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Meet the Youngest Ever Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach

Meet the Youngest Ever Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach

by Rachael Yi

Story Highlights

  • Claire Elliott’s mentor sparked the high schooler’s passion for strengths
  • After attending the coaching course, Elliott coached six people and became certified
  • Elliott is now a mentor herself, inspiring people to maximize their strengths

Meet Claire Elliott, the youngest-ever Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. This 17-year-old’s journey from being an eighth grade library teaching assistant (TA) to becoming a coach underscores the importance of mentorship and the widespread application of strengths.

Elliott’s introduction to CliftonStrengths occurred during her TA service at Canyon High School in Anaheim, California. Library leader and Strengths Coach Carol McGuire ensured every TA received their CliftonStrengths Top 5 report and was exposed to strengths coaching via individual meetings with coaches worldwide. During this time, Elliott experienced firsthand the impact of knowing one’s innate talents.

Claire’s Top Five CliftonStrengths:






“It’s an important thing to be able to recognize what you’re good at and what comes naturally to you, and how you can use your strengths to reach your full potential,” says Elliott.

She began integrating strengths into her life at a young age and felt better prepared to navigate academics, clubs, and relationships with peers and family by strategically applying her talent themes. For example, she realized her Relationship Building strengths were low, but she could use her Strategic Thinking talent themes, like Learner, to compensate.

As her strengths application grew, Elliott realized this was what she wanted to do long-term. McGuire suggested Elliott become a strengths coach and offered pivotal mentorship and inspiration to support Elliott’s journey -- despite Elliott’s trepidation about embarking on the journey while in high school.

“It’s an important thing to be able to recognize what you’re good at and what comes naturally to you, and how you can use your strengths to reach your full potential,” says Elliott.

Against her fears, Elliott enrolled in the five-day online summer certification class. She found her class to be a welcoming community and a highly enriching experience -- and her initial apprehension began to melt away. She coached six individuals, including her parents and McGuire, gaining insight into the strengths of people she’d been close to for years.

“Being able to not change yourself, but just maximize these strengths that you were born with and have always had, and using that knowledge to get ahead in life, is valuable knowledge to have,” says Elliott. “It was worth the money, worth the time, and it made me the person I am today.”


The importance of mentorship remains with Elliott as being instrumental to her growth, and she values guiding individuals to their own conclusions rather than dictating solutions for them. Ongoing coaching showed her that positive coaching interactions not only reshape perceptions of strengths, but also emphasize the positive aspects of who people are and how they can find success in virtually any situation.

“It’s empowering. When I first saw my report, I focused on the negative. Most people do,” says Elliott. “But learning about my strengths from great coaches helped me see there are great positives to every strength. And you might have a different definition of a strength than what is provided online.”

She’s earned her certification, but Elliott’s journey with strengths is far from finished. Her college plans aren’t certain, but she knows that she will incorporate her coaching talents and strengths. She also plans to empower others to recognize their natural strengths and hopes more young people discover their strengths early -- perhaps even following a path like hers. Because strengths can be applied in any setting, Elliott believes that differences in thinking due to age or background are a benefit, not a limitation. “Don’t be intimidated,” she suggests. “If you’re truly passionate about strengths, age and experience doesn’t always play a big role.”

Become the coach you were meant to be.


Rachael Yi is a Content Writer at Gallup.

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