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Called to Coach
Context®: Developing Your Leadership Skills
Called to Coach

Context®: Developing Your Leadership Skills

Webcast Details

  • Gallup CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2: Context
  • What is the power of Context in a leadership role?
  • How could Context help or hinder you in leading others?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.


Explore Gallup's CliftonStrengths® for Leaders Report and discover its ability to help you maximize the impact of your -- and others' -- unique leadership talents and strengths, in this Season 2 episode of The CliftonStrengths Podcast. Join Jim Collison and Dr. Jaclynn Robinson as they discuss the Context® theme, its power in a leadership role, how it can help or hinder you as you lead others, and how you can leverage it with the CliftonStrengths for Managers and CliftonStrengths for Sales Reports. Unlock the leadership potential of your Context talent -- because everyone leads something.


With their knowledge of history, practices, people, purpose of the organization, this leader can help [others] really understand what the core values and mission of the company are, and keep it top of mind for everyone.

Jaclynn Robinson, 2:55

A favorite coaching question for this leader might be asking, Well, what did past success look like for you? Or How have you overcome something similar in the past?

Jaclynn Robinson, 12:11

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2, recorded on December 20, 2022.

Jim Collison 0:06
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast series, we look at the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report one theme at a time, and today's theme is Context. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in chat, or after the fact you can send us your questions: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Gallup Learning and Development Consultant and joined me for Season 1 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, where we looked at Wellbeing at Work for each of the themes, one theme at a time there. And Jaclynn, great to see you. And welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:48
Hello! Thank you.

Introducing Context

Jim Collison 0:50
We are spending some time looking at Context. Let's kind of get that overview, that definition out there.

Jaclynn Robinson 0:57
All right. Well, individuals with Context enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.

What Is the Power of Context in a Leadership Role?

Jim Collison 1:04
And when we think about this, we're spending this season really kind of diving into the Leaders Report -- CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report. And what is the power of this theme, do you think, in a leadership role?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:16
Yeah, a leader with Context enjoys understanding what's worked well and what hasn't. From there, they can build off of successful outcomes or processes to create some consistency in workflow or workplace practices. And that creates stability for their employees. Because those processes and systems are in place, versus constantly changing, changing everything.

Jim Collison 1:36
Do you think -- we just spent some time with Futuristic, and now we're looking forward -- now we're looking back with Context, right? Do you think those individuals, especially in leadership roles, and we're going to talk about success of this theme here in a second, but that struggle is you're always looking back? Right? Why are you always looking back? Do you think, do you think they hear that a lot in some of their, you know, some say you're always looking too far ahead. And this one, maybe looking too far back? Any thoughts on that?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:06
Yes. Yes. And I think once we get into the hindrances too, we'll, we'll certainly be, be touching on that. But that can be something that they hear. "Well, it looks like the marketplace is starting to switch gears; are we gonna go there anytime soon?" "Why? What we're doing is working just fine!" So there might be that, that struggle, they, they sometimes have to actually move forward, just like someone with Futuristic might struggle to maintain some processes or systems, to keep some stability in the workplace, and because it works.

How Can Those With Context Lead Others?

Jim Collison 2:42
I think for leaders, there's equal power that we see from Futuristic in Context of the important value that the past brings. Let's talk a little bit about that. So how could this theme lead others?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:55
Well, with their knowledge of history, practices, people, purpose of the organization, this leader can help them really understand what the core values and mission of the company are, and keep it top of mind for everyone. So when you have that kind of historical piece, it feels, you know, those traditions are coming to life. And employees and customers alike might feel more grounded and drawn towards a company that stands on this hearty foundation of, This is where we came from; this is who we are. They typically are that constant reminder.

Jim Collison 3:27
I mentioned in the Futuristic session, we talked about leaders, and I think you maybe sparked this, telling great stories about inspiring. How important is that same storytelling technique in looking back, do you think, as far as inspiring others, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 3:44
It's good. I just was working with an organization yesterday, and they still storytell about their leader who started the company and had just quite an incredible life. And that helps the employee base feel a lot of pride in the creation of the company, how it was founded, the great work they're doing. And so I think when someone high in Context does have the ability to communicate, you know, the benefits or the people behind the company or the core value system behind the company or the family tradition, if it's family owned, it helps people lead with pride. Like, Ooh, this is what we stand for. This is who we are.

Jim Collison 4:23
Yeah, that, that inspiring, you know, that work of inspiring others to, like, this is the foundation from which we started on. And, and, you know, there's, there's, I think it's, I think it's a really important skill. Like, I don't think just knowing the past gets you there. I think it's weaving in an inspiring story that contextually matters and the situation that you're in that leads people to positive action, productive action. That seems easy, like, oh, yeah, you know, that's just the, this, if we think back, you know, 50 years, whatever, type deal, I don't think that just naturally happens. I think those with high Context have that ability to pull that up. Again, it takes a skill to begin to tell that story, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 5:15
Yes. In a way that's engaging.

Jim Collison 5:17
Yeah. Yeah. Yes.

Jaclynn Robinson 5:21
Because otherwise it could feel very dry. But when it's engaging, it's just, it's like sitting around a campfire. You just want it, you're drawn to hear that, that person speak in their story.

How Could Context Hinder Your Leadership of Others?

Jim Collison 5:33
Yeah. I went to, I went to, here in Omaha, I went to see a special speaker. I won't mention his name, but he was one of the two founders of Apple computers whose name wasn't Steve Jobs. And he, he was, he, they asked him, you know, So just tell us a little bit about yourself. And an hour and 30 minutes later, he was in high school. So he had told us about being born and grade school and some, and all, you know, a lot of the cool stuff that, that Steve Wozniak had done was, was post-high school, right? I mean, and some really, really interesting stuff and for that crowd. And so that's a good, like, situational awareness. Like they weren't really, Steve, they weren't really asking about, you know, your childhood. We kind of wanted to know -- it was a STEM thing, like, tell us some things. So that doesn't always guarantee either, right? Let's, OK, that's a good hindrance. So as we think about how can this, how can this theme also hinder the leadership of others?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:31
As we had kind of teased out earlier, too great of a focus or, or lean on the past can lead employees or customers to question whether change or innovation is even welcomed. So as much as they might appreciate core values and tradition, someone that is high in Context also needs to ensure that they're moving the organization forward, and that they're ready for the future. So I think, as we think about, well, what, what can we do, if this is the struggle? Is, is there a senior colleague or someone around that appreciates this individual's point of view, but enjoys thinking about the future or what could be? And they can help kind of communicate that across to the larger organization or maybe the larger team and highlight those, those benefits of why the change is necessary to that person with Context. So they have to get them just as comfortable with the change before they go and communicate that to the organization.

Jim Collison 7:25
We may think too that teams that are high in Context may also use that same inspiration, looking back to inspire yourself to move forward, could be hindered by always looking back. Like, Oh, but we had this -- and this is the hard part about this, Jaclynn, I think, because you never really know -- in the moment, you don't know if looking back is going to be helpful, or if it's going to hinder. Like, this is the hard part of some of these things. I think sometimes we think oh, no, if we just always look back, it'll tell us the truth. Or if we never look back, then we'll never be hindered by it. Doesn't always work that way. Right? I mean, it doesn't always, there's no right answer from that. Certainly the past can influence us in a way and give us some answers about what the future could be. But it's not always going to be, it's not always going to be right or inspiring from, from that perspective. And so I think, in leadership, it's important that we just don't drill down on this single, like, we drill down on this single thing. Right. But that we're -- go ahead. Go ahead and finish that, finish that "look at."

Jaclynn Robinson 8:32
Yeah, look at a range of factors. So that might be or is a piece of the pie, but not all of the pie.

Jim Collison 8:39
Yeah. Cause you could be right, it, based on the scenario, you could be right and wrong at the same time. Like, that's a frustrating thing about this sometimes. Cause you're like, that should have worked. Well, it kind of did. But it kind of didn't, you know. And having that awareness, having that 360 awareness of what's going on around you, and more than just looking back, more than just the historical context of -- we've all spent a lot of time, you know, as we record this in, in December of 2022, we've been talking about an impending recession that's coming, right? We've been talking and talking. It's still not here yet, in some regards. It's having an effect in some areas and such, but, you know, could, you know, is it -- I think we wonder, Will this happen like the last one? Will it not? What should we do? Nobody, the answers aren't clear, right? And I think this is where, really where leaders can step in then -- provide that, as we think about the, the needs of those that they're leading, right. I asked you this question during Futuristic, and as we think about those needs, those that we're leading, those are the 4 Needs, answer that for me. Where do you think Context, what does it provide? Of course, it's, maybe all 4 of them, but what do you think strongly? Where does it help with those needs of followers?

Jaclynn Robinson 9:59
I think of Trust and Stability, just in terms of their way to help create pride in the organization by, you know, if they're the leader of the organization or a key leader, helping people see where they came from, what that, that hearty foundation is, so there's Trust and Stability in the workforce. It could lend itself to Compassion. Because if they've studied prior events, and they've seen how that's impacted people in the, you know, just the way it's torn apart their mental or emotional or physical state, they can go Ooh, yeah, I can only imagine what that feels like, because they've studied those prior events. Hope, in the sense, if they are hopeful about something that's happened in the past, and they're seeing it play out again, they might be able to use that as a, Well, this could get better. We could see a different outcome, and just kind of help them see it from a different angle -- get them out of that rut that they're in.

How Can You Use Context as You Lead, Together With the Managers and Sales Reports?

Jim Collison 11:03
Yeah, we've seen this before. We've seen this before, and we've weathered this storm with this, right, of bringing that Hope. Yeah, no, there's some great -- I'm glad -- we didn't plan it this way, but I'm really glad we spent those two, we put those two together in this Context of doing this today. For those who are listening to the podcast, we recorded these together -- we record a Futuristic and then Context right after it. And so a kind of a nice coincidence. Of course, the Context folks are like, Oh, yeah, you know, we saw that happening from the past. And the Futuristic folks are like, Oh, yeah, I saw this one coming in the future. So good stuff. No, just a total accident. And our Connectedness friends are saying, "There's no accidents." When we think about, when we think about the Sales Report, then, let's do some report dynamics. Using the CliftonStrengths for Leaders and the CliftonStrengths for Sales Reports together, what might that look like?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:02
You kind of hinted at it, because you just had a question that someone with Context might ask. I think someone that enjoys studying the past and has, you know, Context high, a favorite coaching question for this leader might be asking, Well, what did past success look like for you? Or How have you overcome something similar in the past? And they can help leaders and teams think through this and influence outcomes in a positive way. So this might be less on influencing the person and more on helping influence the outcomes that that person might be struggling with. And then from a true sales perspective, this leader is likely going to want to understand the problem that that prospect or client is coming to them with. Some folks in sales might skip ahead and not put too much consideration into the problem. But I think this is where Context is really going to shine is to ask what is that problem so that they can really identify some factors that can, so they can identify those factors, and really just start to think about, this might be an appropriate solution for you.

Jim Collison 13:02
In the case-study format that we often use on Called to Coach, the, when we're interviewing clients, we say, Well, what was the problem? And you have to look back from a contextual standpoint, to say, you know, what were we experiencing? And what did we want to change? And I think that's a good, a good, as you think about it, again, these reports, as we look at them together, it's really your job to go in. They have a section on success and a section on hinders that we just covered, and then one on some action items to take two. And you may be able to take two of those action items and ram them together for, like, Oh, this is what I'm going to do. By the way, if you need help setting goals, although as you listen to this in the podcast, you're in February, at this point. If you're listening to it, you just absolutely -- isn't that crazy? (We are in the future!) But there's some great opportunities to ram those together for goal setting, which you really should be doing all year long, which is really just performance management. But that being said, let's take the Manager Report. And now the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report. What that, what could that look like together?

Jaclynn Robinson 14:07
I think these folks are really good with succession planning. I think they keep that top of mind because they are interested in oftentimes who's been in the role previously, what worked, what didn't work, what training did they receive? What training should we, you know, incorporate, because it didn't work as well last time? And then they can standardize a learning program or a development approach that is easier for employees that come after them. Also, because they probably know who the tenured folks are in the organization, they can be a really good liaison and connect those tenured employees with those that are seeking a mentor. So a couple of just, you know, golden nuggets that I think someone high in Context could do well in that manager role.

Jim Collison 14:51
Yeah. And love to hear from you if you're high in Context, and you've got access to both those reports, of how, what, when you, when you think about using them together in a, in a setting, How is that working for you? Whether that's in coaching or if you're a current manager, or even if you're, if you're, if you're on a team, if you're an individual contributor on a team, what does that look like? We're spending this season thinking about leaders, but that, I think everybody leads something at some point in time. So maybe think of that in the context of something that you lead. Jaclynn, final thoughts, as we kind of close out Context here?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:28
Ooh, well, I appreciate these folks. It is, it is, as we mentioned, it is one of the least common themes we see in our database. So anytime I see someone that has this theme high, I always really welcome them to cherish it, embrace it, bring it forward on the team. And for teams that just have this one person that might have it or two people that have it, I really encourage them to be attuned to that individual and to listen to what they have to say, because they can bring forward a different perspective that we don't often see. I think that's what I would have to say. I know I certainly appreciate it, because it's, Futuristic is high; Context is low. So I need these people.

Jim Collison 16:12
As an, as an interviewer, it's, it's one of my favorite themes to interview. Like I love, for someone who has a strong Context view and can pull those stories together. And it's easy, it's the easiest, I think it's, in some, it's some of the easiest to interview. So appreciate that, and some good thoughts available with that as well. Well, we want to remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have around Context, or with Context -- Mark, you'll appreciate that! They're available in Gallup Access. You can visit Hit the menu in the upper left. Choose Resources. There's a search bar; put in the theme that you want -- any theme. All the resources we have associated with them, or many of them, are there as well. Stay up to date with all the webcasts by following us on Eventbrite, -- Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths." And we want to thank you for listening today. If you enjoyed it, we'd ask that you'd share it. Hit the Like and Subscribe, so you never miss an episode. And thanks for joining us today. For those of you who are listening live, stay around for one more midshow. 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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