In the final of our series of articles exploring strengths application in the workplace, Grace Walsh (one of the Bailey & French team) shares the practical ways we can apply strengths to build relationships and inspire our clients.
Over the years, we have helped countless people flourish and thrive in their roles by helping the organisations they work in incorporate a strengths focus in performance conversations. Once the power of a strengths approach to boost performance and wellbeing is understood and experienced, people soon realise the opportunity to harness this power when building relationships with clients.
For example, during our Strengths Discovery sessions, as well as getting a better understanding of our own strengths, we also develop skills in spotting strengths in others. Through a series of questions, we learn to tune in to the verbal and non-verbal clues people elicit when they talk about their strengths. Then, there is the light bulb moment! There’s no reason why we can’t we use these same skills to get to more deeply understand and more effectively support our clients.
So, here are a few ways we can use our strengths spotting skills to build trusting, long-lasting relationships with our clients.
1) Ask questions that are likely to get your clients talking about their strengths. Then, strength spot and give feedback about when you saw them ‘light up’. For example, “It’s clear you are fantastic at… and it’s true strength of yours. You really lit up when you mentioned ….!” We love to talk about what we are passion about and energised by, so conversations that focus on what we love create positive emotions and feel good. This exercise also shows you are tuned in and actively listening to what they are saying. It brings the conversation to a different level of understanding and appreciation.
2) Tailor how we communicate. Understanding our client’s strengths, we can subtly shift the way we communicate and therefore influence more effectively. For example, someone who has an Analytical strength will enjoy the detail. A Reflector will want to go away and consider the information before making any decisions, so sending information before a meeting ensures they can mentally prepare. In contrast, a Creative or Strategic thinker will want the big picture, higher level information and get bored by too much information. I’ve been in that situation myself. Either, I’ve not got the buy in from a client because I wasn’t ‘armed’ with enough information or I lose them half way through because I spend too much time on the small details.
3) Talk about our own strengths and, also be honest about our weaknesses. We often don’t like to expose our weaknesses, and try and hide them from the world! The reality is, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Emotional intelligence and authentic leadership is about being confident in who we are, truly understanding our strengths/weaknesses and how we use/make them irrelevant day to day. Being authentic, and being what some may view as vulnerable, is a key ingredient for building trust. Be brave, take the first step forward! Clients are often looking for the chance to be open and to talk about what they love, what they fear and ultimately what they need from us. Our openness, authenticity and honesty gives them permission to take this chance.
These are a few ways we can use our skills in strength spotting to support and nurture relationships with our clients. We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights too!
To help organisations build awareness around strengths and how to apply that knowledge, we’ve developed a series of six 45-minute workshops. Click here for the range of workshops. Held via an online learning platform, team members can dial in from wherever they are.
We’ve posted articles over the last couple of weeks, exploring the application of strengths in real work situations, from either a theoretical, business or personal perspective. Starting with the article ‘So, we know our strengths – now what?’ we explored:
Follow us on LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss them, and for more information drop us an email or give us a call on 01273 830830.