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PART 2: Unlocking Potential with Leadership Coaching

AKA: We’re all in the same boat, it’s the human condition

AKA: My coaching approach

AKA: Mental Fitness is the key to lasting positive change

Four areas I see as important for unlocking potential and moving clients higher on the excellence continuum are:

  • Strengths based activity

  • Value based goals

  • Uniqueness of others

  • Leading with positive


Knowing and leading from your strengths is awesome. How often we hear “my strengths report describes me, but it feels different, more real, more accessible, to see it written” or similar sentiments. The immediate impact is tangible, powerful, a flow of insights. So why do so many over time only hold on to limited pieces of our new found super powers? Why do we return to our previous patterns of behaviour and not leverage our strengths knowledge at all? It's a sign of interference holding us back and/or Mental Fitness limiting our ability to assimilate change.

The true impact of strengths coaching and training should be evaluated 3-6 months after the initial sessions to determine the lasting impact.

Where interference is identified and mitigated, and Mental Fitness is strong, leveraging strengths allows a person to hit the high end of the excellence continuum.

Value Based Goals:

Knowing where you are going and what you want requires a map, a future positive vision. All branches of coaching have identification of goals at their core. I favour some flexibility in the definition. The ultimate goal may not be immediately clear. Definition of an intention or guiding principle may be more appropriate than a hard defined set of actions that could be out of sync with the forward motion by the time they are established. Action definition has its place without question, but as the goal gets larger and closer to an individual's core values, the importance of intention & principle may outweigh the importance of tactical actions.

Once a path forward, whether that is a tactical short term outcome or a lofty and desirable future positive state, is set out, our ability to move towards that path/place will be determined by both: leverage of our potential driving attributes, as well as the depth of interference of our inner or external factors.

Mental Fitness will play into the speed and depth that we can realise our goals.

Uniqueness of Others:

Excellence in leadership sits on a foundation of knowing, and playing to or leveraging, the uniqueness in each individual in their team. Strengths assessment provides a fast track to uncovering and celebrating the unique talents of others. Development, delegation, recognition, support, etc… realised inline with the strengths, and non strengths, profile of an individual is immensely more impactful than doled out with a one size fits all approach.

Believing in strengths, and I do, identifies that we are unique. Clifton Strengths states that the likelihood of an individual having the same top 5 strengths is ~1:800,000. The likelihood of having the same top 5 in the same order widens to ~1:33,000,000. By definition our uniqueness necessitates that all others we interact with, or lead, are also unique.

The potential for interference in the interaction with the uniqueness of others could sit with: our misapplication of strengths and subsequent manifesting of blindspot behaviour, our inner critic unfairly judging the ability of others, or other habitual ways of operating.

Mental Fitness is critical in raising awareness of judgment as it happens as well as switching to alternative and individualised positive behaviours.

Lead From Positive:

Approaching the world with a healthy dose of cynicism I am the first to admit this is an area I strive to grow within myself. Also this is a topic with scope well beyond what will be covered here. Suffice to say we have all grown up with sayings like “you attract more bees with honey than vinegar”. Leading from positive can include one or more of: exploring with curiosity, empathising with yourself and others, considering new and alternate perspectives, choosing paths that align with your values, and taking decisive action.

A practical activity that will move you up the excellence scale is random acts of kindness (RAKs). Add 1+ RAKs/day into your daily practice for seven days. Reflecting back on those I guarantee you will have seen some good outcomes coming from leading with positive.

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