5 Surprising Things I Discovered When I Profiled My Strengths
Do you really know your strengths? In the past, it has been my work has shaped which skills I focus on and recently I've been wondering which are the things I've become skilled in because I've had to be and which are the ones I've focused on because they truly energise me. To help me find out, I completed a profiling tool called Strengthscope, and put time in for some coaching. I was really hoping it might give me some clues. Here I share what I discovered and a copy of the report I received.
1. I was surprised at what constituted a strength
When you get your report it highlights your 'significant seven' strengths. Personal development came up as one of mine and I hadn't really considered that to be one of my strengths before. I think it's important, I find it rewarding but how is it a strength? But once I started to think about it, it made perfect sense. I keep myself up to date on the latest knowledge, trends and skills in my industry. Clients often come to me to get ideas or to solve problems and I get great feedback on how I add value to them and their businesses. I've started to realise that not only is this one of my strengths but also a very marketable skill.
2. I have strengths I was unaware of (but make total sense)
I was shocked to see empathy highlighted as a strength. Not because I'm not empathetic but because whenever I've done personality profiles in the past it's never come up. Speaking to others they were surprised that I was surprised so obviously this was a 'blind spot' for me. It makes total sense though. Of course, you need empathy to be a good coach or trainer and remember, strengths in this context are what you're passionate about and energised by. When I started to talk about it in my coaching session I realised just how important empathy is in feeling engaged in my work. I've done work in the past where empathy wasn't required to a huge degree. It was OK but ultimately it felt a little empty and unsatisfying.
3. Different strengths aren't mutually exclusive
I was talking to my Strengthscope tutor, Dave Harrison, about being given feedback on being good at detail whereas I see myself more as a big picture, strategy person. He was quick to remind me that the two are not mutually exclusive. This is probably why empathy had not come up before. Other tools I've used in the past place you on a scale between thinking and feeling. These tools allow for you to be good at both parts but I had always come out strongly as a 'thinking' person. I'd not given myself much credit for the emotional end of the scale. But look at my 'wheel' (below), it tells a different story. Some strengths might not seem complementary, but being strong in one doesn't mean you are weak in another.
4. Over-relying on a strength can hold you back
When we have a strength we tend to use it a lot. It's a tried and tested way of moving through the world that has served us well in the past. Often, we default to these strengths without thinking, even in situations where they don't serve us well. Any strength overdone or used in the wrong context can prove to be a weakness in the end.
In my training session, other people commented that they thought my strength of emotional control was a good one to have in a professional setting. They are right, it's certainly useful. However, I've started to notice I use it too much, especially when the chips are down. I could do with letting my feelings show when I'm struggling. I have people on hand willing to help me but I don't always let my difficulty show when I need them. As a result, I stay stuck for longer than I need to.
5. I DO know what energises me after all
I thought that it was hard to tell what is a true strength and what I was just good at through practice. But when I sat down with Rachael Lewis, my coach, and she asked me to pick my 'stand out' three strengths I started to notice something. It was easy to pick out my top 3 and what's more, I could feel myself becoming more animated as I talked about them.
As I described how I felt these strengths had helped me and where I could make better use of them I 'lit up'. I was described as expressive by one of my group. I'm normally described as being very composed. I started to really observe which topics energised me and which ones just felt normal. Taking time to get some coaching and to talk about it gave me some much-needed clarity.
Want to see a copy of my report for yourself?
There are lots of tools out there, measuring different things. Personally, I liked that Strengthscope felt very different. I found looking at my strengths and focusing on what energises me refreshing. It's given me a new, useful outlook.
If you want to see what a Strengthscope report looks like and what else came out of my profile feel free to take a look. You can view it here.
Interested in your own report and coaching session?
Get in touch, and I'll be happy to explain more.