(This article was written by Jasmine, our Education Consultant at Kingmaker Leadership. She believes that the greatest gift in leadership is to be able to mentor the next generations of like-minded people, to develop them to their greatest potential. She do so by seeing the strengths of them, and coach them on ways they could best leverage on their strengths to achieve personal excellence.)
This week I had a chance to have a short conversation over lunch with our Senior Education Consultant Shawn, and as we were discussing how to further reach out to youths in Singapore, the fundamental question of “Why StrengthsFinder?” popped into my head, and I’m very grateful to hear insights from Shawn, a veteran in the education and enrichment industry. As strengths consultants in StrengthsTransform, we constantly have to ask ourselves how to better enrich lives from young, an opportunity that we ourselves might have missed back in our schooling days.
A Little Bit About Our Strengths Consultant
Shawn is a Strengths Consultant for schools with Kingmaker Leadership Institute. He has close to 10 years of experience consulting with Schools on the full range of student-development programmes. In the past 5 years, he works specially with schools to design strengths-based programmes for Leadership Development, Personal Mastery, Esteem and Social Emotion Development, Education and Career Guidance and Time Out Programme.
Q: Why StrengthsFinder?
A: One of the most common learning outcomes that many school teachers have when planning for enrichment programmes has always been getting students to be more self-aware and to help them find out their strengths and weaknesses.
Students generally learn more about themselves after going through a programme, but I realised that a lot of students are not good at accurately evaluating themselves, they don’t know what they don’t know, and they assume that everyone is just as good.
StrengthsFinder is the best profiling tool I know of that accurately assesses a person’s talent.
I personally experienced the usefulness of the StrengthsFinder Profile when I went down to various schools to conduct the profiling for the students.
After the 177 questions profiling (yes, very long and arduous process, but I guarantee you that gaining awareness of what you can contribute uniquely and discovering your strengths in a worthy journey), students are excited over their Top 5 Strengths.
When we share with them what their Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talent Themes mean and how they show up in their lives, some students were amazed by just how well the talent themes describe them (just like “fortune telling”). I especially love the moments when students’ eyes lit up and the connection we form when students think that
“Hey this person understands me.”
Many times, when teachers saw that happening, they will tell me,
“Wow, you have only just seen the students and its seems like you know them in person already.”
That is no magic nor fortune telling. It is exactly the accuracy of this profiling tool and its insight report documenting great and deep understanding of the different talent themes.
And all it takes is 30-45mins of profiling, tapping on over 50 years of validated research and design of StrengthsFinder. (click HERE to read through Gallup’s Technical Report)
Q: So, what got you started on bringing StrengthsFinder to Schools?
A: When I first started out in the training industry, I was passionate in programmes that helps student build confidence, improve self-esteem, develop their leadership capabilities and achieve personal effectiveness.
I can relate to the challenges youth faced as I went through them before. As a youth, I would observe people around me and model after my friends who were “cool” and have the charming “X-factor” (aka the popular kid in school). There were upsides and downsides to this approach as it shapes my character and personality, but the underlying feeling is always that you are at most “second best” or not as good as others.
When I was introduced to StrengthsFinder and coached by Mr Tan Hee Guan, Gallup Certified Coach, my immediate thought was how great it can be to bring these to students today, so they can learn to be the “best version” of who they can be.
With the advancement of media and technology, video games that are constantly fighting for their attention, a strengths-based approach gives me a glimpse of how to engage and prepare them for the real world.
It takes a village to raise a child.
Apart from bringing StrengthsFinder to students, we also conduct Strengths Programme to Parents and Educators. I believe the it is on all of us to lead our youths to realize their fullest potential. I believe that gaining insights to what motivate youths rather than focusing on their weaknesses could help educators and even parents connect to the youths better and be one step closer to engaging them positively.
Q: What’s Next for StrengthsFinder?
A: We have trained in 6 different Countries, 40 Schools and over 10,000 students and educators and I look forward to having more schools onboard with us to StrengthsTransform our youths. I am very privileged to be working with a team of passionate and dedicated coaches (yes, the people in orange). We will continue to innovate and design high quality and engaging experiential strengths-based programmes for the future leaders of our generation.
After this short and casual conversation with Shawn, I reflected back into my schooling days. I too was lost and unconfident in what I could do. Just like Shawn, I constantly thought that just by mimicking the kids that people usually hang out with, I could well fit in. I was quiet, I enjoyed intellectual discussions (intellection) and I like to read widely and deeply (learner and input) (these aren’t really the traits you would associated with a popular kid right?). Yet, these are what made me unique, these are my natural way of thinking, feeling and behaving. If only I was aware of who I am, I could have embrace my uniqueness and even further developed my talents, rather than hiding behind who I was.
Being unique is beautiful. Knowing it early increases the chance and opportunity that you will achieve campus excellence and beyond.