When I am working with a client or organization I help identify talent. One of the first things I do is help them understand what their unique strengths are.
I work through with them how their strengths come out and manifest themselves every single day of their lives. Now, it is always a very interesting session for me because as soon as I ask someone, “What are your strengths?” they get a blank look on their faces and they say “Umm, I’m not sure but they might be…” Then they start to talk about certain aspects. Then they will get a kind of sheepish look on their face as if they feel embarrassed talking about how good they are. I encourage and help them to get in contact with that part of themselves that they know does really great ‘stuff’.
They get stuck a couple of times and eventually they are able to say, “Oh, look. I really love to do this…,” because when we start talking about things outside of work and that is a critical thing, I ask, “What do you love to do outside of work?” You would be amazed at how many things they do that are using the same skills that they use in the workplace! They walk away thinking about their strenghts completely differently and think, “I see that relationship now.” So I help them build relationships in parts of themselves.
Many people separate their work self and their personal self. I help them integrate these facets so they have a whole person that comes to work. Many people are very creative but walk around telling themselves that they are not. I tap into what kind of self-talk is going on that inhibits this creativity and their talents.
I work with what is inside the person’s head. We talk about how they take up their role, the different ways that they look at groups. How do they behave in groups? How do they behave one on one? What is their communication style? What is the language they use? What are the cues they are picking up that they may not be aware of in the environment and also within themselves?
A key theory I use is around a person’s role and the impacts of an organizational system on them. I think about things in terms of open systems theory which means that everything is linked to everything else and everything has an impact on everything and everyone else. A person does not carry out their role in an organization in isolation. It is relative to other roles and it is relative to achieving a primary purpose for the organization or for that entity. I help my clients to see what is their “stuff” in this system and what might be relative to them. What is the organization actually putting on them that may not be part of them? Then we go through a process of removing those things that are getting in their way.
My most successful clients think about these concepts and then do the work within themselves to remove any obstacles to reaching their full potential. What obstacles are you either helping others remove or are removing for yourself?