Spot your Strengths for a happier and more successful life.

In my job as a coach, there are always new tools and models to learn and to use with clients. Some are good and stay in “the tool box”. Some are average and quickly forgotten. In the last year, I have grown very fond of the strength profiling tool, a quick test to help people spot their strengths. Knowing your strength helps you to focus on the tasks that you do well and enjoy, leading to a better performance. The benefits of using our strengths are backed up by extensive research. For example , scientific research shows that :

1-People that use their strengths are happier (Govindji and Linley 2007)

2- People who use their strengths are more confident (Maltby and Linley 2009)

3- People who use their strengths more, have higher levels of self-esteem ( Govindji and Linley)

4- People who use their strengths more, have higher levels of energy and vitality (Giovondji and Linley)

5- People who use their strengths more, experience less stress (Wood, Linley, Kashdan & Hurling 2011)

6-People who use their strengths more, are more resilient ( Capp, 2018)

7- People who use their strengths more, are more likely to achieve their goals ( Gillett and Bisws-Diener 2010)

9- People who use their strengths more, are more effective at developing themselves and growing as individuals

A further study by the Corporate Leadership Council (2002) found that when managers emphasised on strengths, performance was 34.6% higher. In contrast focusing on weaknesses led to a 28.6 % decline in overall performance (Alex Linley and Trudy Bateman 2018)

Put it in a simple way, using your strengths makes you more successful in life (personal and professional).

However, how easy is it to identify our core strengths? According to data from Capp (2018) only one in three people know what their strengths are. Often when people find it tricky to articulate their strengths, is because what they do well comes so natural to them, that they think everyone else can do it.

There are various strength profiling tools to help you identify your key 4 to 6 strength. However, you can spot your strength by asking yourself the following questions:

What do your friends and family know about you?

Ask a friend to describe you at your best to a stranger- what would they say?

When are you at your best inside of work?

What do you enjoy most outside of work?

What does a great day look like for you?

What tasks or activities do you find easy?

When did you last achieve something you were proud of? what made you feel this way?

Another tip for “strength spotting” is to think of your childhood and things you did then that you still do and that you love; activities that give you an energetic buzz when you do them; activities that you pick up easily and that make you feel authentic.

A word of warning: some people when asked about their strength they identify things that they do well but do not energise them. These are not strengths but “learned behaviours”. Think for example projects or tasks that you do well at work or at home, but you feel you need a holiday after completing them. You performed well at them, but they drained you. Learned behaviour aren’t bad but to be at your best long term you need to use them in moderation.

As for the weaknesses…. weaknesses are weaknesses. You need to know what they are, and risk manage them to minimise the impact they have on your life.

Good luck spotting your strengths…and using them!



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