Career & Life Advice

Finding your unique strengths

Thursday, 14 Mar, 2024

How I use Gallup Strengths in my coaching practice

Relator, Learner, Developer, Individualisation and Empathy…if you were to sum me up using Gallup Strengths, that’s me. They’re positive, actionable titles that help to explain my personality, and that’s the key to Gallup Strengths – positivity.

If you’re not familiar, Gallup Strengths (also known as Clifton Strengths), is a strength-based assessment of key personality traits, used to help people discover their best traits and leverage them across their life and career.

It may come as no surprise that I first used Gallup Strengths on myself while I was considering my own career change. As I read through the definitions of each strength I thought more about things that I used in my work at the time, and what I’d like to bring to the table in future roles; ultimately leading me to set up my coaching practice. And so here we are! 

From that first-hand experience I saw the huge benefits of using Gallup Strengths and very quickly started incorporating strength testing into my coaching process. Wanting to have a thorough understanding of how to help people get the most benefit out of their results, I then trained to become a certified Gallups Strengths Coach. 

I’m now a certified Gallup Strengths coach and use this assessment in my coaching practice to help my clients see their potential and the amazing things they already bring to the table. Once we have that information in our hands (and on paper!) we then build on it to find your own career sweet spot. 

Gallup Strengths

Without going too heavily into the history of Gallup Strengths (you can read more about that here on the official website), here’s a quick summary of the methodology.

  • Gallup Strengths is an online assessment tool that takes around 30 minutes to complete.
  • When you complete the test, you see paired statements and choose which one best represents you (you can also choose ‘neutral’ between the two). 
  • The assessment measures your talents; that is, your unique natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.
  • The results are categorised into a unique grouping of 34 recognised themes, within 4 groups.
  • The groups are: Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Influencing, and Executing.

After completing the assessment, you receive a personalised report that we then use together in our coaching sessions. The Gallup Strengths we find describe what you naturally do best or what you might need help from others to accomplish.

Gallup Strengths and your career

There’s value in a lot of coaching methods but I am, by nature, an optimistic person! I like the concept of leveraging strengths (rather than improving on weaknesses).

Through my own Gallup Strength assessment I was able to identify that I loved when people came to see me for guidance. I had an ability (a talent!) to see people as they were; unique individuals with natural talents and potential. 

Seeing the potential in yourself and then building on it is at the core of my coaching practice; success starts by believing in yourself and acknowledging your talents and potential. 

During career coaching, when we start with self-reflection and genuine consideration of what’s important to you, and what you value, we discover career options you may have never considered before (or were unsure about). Finding out your strengths and becoming self-aware allows you to open up opportunities you may have never even thought about!

Usually people will say “Oh that’s exactly me but I’d never thought about it in that way.” It’s a good feeling to start career coaching already feeling affirmed and validated! I like to think of it as a way to stop, catch your breath, and recognise how through these strengths you’ve got to the incredible place you have today. Because, no matter which way you look at it, having a career in medicine takes a lot of hard work, and we should acknowledge that your strengths made it happen.

Another huge benefit of using Gallup Strengths in our coaching together is to consider possible blindspots, giving you a full understanding of how your natural inclinations inform your choices. 

What happens next?

During our time together the Gallup Strengths we find are the base; the launching pad that informs our thinking and next steps. They’re just the beginning!

It’s not about looking at your outcome and pointing you straight to the next path in your career – it’s more nuanced than that because you are (of course) a person after all, not just a report!

We look at everything from your interests to your personal circumstances, to your goals and needs around work-life balance. We take everything into account so you feel informed and equipped to take those next steps. 

Read more: What’s your definition of success?

Gallup Strengths in action

One client I worked with was an ED physician, who had become unhappy in his role and had decided he wanted to leave medicine. Maths and IT had been a keen interest for him, and he’d been encouraged to study medicine (like so many of us are) because of his top marks in these subjects. 

During his Gallup Strengths assessment we discovered that two of his top five strengths were ‘Analytical’ and ‘Learner’. We explored health informatics as a potential area for him, and he decided to pursue this career path. It appealed both to his need for further study (Learner) and data science (Analytical) – a completely new choice, but one where he still felt accomplished with his medical training put to use.

When you seek career coaching you’re often looking for a clear pathway – start with A to get to Z. But along the way, understanding and believing in yourself becomes just as important. Knowing your strengths and talents equips you to make choices that work for you across all aspects of your life, opening you up to explore new possibilities you may have never thought of before.  

If you want to read more about discovering the next step in your career I’ve created several articles to help you make an informed choice. Start here: Find A Career and Life You Love | A Collection Of Resources for Medical Careers


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