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Called to Coach
How Strengths Can Unlock Leaders' Potential
Called to Coach

How Strengths Can Unlock Leaders' Potential

Webcast Details

  • What role can CliftonStrengths play in nurturing leadership?
  • How can leaders foster an environment of stability and trust through strengths?
  • What can leaders do to better leverage the strengths of others, in order to fill in the gaps in their own leadership?

Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 11, Episode 32

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


As leaders look to the challenges and opportunities a new year provides, how can they (and their coaches) nurture their leadership to a greater degree through their CliftonStrengths®? How can they better leverage the strengths of others -- including their fellow leaders -- to complement their own strengths and be more effective? How can they foster trust and stability on their teams as they appreciate each person for who they are and what they bring? Join Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches Sylvia Li and Maggie Nie and gain a firmer grasp on the promise that 2024 offers.


What a leader needs is to bring your team with you by the passion [about strengths] ... you're demonstrating.

Sylvia Li, 10:23

The team strengths session is the most useful thing, when we talk about building trust.

Maggie Nie, 17:39

Change is going to happen. Stability doesn't mean no change.

Sylvia Li, 24:24

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on August 22, 2023.

Meet Our Guests on This Episode

Jim Collison 0:19
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals and teams around the world. Sylvia Li and Maggie Nie are my guests today. Sylvia is a highly respected and sought-after executive coach, business and talent strategy adviser, organizational development expert and seasoned facilitator. Sylvia brings to her clients over 20 years of sustained impact from her regional and global leadership and talent management roles in global corporations. She became a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach earlier this year. And Sylvia, welcome to the program!

Sylvia Li 0:58
Thank you for having me, Jim.

Jim Collison 1:00
Great to have you. Maggie has had a rich experience in HR for over 24 years in multinational companies, 10 years' experience in global HR center of expertise and 10 years of coaching experience at Accenture. And she has been an Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach since October of 2021. And Maggie, welcome to the program!

Maggie Nie 1:20
Hi, Jim! Thank you for having me here. Thank you.

Jim Collison 1:23
It is great to have you. It's great to have both of you. Thanks for coming. Sylvia, let's start with you. Let's get to know you a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your background, kind of how you came to CliftonStrengths, as well as a little bit about your coaching experience.

Sylvia Li 1:36
Right. I was qualified for Gallup strengths earlier on this year. So I'm sort of a newbie in qualification. However, I got in touch with the tool many years back, as I was, I was using the tool too for my personal development. I fell in love with it at first sight. I think that's really encouraging and taking individual development from a different spin at that time, where people were more focusing on the weaknesses per se, what can I do to fill that gap? Rather than putting a little bit more emphasis on what I'm good at, and how do I make the best of it? So that was really, really refreshing. And that was probably like 10 years back. I did a second one more recently. And I said, you know, I really have to get to the end of it and understand how it works, because it's so good. And I wish more of my friends, my colleagues would be able to appreciate a little bit more of that.

Sylvia Li 2:37
On the coaching side, I got in touch with coaching probably over 20, 20 years ago, when I was in my learning and development role. So at that time, my company taking the front foot, and, again, in people and leadership development. And there was a mandate that all people managers need to be approach -- taking a coaching approach. And therefore, we had a companywide campaign around getting understanding and, you know, practicing coaching. And the story gets on from that point on, and I got myself qualified and practiced a little bit more in my in-house and external role as well. Three years back, I decided to, you know, wake up one day and say, Maybe I should have my own business. So now I'm running my own consulting company and practicing a little bit more on executive coaching as my full-time role.

Jim Collison 3:31
Sylvia, you just went through the process, and we recently changed it -- the questions stayed the same, but there's still 100 questions. How did you feel about taking that exam? And -- it went OK, obviously, but how'd you get, how'd you get through that?

Sylvia Li 3:48
It's still the same core, I believe. It is still the same sort of principles and values of how people would appreciate what they're really good at. Maybe one or two questions or the spin might be a little bit different, but the concept is still there. So I really didn't actually think much about now and then, but it continues to enhance the sort of my understanding and appreciation of the tool.

Jim Collison 4:14
Yeah. Great. Great. Thank you. It's great to meet you. Maggie, let's do that with you as well -- a little bit about you and your own strengths journey and then a little bit about your coaching.

Maggie Nie 4:25
Yeah, thank you, Jim. I think the first time I took the strengths assessment was about 2007. That is only Top 5, because I was in a hi-po program, high-potential program. Then I got my Top 5, but unfortunately, I didn't, I didn't really go deep. So then in 2013, it was, it was a great opportunity to know something about coaching. I was in a coaching workshop, by global team. And at that time, I didn't realize how strengths will help me to do a better job in coaching. And then, I think back into 2015, the strengths assessment was, was, like, launched in the entire company. And I was the first, I was the first appellate -- badge, actually. I got opportunity to take the assessment again. I got my full report. And the most important thing, I think -- that is a turning point, actually -- I was invited in a strengths coaching session. I was so interested in that. I don't know what is that, but I was so, I mean, it's amazing, actually. It's really helped me to understand why strengths works and how it helps me to do my better job and to be better, better careers, actually.

Maggie Nie 5:55
So after that, I really go deep into strengths. And, you know, I was a coach already at that moment. So I embedded strengths to my coaching session with executives and with people. But of course, I'm not certified at, at that moment. And, but it's so fun. I mean, people love strengths. And they talk, when they talk about strengths, they're getting excited, and they're so confident; they're so happy about that. So I feel like, Oh, my God, it's so interesting. So I even spent more time on strengths.

Maggie Nie 6:29
And then, I think, a couple of years later, I become full time. I got a full-time job working on strengths in the global team, you know, how amazing it was, right? I was like, Oh, my God, it's so good! So I spent a lot of time on strengths and talking strengths with people. And then, finally, in 2022, I got opportunity to be certified. You know, you never know how, how excited I was, you know, oh, that. I said, I appreciate a lot for my leaders' decision, because I looked forward to this opportunity for a long time. So after that, I did hundreds of strengths coaching sessions for leaders, for colleagues, for teams. And it's, it's, especially for those people who are going through new, new changes, like, like, new roles, leading a new team, whatever. So I think that is really helpful. And meanwhile, I also found out the team strengths session helps leaders a lot. So you see, I really like, I really understand how the strengths helps us, helps our leaders to do a better job and to be a better person. And that's, that's about strengths. Of course, we can talk about the strengths all the time, right.

The Role of Strengths in Nurturing Leadership

Jim Collison 7:53
Exactly. And Maggie, those were exciting times for Gallup, as we were working with Accenture in those days (we still are), and, and, and some exciting times for us as well. So good to hear it was exciting for you. Let's stay on that topic. And Maggie, let's stay with you. As we think about the role strengths play in nurturing leadership, you just mentioned that. Can you talk a little bit about the, that, the value of that in leader, in, in leadership?

Maggie Nie 8:19
Yeah, it's a great help out for sure. Because for strengths, where we talk about strengths, definitely helps people to know themselves better. That is for sure. Especially when they are facing challenges. And it's, I mean, in the past, like, 3 or 4 years, we were in COVID, right? So it's uncertain, and it's really hard time for people. So it's really helped them to build up the resilience, actually. And, and it's so important for leaders to be resilience, and, resilient, and also lead a team that entire team to be resilient. So talk about the strengths not only helping this, the person himself, but also the entire team to know better and to, like, even know how to collaborate together, how to partner together with the others. So the leaders become more inclusive, actually. And definitely they encourage better collaboration in a team and without, out of the team, so it's easier for them to build up, like, trusted relationship with the team. It's actually in the hard time, definitely they are lock, unlocking the potential of people, right. So by the end of day, it helps them to be more, to be more engaged and also that to be a great leader.

Jim Collison 9:46
Yeah. Yeah, I love that. What I hear, what I hear in you is oftentimes giving the leader the language to be able to coach, to be able to work with, to be able to empower those they're working with, right. It gives them that language to do that. Sylvia, you've heard what Maggie said. What would you add to that?

Sylvia Li 10:06
What Maggie said makes a lot of sense. And let me say this. As talk, as Maggie was talking about strengths, her whole face lit up. She was so passionate. I cannot help but going with her, right? So she's, I was nodding along. It's like, yeah, yeah, yeah! So this is exactly what a leader needs is to bring your team with you by the passion you're displaying, you're demonstrating to your team. And the whole concept of strengths is very positive. It's based on positivity. It's based on what you are good at and make the best of it. Now, we're not ignoring things that you're not good at. But the question is, Have you maximized? Have you made the best of what you're already inborn with, already in your toolbox?

Sylvia Li 10:50
And, and I believe strengths actually should apply to everybody. But for somebody in a leadership role, where problems are more complex, the horizon, the universe is more challenging at times, then the role model needs to be even more prominent, if you like. So if we were translating resilience, for example, positivity, hope, trust, etc., then, for a leader to display that kind of passion is even more important. When you can set that example, people would say, Hey, look, the guy is still smiling, and, you know, keeping calm and talking positive rather than negative at, in times of uncertainty, for example. That instills a lot of hope in people. And that's what a leader needs to do.

Leaders, CliftonStrengths, and Trust in the Organization

Jim Collison 11:42
I love that. That's a great way to look at it. I think, and Sylvia, let me ask you this question on trust. And you both mentioned the word resilience. And I think sometimes people can only come back or be resilient when they trust the process. So Sylvia, in the work that you've done, and thinking about CliftonStrengths and this idea of trust, can -- and maybe you've one, an example, if you've got one off the top of your head, but think about how, how does CliftonStrengths bring in this element for the leader and for their teams of trust in the organization too?

Sylvia Li 12:16
Sure. Let me, let me give you an example of an executive that I have worked with over, probably 4 years now. I don't like the word, use the word typical, but he is a typical, sort of what people think a leader should project: Futuristic®, Achiever®, you know, Strategic®, everything that a leadership program would have you to take heart in. Oh, you have to be good at all these things. He is not as strong in his relational skills. So the leader is well aware of that. And he is totally buy-in; actually, he is the one that, one of the leaders that I do not need to convince him about strengths as a tool. It's like, Yep, I know about this. I want to use this. And he came up with this. And he's like, OK, that's me; makes a lot of sense. So you know what I'm not good at. So, like, How can I talk to my people and instill trust in them? At that point, he has got a team of very smart people. But only one thing lacking, and you know what -- it's, it's trust amongst the team. And he said, "How can I instill that?" And I said, "Well, do you think that would happen? Do you trust the system though?" First of all, you have to display what you believe is going to happen? And with your Futuristic and all these strengths, how can you make that happen?

Sylvia Li 13:40
So turning into, at the first set, he might say, "I'm not good at certain things" into, "How can we make that happen still?" And with his Achiever, Input®, etc., he was able to find a path and at least convincing himself. So he has to feel and display trust from himself first -- I trust I can do that. I trust the system. And then he would at least share his experience, his feelings with people. Before going out and do anything new, just tell people how you feel, how you get through that hurdle, if you like. And then people would see the authenticity and a bit of vulnerability, because he's such a prominent leader figure, in many, many sense, in the concept that we have in our mind. And therefore, for his team to see that, well, he's really a smart guy. I did a 360 interview, and everybody says, He's very smart, but, you know, talking to him is very difficult, and all these things. But then to see that human side of him, just by himself trusting the system, that's important.

Leveraging the Strengths of Others to Fill in Leadership Gaps

Jim Collison 14:51
Yeah, to see the human side of that -- and you mentioned to, to say, You know what? There are some things I'm not good at. I think over the years, we've had some pressure on managers, that they had to be good at everything. And they couldn't show any weaknesses, right? They couldn't show any vulnerabilities in that. And CliftonStrengths, I think, gives us this safe language, right, to talk about these, You know what? I do have these gifts. But from a team perspective, I'm going to need some things from you as well. Right? And that can be, Sylvia, can that be both across a manager to their, the reporting team, as well as manager to manager? I think oftentimes, we miss this element of managing teams, right, to say, Hey, I may not be good at this. But can you fill in? I don't know, any thoughts, Sylvia, any thoughts on that?

Sylvia Li 15:43
Absolutely. There's nothing stopping people practicing, utilizing this particular tool or skill set. Improve probably is an approach as well. At the end of the day, putting all technicalities aside, it's about Building Relation. I'm very high on relation. So it's about connecting with people. Now, if you, even if you're not a connector, or it's actually your lesser strength, you still need to do that. And there are some, we all know how to do that in our own way. Then it's a matter of understanding and looking at things in different perspective, bringing more people into as your resource group. The ability to do that is important too. There are certain skills that, that actually can be learned. So with Input as a Learner®, you can learn some of the things. So it really depends on the, again, the beauty of strengths is there are certain things that you can use to bridge that gap. So in terms of peer, in my, in my Gallup training earlier on this year, one of the participants actually said, "Oh, my goodness, I didn't actually realize that I can use this." She came in, probably thinking about she's gonna use it for her team, as a leader herself. But one example that she can, that's popped into her mind, and she shared that I probably can use this with my peer manager, which is trying to -- her partner as a colleague. So that's, that's really wonderful.

Leaders, CliftonStrengths, and Trust in the Organization -- 2

Jim Collison 17:18
I think it's an underutilized team set that we think about. We often think about the manager to their teams, but there's managing teams as well that can, can use this as well. Maggie, I want to give you a chance on the same question. In your experience, as we think about building trust in teams, what have you used to get that done?

Maggie Nie 17:38
Yeah, I think the team strengths session is the most useful thing, when we talk about building trust. Because if we, I mean, as a leader, building trust is definitely, it's the beginning of the, managing a team. Because if you don't have the trust, then what are you going to do, right? And talking about strengths and discussion of strengths with people, it's a great start, actually. And whenever I talk to managers about their own strengths, we have around one coaching session, they feel like, Oh, my God, it's so excited. And how should I, how should I use this in my team? Then the next question will be "OK, would you please help me to do a coaching session in my team?" I say, "Yes, of course! Let's do it." So we have the coaching session on team strengths. And it's amazing, actually, and you're gonna see everybody's talking, and they open up, and they feel like, Oh, I know, the other person better. And some, some colleagues are very, very closed, but some of them are not. They're even like, you know, in the COVID, we're not going to see each other, and they're just sitting at home and, and talking virtually, right.

Maggie Nie 18:56
So it's a great opportunity to know each other more. And oh, yeah, you got these, these strengths. And this is definitely a very good opportunity to know each other more and understand, Oh, I got you. I mean, you're this kind of person, because you've got strengths like this. You've got Learner like myself; I've got Learner as a top one. I love learning so much. As long as there's something new for me, I'm so excited. And, and of course, you know, I do, I mean, I do admire people got Adaptability®, because Adaptability is my top, my bottom, the 34th, right. Then I realize, Oh, if I work together with this kind of person, how should I do that? How should I work together and, I mean, achieve more with this kind of person? So it's more about partner together with others. It's like, I know you better. Now you know me better. Then how do we work together to achieve the target, to achieve the goal better, right? So it's, it's a great way to discuss how we work together with, within the team, definitely. The whole process itself is the, is the way to build up the trust. And that they open up. That's the reason, right. So I think that's a great tool for managers is talking about strengths in a team, to -- I mean, even you talk about the strengths every day. It's, it's, we're not taking too much time, maybe 5 minutes, right? Maybe 5 minutes or 10 minutes in a briefing. So it's, it's so helpful. And then people love it, because they realize, Oh, it's me. It's my strengths. Right? So it's, it's a great tool, actually.

Fostering Trust and Stability on Teams

Jim Collison 20:36
Yeah, gives us that quick language, right, that framework where we can quickly have these conversations and then call out these things. You know, you said you had low Adaptability. I have it high. So in this context of the two of us working together, it's OK. We're gonna change some things, but I'm gonna take care of you as we, as we move along, right, that builds that element of trust. That trust leads to stability, or it can lead to stability. Can, Maggie, as you think about that outcome, and, you know, we always say right now, we're in uncertain times. The secret is all times are uncertain. So, right, no matter what we do, we're always questioning, like, I wonder what's coming next. So regardless of what we've been through and what's coming, as we think about adding stability, how is this, how have you seen the stability make changes in teams? How do they act differently when they feel the stability? Maggie?

Maggie Nie 21:30
Yeah. Stability, I definitely, I think, in other words, it's like everybody engaged, right. It's more about engagement. And just imagine how, in what, in what situation are you going to engage in that, in a team? Yeah. Or we can say engaging you in your work. So definitely is about people, right? It's about people. And of course, if some, in the position, in a role, I'm able to do what, what I'm good at, I'm able to leverage my friends, I feel like, Oh, that is something I'm good at, I can do the better, and can even do my best. So that is something I feel like so happy about that. I'm not going to, I'm not going to think about changing my role or changing my work. I will stay here for a long time, definitely.

Maggie Nie 22:17
And I was so lucky. Because in my previous team in Accenture, I mean, it's because the culture is there. The strengths culture is there; then everybody's talking about strengths. My leaders, they're always thinking about how to leverage my strengths to do, to do the job. So, so you see, I never think about to change about my work in, in, I mean, I feel like I'm so sta-, I would say so stable. Of course, by the end of the day, it's, it's a lot of fun. It's a lot of trust behind. Yeah. So, and also, but the message is, was really about care. The manager cares about you; the leaders care about you, as a whole person, not only care about your performance at work; it's about the care about you as a whole person. Right? And, and she knows my strengths, and she always think about my strengths; she always think about how to leverage my strengths to help me achieve better and to be a better person and develop myself. Yeah? That's, that is something about, makes me feel, like, so good. I appreciate -- I was, I was so grateful, right?

Jim Collison 23:32
At the end of the day, we really just want to be productive, right? I mean, that really kind of what it boils down to, right? Stability provides that productivity. Sylvia, as we think about, in some of the work you've done, how have you seen that play out? Can you sense when a team or a leader is getting their team more stable and using their strengths? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Sylvia Li 23:51
Oh, think about the last few years, right? We've got economic instability, we've got, you know, the whole world going crazy about this new virus and doesn't know what to do. And everybody's scrambling about coming up with the best solution in managing the situation. A lot of uncertainty, a lot of unstability. And, but then, on the other hand, we know, Oh, change is going to happen anyways; change is the constant -- that's the saying, right? So how do you reconcile that? And then to me, I think the realization is change is going to happen. Stability doesn't mean no change. Actually, sometimes, we instigate change for good, for good reasons. But stability is when things change, when things are uncertain, the core values of certain things don't get flustered. So you still keep your core; you still keep your centeredness, despite the universe is turning around. You know what is going to -- you're going to adopt to change and adapt to, and that's why people with high Adaptability will probably take a better front foot in those situations.

Sylvia Li 25:05
So somehow in our strength, we are prepared to manage change. But the good thing, again, it comes back to the beauty of strengths. Your core values, your core strength doesn't change, even [when] the world is changing. And that's where you have to anchor on and hang on to, and make the even the better of what you already can do better in this kind of situation, and probably bring it out to people as well. So as a leader, you really need to even reinforce, reanchor on your strength and help people see their strength. And now the situation is, How do we get through this particular stormy weather? And again, I like what you said, Jim, it's the common language, it's that framework that is going to apply in good times as well as uncertain times.

Creating Amazing Business Outcomes

Jim Collison 26:01
Sylvia, you alluded to this a ways back, but I kind of want to ask it again. As we think about leaders -- executives, middle managers, managers, people leading other people -- how can this new awareness -- ? And when we think about business outcomes, because at the end of the day, like, I said, we all want to be productive. When we're all productive together, that creates amazing business outcomes. Can you think of any specific examples or highlight any areas where you've seen that translate? Because everybody says, Yeah, this is great. But does it translate to the bottom line? Right? Can, do you have any, you have any areas on that, that you can speak to around business outcomes?

Sylvia Li 26:41
Yeah, those are just, so to come back to that particular example of an executive, he was an investment banker. Well, he's still an investment banker -- very senior, very successful. But he also has a side business, which is very, very art-related. So he has a passion on that. Now, so he's got very high awareness on his strengths. He understands not only is understanding his own strengths important, but he needs to translate that into the work that he does in his, in his bank, in the bank, and as well as in his team, in his personal business. In that sense, I think it's more about trying to help his team understand, his direct reports and their direct reports, understand what the core objectives are for, for the business, and how they actually play out their strengths in achieving that.

Sylvia Li 27:43
So we had a team session and tried to understand each other's strengths, and how can we actually make that happen? If I'm running a business as an individual, here are things that I might be able to do. Now translate that back into a team situation. How are we going to make that happen? So in that sense, the business is doing well, despite what has been going on in the last 3 years in the world. And I think, well, that actually plays a very important role in that. Now, of course, there are other things that they are doing right, from a business perspective. But actually playing out your strength and bringing it back to the business is really important, especially when you think about things like the art during COVID is even more difficult to survive. But the business is doing really well. So --

Jim Collison 28:37
Great. No, it's, it's good. It's always good to hear. Maggie, from your side, as we think about those, you know, as we think about that area of business outcomes, can you speak to that? What have you seen?

Maggie Nie 28:48
Yeah, I think the most important thing is to help leaders understand why strengths can help to achieve business outcomes. Normally, I encourage him and invite him to a conversation with me. And then really like, like what Sylvia mentioned and shared, we really were looking at the business outcome -- how this person and how the leader to leverage their top strengths to achieve better business outcomes, as long as he is, he was able to really engage in the conversation. And, of course, by the end of day, he will find some solutions to achieving the goals. Right. So then, I saw as the leader realized, Oh, it's helpful and is easy to help him to spread out -- I mean, to, to encourage his team members to know strengths and to have a team session like what Sylvia mentioned. And, you know, when we talk about business outcomes, it's not about only leader's responsibility, right? It's everybody's. So that's very important to have a leaders to know how to leverage their strengths, but also the team. So yeah, so that's, that's, I think that's a great, a, really a great way to see how the strengths help them -- and, of course, it's -- sorry.

Jim Collison 30:20
No, keep -- I'm sorry. Keep going.

Maggie Nie 30:22
Yeah, of course, it's, it's not easy to really, like, convince people, I mean, especially leaders, they are so busy, right? They're super, super busy. They, they got, I mean, a lot of, it's so stressful, and they don't have, have too, too many, like, effort, energies and no time to own that. So it's, it's very important to really, building a strengths culture in the company, actually. So I think Accenture did a great job, actually.

Jim Collison 30:53
Yeah, they did. They did do a great job. And actually that time -- Sylvia, I'll get to you here in just a second -- that time that saved, I mean, oftentimes, the system saves time, right? We don't have to work as hard at getting to know each other, right? The system is in place. And that gives us that time back. Right? It gives us that time back to do some of these things. Sylvia, what else did you want to add?

Sylvia Li 31:15
So I just want to add that by business outcome, we're not only talking about bottom-line numbers. For my business, it's more about retention, and making the best of the -- retaining the best people that you have, despite the economy, you know, the world whole world turning upside down. Retention is still a big issue in corporations, but people have different thoughts. So people might actually voluntarily resign, and they decide to do other things. And how do we hang on to the best people, and instilling the stability to trust, etc., and, you know, helping people -- people want to stay because they cannot find a better place to go. And if you can create an environment that they can continue to flourish and grow, despite what is going on in the, in the external landscape, then your best people will stay on and bring the best into this organization.

Tools for Success -- for Coachees and Coaches

Jim Collison 32:19
Yeah, well, let's, you mentioned, continue to grow. Let's talk about growth here for a second. What kind of tools -- and, and Maggie, let me start with you on this. What kind of tools are you finding that you can use for success, both for those that you're coaching -- those executives or leaders or individuals that you're coaching -- or for yourself? Because we have to, we always have to be investing in ourselves as well. So Maggie, let me throw that question to you first. What are you using?

Maggie Nie 32:47
Thank you, Jim. Talking about growth and I think everybody's getting excited already. Yeah. Well, we talk about, they may not have, like, one tool for all; it's pretty, it's pretty flexible, actually. If, I rather to say it's kind of like mindset, how you keep yourself developed, and helping people to, to develop. I think there's one thing: Keep learning definitely is one thing. And the second will be keep reflecting on your strengths, you know, your top strengths. And of course, for myself, actually, I got Learner as a top one. And you know, Learner, the, the, the other side of the Learner is, like, you learn too much, right?

Jim Collison 33:37
Not possible for a Learner, right.

Maggie Nie 33:41
Yeah, and I keep reflecting on that. And then I realize Input, you know, when Learner and Input, put them together, you know how crazy I am. And I think that, my third one is Achiever. So I always loved Achiever to manage myself on learning. So I set, I set goals on learning, and I just focus on one thing for 1, like, 1 or 2 years, and then I'll go deeper. So then I'm able to, like, leverage Learner, Input and Achiever together. So then it's, it's a great, it's a great partner actually. And I always, like, OK, I keep learning on coaching, psychology and whatever. So it's so focused, and it helps me to really to be the expert in these, in this area. So that is something like -- I just give you example, how I develop myself, actually, and I really leverage my strengths, and I keep reflecting every day, actually.

Maggie Nie 34:44
So, like, Achiever, even I reflect on my, in life, I mean, you know, as Achiever, I enjoy the moments of complete -- completion, right? So when I buy something, I always buy a lot; then I'm always thinking about how, how should I finish that? For example, I, if I buy two apples, I want to finish that. Then, I can't take two apples. So next time, I realized, oh my God, this is my Achiever. I need to finish two apples, but I can't. So then I always buy one apple, because I can finish that. I enjoy the moment when I finish that. So that is very interesting. Keep reflecting in how your strengths help you and how your strengths, like, stop you. That is a great tip for myself to develop my, develop myself. And of course, for others, coaching is one way -- I mean, it's, I believe this is the best way to empower people. And if you're really focused on strengths, this is, this is another, another great tool to help you make your coaching more engaged and more positive. So it's always started with strengths, then your clients will love that.

Jim Collison 35:58
That's great. Maggie, when you said apples, you really meant books or courses. That's what you -- that's what you meant, right. That's what you meant to say. You can't get enough of the books or courses. Sylvia, same question to you. Let me throw that over. How are you keeping yourself sharp? What kind of things are you increasing your productivity?

Sylvia Li 36:23
I'm looking at my strengths. I'm very much on Relation; like, my strengths are Strategic, and then follow on, it's Empathy®, Relator®, Responsibility®, Communication®. Apart from the first one, they're all connecting with people. So I get my energy from people. Years on back, I realized that, and I started, I'm not a big Input. But I collect people. I collect a lot of people friends that I can connect with, with a diverse group of friends. And I enjoy talking to them and gaining their perspective. And I'm very happy to share. And as a connector, it's my Top 10, I connect them together too. So when I see their, them interact and sparkle through, I gain a lot of joy and energy. And that is my fuel.

Sylvia Li 37:29
So whether it's actually for my personal development or not, I feel that, you know, when I have that fire in me, I'm on fire. So I want to learn from you, I want to talk to you about this and that -- that's I, how I kind of grow, by learning from other people, taking perspectives in. If you were talking about a particular tool to keep me sharp, just one, you know, that you just mentioned, maybe I'll, there are different psychometrics and personality tests, and all these things and whatnot. They all have their merits in there. So I'll leave it to, you know, the audience to, to explore that. If I take a different spin, I use a read pyramid principle a lot. So, many people know about this, by Barbara Minto from McKinsey. And that, I'm still learning about it. But that actually, that model is more of about communication, about communicating precisely and knowing what to say and saying it in the right way, precise and concise. As a communicator, Communication is my Top 5. Sometimes I'm like overboard go; I talk too much. That particular model helps me get --

Jim Collison 38:41
It's not possible. It's not possible. I have Communication 4 --

Sylvia Li 38:45
Given me a timer, because, but, but that helped me really distill my thoughts. Keep me on my toes, and be, you know, having that discipline. So talking about, when you have the strength and it goes overflow, becomes something that's holding you back, go in there and do something that is, you know, giving you that principle for me, in this particular case, it's getting that principle for me to be a little bit sharper in my Communication. So I'd like to share that particular as a tool. Otherwise, it's more about, you know, collecting perspectives from others.

Jim Collison 39:26
No, I love that. I love how both of you worked through your Top 5, as you thought about that, and you brought others in as well. So influential. We didn't start with that. Well, I should have, probably at the very beginning of the program, asked each one of you what your Top 5 were. But I'm wondering, for people who are listening to this, as they were working their way through it, could they hear, from some of the answers you were saying, could they hear those themes come out? You know, at the beginning of the pandemic -- I have Woo® and Communication 2 and 4 -- at the beginning of the pandemic, I said, I just have to use my talents to communicate across the globe with this technology that we had. Before the pandemic, nobody would get on Zoom. Now everybody's on, whatever, Zoom whatever tools that we're using. And it was a great way to communicate with people, right? It allowed me to make our coaching communicate, our coaching community better, and work with people. You guys were a benefit of that, which is, which is super cool to see that.

Why CliftonStrengths?

Jim Collison 40:22
We have time for one last question. Sylvia, I'm going to kind of give it to you. As you think about the one reason or the reasons or you want to encourage people who maybe are hearing this for the first time or they've been thinking about using CliftonStrengths as a tool. What kind of encouragement would you give to them that would maybe get them moving with this for the first time or engage a coach for the first time? What kind of encouragement would you give them? And then Maggie, I'll ask you that same question.

Sylvia Li 40:51
Again, it's that breath of fresh air. It's taking something you already have and build it on, rather than starting from scratch. And that's already, you know, quite, it's actually very inspiring to understand my strengths, how that can actually go about achieving a goal that, at times, might seem really far out, difficult, because I think I'm not good at certain things. But the beauty of strengths is, yes, you can still go there. But taking a different route. And that's OK. And in the process, take a team with you. Try to understand others' strengths as well and spot it out in the people that you work with. And that, actually, you can actually weave it into your daily life. You don't have to stop what you're doing. You continue with what you're doing, but taking a different perspective and continuing on. So there is no stop, going back, retaking. That, actually, coming back to your point, be productive, and you can, you know, go from build on what you already have as a platform.

Jim Collison 42:12
Yeah, I love that. We say all the time, strengths very powerful in the context of an individual, but infinitely power in the context of teams. And I love what you said about it. We also use this word accelerant -- makes things go faster. Right. And so I love, Sylvia, I love what you had to say about that. Maggie, what would you say? What final words would you have before we wrap this up?

Practical Tips for Coaching Sessions

Maggie Nie 42:35
Yeah, I do want to share some tips for the new coaches. You know, I just recall back to, like, a couple of years ago, when I, first time to do the strengths coach and strengths coaching, I feel like I was so nervous. I prepared a lot. I was, I was like, Oh my God, there's so, so many noises in my mind. So it's hard. I know that. But I would like to share the tips, if you're starting to do your coaching -- strengths coach with leaders, especially with leaders or executives. So the first thing, the first one is, Get prepared, both mentally and physically. What I mean is, sometimes content is very important, but it's not the most important. You may need to get prepared mentally. And you can do, like, meditation before the session.

Maggie Nie 43:27
And I think the second one is even, even more important, which is Let go. So don't think about the identity, the career level, the senior, they're senior people or whoever, right, they're good at this, this area or that area. Never think about it; just let go. And actually in China, we have a culture like Empathy, right? Empathiness. So release all your thoughts from your mind, and keep yourself, like, centered and really focused. But that is very important. It's, it's hard, actually, [to] let go, then, and especially for new coaches, right. And the third one is really trusting your intuition, and, of course, trust your client. You strongly believe they're OK, they are resourceful, they are definitely willing to explore the strengths together with you. So it's, I think if you, if you do that, then it helps you to, to be, feel very free and enjoy a session with your leaders. So then I hope is helpful to you. Thank you.

Jim Collison 44:34
That's great. Sylvia, with the, there were some practical tips that Maggie just gave. Would, would you give any? Would you add anything to those? As she was walking through that, maybe one last tip from you.

Sylvia Li 44:46
For new coaches, I think it's good to consolidate and do a stock-take about addition, in addition to strengths, what other skill set have you collected in your toolbox? You might have [been] exposed to other kinds of tools you might be already starting, or in practicing coaching, you might be more familiar with other methodology. Again, coming back to strength is taking a stock-take of what you already have and fill onto from that platform on. And so you're acquiring a new piece of tool into your new toolbox. But here is, how do you actually weave them together and make it your own? And you can use it in different situations. So no one tool is going to resolve everything. But this is going to be so powerful. And this can bring other tools and things, and your other strengths into play.

Jim Collison 45:42
I think those are good words to wrap this on. Maggie, Sylvia, thank you for being a part of the program today. Great to meet you. Great to get to know you and great to hear your stories. We appreciate that. We'll let individuals who are watching it, if you've made it all the way to this point, and you, you want to get some further, maybe you've got some questions -- we've got some answers. There'll be a way to contact us, Gallup in China, if you'd like to do that -- as a part of this video, there'll be some ways to contact us []. We want to thank you for watching us. We want to thank you for joining us today. Thanks for coming out, and, and you guys hang tight for me one second. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Sylvia Li's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Strategic, Empathy, Relator, Responsibility and Communication.

Maggie Nie's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Learner, Input, Achiever, Developer and Individualization.

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

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup. Copyright © 2000 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

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