comment here really quick -- he says our daily, our daily walks are under lockdown. And they're providing so important to reflect, discuss side by side and refresh. I was thinking, you know, so say you can't even get out for like, out on the sidewalk. I sometimes, when I've been really struggling with something, just go in the car. Like sitting in the driveway, go out, sit in the car. And I could put music on if I wanted to, or listen to something. But that change of location sometimes is just enough to kind of push me over the edge. And then, to your point about accountability, this week, we, was the community calls for -- every two weeks, you know, we do kind of a coaching community call. We do it via Zoom, and Austin joined us this week. And Austin has become, for me, one of those trusted partners, right.

Jim Collison 26:44

And I get really anxious before these coaching calls. Now, Jaclynn, I've been doing this a long time. Like it's, I shouldn't be nervous.

Jaclynn Robinson 26:51

Not like this is your first rodeo.

Jim Collison 26:51

No. But I still get amped up about them. I still get nervous, I still get a little anxious, let's just put it that way. And Austin was so great, because we, he jumped on. He is so faithful to be on exactly a half an hour before we start these things. And so I got a 30 minutes with Austin and could kind of talk through it with him a little bit. It doesn't lock me up, we were gonna be fine. But it was a great opportunity, leader to leader, to have this conversation in the space and walk through some things and say, "Hey, I'm feeling this way." He knows; he's in the community with me. So I mentioned this, I think, in session 2, that I think oftentimes leaders don't create a strong enough coalition of other managers, of other leaders around them, because they're in the same, they're in the same spot. Do you see that, where they feel like they're out on an island?

Jaclynn Robinson 27:43

I do. I do. And -- yeah.

Jim Collison 27:47

Like, if they're on an island, how do you get off an island?

Jaclynn Robinson 27:51

Starting to identify -- so what I, this is actually, I'm glad this topic came up. This was helpful for one leader that I worked with that was trying to build those closer connections laterally. And so what, what ended up working for him was just putting it in his calendar; scheduling time in his calendar to connect with each of the various leaders that he, he worked with cross-functionally. As opposed to just letting the team take it on to give them visibility, he started to recognize that not being more present, by appearances, looked like he might not want to connect with them as deeply.

Jaclynn Robinson 28:30

So we were really able to lean into his Relator, and say, How can you deepen that relationship with those that you're working with? And for him, what works structurally, just in terms of how he plans his day, is using a calendar. So I think that's also important is, How do you tend to, to prompt yourself when you need to make sure that you're getting something done to hear what they say? For him, it was, Add it to my calendar. So he started just plugging in 30 minutes, drop in and say hi to such and such.

Jaclynn Robinson 29:00

So he would -- and to not make it look awkward, because that might come up, is, if I don't do this, how does that not look weird is where are you already connecting with them for, you know, asking them a question, sending them an email based on your cross-functional relationship and in the work that you have, and start off with something personal to say, "Hey, how are you? How was your, your weekend? You know, How was your kid's game? I overheard you talking about in a meeting the other day." And then get into that task piece. So that's what he did. And that really helped him start to build relationships with his colleagues and build that coalition that you're talking about.

Jim Collison 29:41

When I first started Gallup 13 years ago, my manager sat me down at one point. We used to take an internal, we called it ICE. It was an internal engagement survey that we take twice a year, give us a score on how we're doing with our internal partners. It's like a 3 -- it was like a component of a 360; it was really, really helpful. And I remember I had 7 raters, and my manager said, "Jim, I need to, I need to have you have a few more raters, like, you're not working with enough people is basically what she was saying to me. I know that seems odd as a Woo and some of those kinds of things with Communication, but I wasn't working with enough.

Jim Collison 30:14

One of the things, one of the strategies I deployed -- and I think this is super helpful for leaders -- is to go, in these conversations with other leaders and say, "How can I help you?" Like, you know, "What kind of things can I do to make your job better?" And have that conversation around, I might have some specific skill sets. The magic in, by the way, at the end of the story is the very last ICE I had the most raters in the whole company, which is pretty great. So --

Jaclynn Robinson 30:42

How many did you have? We're all curious.

Jim Collison 30:44

It was 100 and some -- yeah, it's a lot. It was like, well, it's the nature of the role that I do. I touch a lot of places in the organization now through the role that I'm currently in. But, but I got there by asking, "How do I help you? Like, how can I help you? How can I, what can I do for you?" No -- everybody, if you're taking, nobody wants to be taken from, right. Like, I don't want to -- it's like, "I need your time." "Well, I'm already too busy." But if I can work with you and help you, I will get that time, because nobody turns away help, usually, right? Not if you're, if you're in a great state of mind. So I think --

Jaclynn Robinson 31:21

Such a good question!

Jim Collison 31:22

Yeah, I just think it's a great lead. For both coaches -- you mentioned it; listen, we have our coaches say it, "How can I help you?" But I think for leaders, teaching them to, with other leaders -- with other folks outside of their org, outside of their department, whatever -- to just say, "Hey, how can I help you?" You know, and really establish those relationships.

Jim Collison 31:42

Hey, Kymm, had a great question -- I think I'm pronouncing that right. When a client is dealing with an overwhelming crisis at the moment, do you apply strengths to that now, then deal with the longer-term practice -- homelessness, in this case. Coaching versus social work, this idea of, when they're in crisis, and I think, listen, we can apply this too when they're having -- this is the idea of coaching versus counseling, as well, when we think about this. So we got a leader in crisis, not necessarily a work crisis. Your, your thoughts? What do we say about, how do we help in that place?

Jaclynn Robinson 32:17

I think we can help as coaches by looking at, walking them through their next steps. We, you know, because we're not social workers, or we might not be licensed psychologists, there's some things that we can't do. But how do we get them to that licensed psychologist or to that social worker, using their themes? So how can we get them to just take a deep breath and think more clearly about what's that next action they can take to feel more empowered?

Jaclynn Robinson 32:44

So I would probably have their, well, what I know I would do is I'd have their themes in front of me, and then just have them highlight what is, you know, the, the biggest crisis that you're focusing right now? It sounds like they would have already shared it out. And then say, you know, as we look at your themes here, what theme do you think would best support you in that next step that you need to take? If you know them very well, and they already know their themes, and they're just so top-of-mind for them, you might just say, "Thinking about how you've managed crisis situations before, what does that look like?" So go right back to studying a success and get them out of the weeds. And then you can hear them and hear what they're saying. And maybe you're either bringing out the themes that you think you're hearing, to say, "Sounds like you were using Activator, you know, you just you just dove in and got right into the middle of that crisis. Is that something that you could do now? How could you dive into support you in this moment in time?" So I think we can use themes to help them get to that next step to get the support they need. I hope that makes sense to everybody.

Jim Collison 33:48

Yeah, I think it can be "both and." Sometimes, you know, when people are struggling, they can't listen. They can't hear. They can't think. So I think there are some circumstances where, and I think this is kind of what you said, where we need to get them help. Like, it's, it's not a time to attach themes to actions when they're bleeding. You need to get them medical help, right? I know that's an extreme example, and nobody would do that. But, but I think sometimes, and this kind of blends into this, this other question about How do you suggest you manage negative emotions from a manager who may be feeling like they're not getting enough trust? They're not, they haven't earned the respect or the trust of their team. This is super frustrating for a manager when they're working on a team that is now working against them, doesn't like them, an may, maybe because they've been put in a difficult circumstance from the management above them, right? They're in that management pinch. So when we think about that, any advice on how to suggest those, or how to kind of work on those negative emotions that may come from that situation?

Jaclynn Robinson 34:52

Two things come to mind. The first is, what's the "why"? What is the "why" behind the team feeling, feeling like that and lashing out at the manager? Does the, the manager or leader need to be more transparent, even if it's just to say, "I don't know what I don't know right now, because I'm still waiting to hear from leadership." Is it because they're doing more telling than allowing the team to even have feedback and feel like they're valued and their opinions are heard? Are they being recognized? So as a coach, you might be able to, and that's where the 360 can also come in handy. And a 360, you could just create those questions yourself -- and ask for permission from the leader to go to their list of maybe 5 or 6 folks that they want you to connect with -- to see, are you hearing some feedback that you could then tie into the talent themes and work with them through?

Jaclynn Robinson 35:46

The second piece that comes to mind is coming down the pipeline, I believe in our next session, and that's with Dr. Brian Brim, who's talking about the 4 Needs of Followers: hope, trust, stability and compassion. And, and that he'll, I think, being able to highlight those to a leader too, to say, Do they trust you? This is what trust looks like to, to followers? Are you offering them hope? Are you compassionate? Are you creating some stability for them in this time, where it's very uncertain? So please stay tuned for that one. Because that, that will be a deep dive.

Jim Collison 36:23

So Kymm follows up. She says, Thanks. In this case, they have social workers. So your comments lead me to want to help them apply themselves to the plan that they have with their social worker. Man, that is a great combo. Like, right, being able to partner with the individual, I could --

Jaclynn Robinson 36:41

Thank you for the additional context.

Jim Collison 36:42

No, that is, that is great, because I think that's important that we, as coaches, we partner with where they're getting help, whether that's emotional help or physical help, you know, for somebody who's trying to work and is in physical pain all the time, and kind of thinking about like, OK, what does that mean to them? And how are they managing that? And then partnering with their healthcare to say, OK, what, what kind of plan are you on? How are we doing this? How can we arrange your world -- of course, I'm Arranger No. 1, so I always think in that terms, but -- how can we arrange your world to make sure we're also helping your physical therapy in a way that makes it a very positive experience, Right? Would you add anything to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 37:21

No, I'm such a champion for integrated care. So I, I love that. And that's where everyone I think is wanting to start shifting. We see organizations are starting to have their shifts and then societywide, integrated care is, is really taking, taking on.

Jim Collison 37:37

Yeah, yeah, no, and I think it's a --

Jaclynn Robinson 37:39

Best way to give that holistic approach to helping someone heal.

Jim Collison 37:43

No, I think, sorry, for interrupting you there.

Jaclynn Robinson 37:45

Oh, no. I did the same. We both have Activator. Do you see what happens?

Jim Collison 37:50

We do. We do. Yeah, but that's OK. You just keep talking or you stop talking. You get it kind of figured out. Any other advice you'd give to leaders before we kind of wrap this up?

Jaclynn Robinson 38:02

What else did I -- let's see if I added anything different. Yes! So one thing, get accountability partners. And as a leader, ask the -- I wrote down that, the question specifically: "How do you want me to remind you when I notice X, Y and Z?" So as, find an accountability partner, and give them that question: "How do you want me to remind you when I see or notice X, Y and Z?" Because we all might have those friends or colleagues that are accountability partners to us, and they share out, and we don't want to hear it. We already just had this conversation. Sometimes we're just being difficult. We don't want to hear it. So that actually allows permission, it's, How do you want to hear me being your accountability partner? What's going to work best for you? And that triggers you too, so whenever they're asking that question, you're back in that safe zone of, Yeah, this is something that I reminded them to tell me about. So that -- those were my, my 5 that I wrote down.

Jim Collison 39:04

I'll give you a little, I'll give you a little feedback. Craig says, I've been, I've listened to a lot of Called to Coach sessions. This has been the best! So --

Jaclynn Robinson 39:12

Thanks, Craig!

Jim Collison 39:13

There you go. Man, Jaclynn's -- you know, I think on your point about accountability partners, and one, just kind of think one thing I've learned over the years, over the 50 years, I've been doing this. I was, I had somebody kind of trying to hold me accountable for something, and I said, "Yeah, but I just don't want to do it." Like, "I know I need to do this. I'm not gonna, though. I'm just gonna be really clear. I'm not gonna." And the response was so great. Like, "OK." You know, and I kind of needed, like, I needed to, it needed to be OK for me to push back just in a moment: It's just not the right time. It's not the right place. I think sometimes we get a little too crazy, as we think about this accountability, of holding -- like, that now becomes a job in itself, and the person needs to -- some grace in that way. If they say they're not going to do it, OK, let's move on. And you can, you know, you can ask about why. "OK, well tell me why. Tell me what's, tell me where that's coming from."

Jim Collison 40:12

But I think sometimes that, that idea of accountability, you know, then you start avoiding them. Because they just start grinding on you. Like, OK, OK, here it is, did you do it? Did you do it? Did you do it? You know? And you're like, "OK, I'm just gonna stop talking to you." Right? It defeats the whole purpose of accountability. So I think in those spaces, yeah. Would you add anything to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 40:35

That's perfect. I think playing devil's advocate piece is nice, because you're also showing the other side. And that goes back to, Know, know who you want to be your accountability partner -- friends, family or colleagues that know the right moments also allow for the grace and aren't just there constantly bugging you like that, that devil on your shoulder.

Jim Collison 40:57

Jaclynn, if somebody wanted this, we, we've mentioned a couple times the 360 concept. And that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. If folks wanted to engage with us around this idea of the 360, we don't have, that's a whole nother, and maybe we should talk about that in another, in another episode coming up. But if they wanted to engage with us, what's the best way to do that? Because certainly, we have some of that; we don't have necessarily a tool that we sell around that. But talk a little bit about that, from a Gallup perspective.

Jaclynn Robinson 41:29

In terms of what we do at Gallup with the 360s?

Jim Collison 41:31

Yeah, with the 360. Yeah.

Jaclynn Robinson 41:32

So typically, we'll, and we set this up with, with our coaching packages too. Whenever it comes to leadership, it's something that we like to have, if we have a long-term coaching relationship with them. And we will create a list of, I would say about 11 questions that we have as stakeholder interviews. And we approach the leader in that initial first intake session, coaching session, to say, you know, Do you have a list of -- it can be anywhere from 8 to 10. You want at least 5; 6 is really that minimum, so you, so you're getting a great, holistic perspective of how this person is showing up. But if they come up with a list of up to 10 folks, we want them to be direct reports; want them to be colleagues that they work with closely; their supervisor; if they have someone that's above their supervisor that's a leader, that is very helpful. But who are the people, even in different departments that work closely with them, we want those on board.

Jaclynn Robinson 42:36

So who are the 10 that are in that "net" of folks that you're constantly interacting with? And then we set up interviews that typically take about 20 minutes to go through those 11 questions, to ask the stakeholders that they had on that list, you know, what are 3 words that you would use to describe this, this leader? What do they do really well? What are some challenges that you've recognized within this person that we could support them with? If you think about their growth and development, what might be most helpful to them? And I'm just throwing some loose questions out there. But typically, that's what you're getting into.

Jim Collison 43:18

You know, Lisa says she's surprised we don't have a tool. Let me be really clear: We have a tool that we use when we use engagements, when, when people engage with us. So if your, if your organization is interested in kind of a comprehensive 360 process, including strengths and engagement, of course they contact us. That's kind of part of what we do with them. You can send us an email:, and we can get you hooked up with somebody to do that. I think what we have found in our work is that, that 360 is more than just a process. It's kind of partnering with the organization to figure out, What are you trying to do? Like, what kind of process do you have today? Where are you going? What kind of opportunities? Which communications channels? How's your leadership hierarchy? Those all lend themselves to really some work on, for us to come in and say, All right, here's the best way to do this, in our experience, in helping them with performance and helping them with strengths, we're helping them with engagement and wellbeing and all those pieces. So, so --

Jaclynn Robinson 44:17

We match them into the competencies that we see, our 7 competencies. Whether you're an individual contributor, manager or leader, you all have to build relationships. You're all probably developing people to some degree, and so forth. So we'll look at themes connected to that too.

Jim Collison 44:30

Kind of based on the organization -- how they're set up, how they want it done, what do they already have in place; a lot of those pieces. So that, we do that consulting. Again, if you're an organization that you're interested in talking about that, send us an email: We can help with that as well. Jaclynn, I think we've gone through what we need to. Anything else you'd add before I kind of wrap it up? Final thoughts?

Jaclynn Robinson 44:52

No, that was it on, on my end. I hope this was helpful to you all. I know, when I first started in executive coaching, I had been so used to individual contributor coaching sessions, manager coaching sessions, and it was so different going into the executive coaching realm, and what their concerns are. So hopefully this was helpful, especially if you're starting out in executive coaching, to know what they primarily come to you for. So if there's certain subject matters that you want to study up on -- negotiating, you know, organizational restructuring, now you have that opportunity. And then you can, you can feed some of those resources over to your leaders as well.

Jim Collison 45:32

All right. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now through Gallup Access. And if you haven't been out there in a while, go to Log in and then go to the upper left-hand corner, drop the menu down. You're, for a Certified Coach, all your learning is there, right? All your kits and all that great stuff is there. We've spent, oh, I don't know, most of the fourth quarter building out our resources area inside of access. So click on the Resources tab and then there's a Search bar. You can find a lot of great stuff in there. We've been loading all the Called to Coach and Theme Thursdays in there as well. So if you want to find them inside Access, you can get that done. Love to have you visit that as well. Head out to For coaching, master coaching or to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, you can send us an email, and many of you have been. Send us a, send us an email: Stay up with all these events. You mentioned the one we have with Brian Brim. I think we're a couple weeks out with that. We're getting that scheduled right now. Oh actually, it just hit Eventbrite. So, go to Gallup. -- yeah, go to Follow us. Create an account and follow us; you'll get a notification every time I post something new. Listen, Brian Brim is the, he's the man. Like this guy is awesome. We were lucky to have him on here and lucky to get his time to be able to come on. You're going to want to show up for that webcast. Again, I think it's 2 weeks coming up from now. Check out Eventbrite, and Make sure you get registered for that one, because it's gonna be, it's gonna be -- I love Brian, by the way.

Jaclynn Robinson 46:57

It's a good one. And we know more change is coming. We know people are starting to get a little anxiety because they're going to have to enter the workplace soon. So more instability is coming. So his 4 Needs of Followers topic's gonna be really helpful for any of you coaching managers or leaders.

Jim Collison 47:13

It is, and he kind of wrote the book on sales for strengths. So he's a pretty great guy around that. We're excited to announce the 2021 Virtual Summit as well. Some of you maybe haven't signed up for that -- You can do that right now -- June 8th and 9th of 2021. Details are at Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths." And we want to thank you for joining us today. We'll do a little bit, if you're listening live, we'll do a smidge of postshow. But with that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Jaclynn Robinson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity and Relator.

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

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