It has been known that one of the key benefits of using the Gallup StrengthsFinder® tool is that of enhancing relationships. Backed by 50 years of research, StrengthsFinder® provides a science to why people intuitively behave in a certain way - it is discovered that the motivation behind human behaviour can be greatly attributed to a person's unique talents. The StrengthsFinder tool measures the presence of talents in each individual and empowers people to understand themselves and grow in self-awareness.
In Strengths School™ Singapore, we intentionally employ the StrengthsFinder tool for organizations, schools as well as for families and individuals. Using a guided approach, we facilitate strengths-based conversations to co-create rich and fruitful dialogues, which are often missed out in the hurriedness of work and life. After going through a session of Strengths-Based coaching by Strengths School™, the Lo family from Singapore kindly agreed to do an interview with us and share their individual experiences of the StrengthsFinder coaching session.
A short introduction of the Lo Family: James, father of the household, is a Singaporean businessman while Ai Ling, mother, is a homemaker who has recently completed a post-graduate course in Counselling. The eldest sibling, Samantha, works as a manager while the middle child in the family, Chrystella (known affectionately by all of them as La), works as a counsellor. Youngest of the siblings, Jonathan, is looking to complete his degree in business, studying in Singapore. The Lo family hopes that through this short interview, more families in Singapore as well as across the globe will be encouraged to understand each member's unique talents and experience a breakthrough in their relationships.
1) HOW DID THE SESSION HELP YOU TO KNOW YOUR FAMILY BETTER?
James: I now learnt why Ai Ling is so insistent to do things or house work her ways. It’s attributed to her lenses and it’s helpful to understand her top 5. I also never knew that Jonathan has such a strong connection with his Harmony and Relator theme. I now know that his ability to form solid, mutually rewarding relationships are very important to him. I also learnt more about my 2 daughters: Sam is a very private person and that comes from her Deliberative theme. La will stop engaging during family discussions whenever she completed her own analysis of the issue at hand. That comes from her Analytical theme.
AL: I now understand why there are times that Jon and La "switched off" during family conversations. For Jon who has Harmony, I did not know previously that he does not really enjoy listening to lengthy debates and discussions and prefer discussing what we can do as a family together. For La, her Analytical enjoys analyzing different points of views and she is good at that. When there isn't any data to analyze, she switched off during the conversations. I also now understand why my husband with his Restorative theme often prescribes solutions that I don't feel I needed. Understanding that allows me to now be more patient.
La: For me, the session was helpful to provide a platform where family members could reflect on and share their views on how they respond & behave with the family, and why. The session also provided a platform for us to give feedback to each other and discuss ways to support each other better in our interactions. Example for me was when we discussed why my brother would at times zone out during family discussions, and how we can involve him more productively.
Sam: The session helped me to reframe my family's idiosyncrasies as needs behind their talent themes. For example: Mom's impatience as a need for something to be done, and be done quickly. That is her Activator’s need. For La, her Analytical theme requires her to be mentally engaged. If she’s not, she tends to switch off during family discussions.
Jon: The session helped me to put into words the behaviours of my family members and to understand their personalities better. For example I didn't know why sometimes La seems uninterested. I used to think maybe she was just in a bad mood but now I know it’s because of her Analytical theme.
2) WHAT WAS SOMETHING THAT STOOD OUT FOR YOU DURING THE SESSION?
James: I find it extremely helpful to do this exercise and to understand each other viewpoints. The session which was facilitated by an experienced coach, definitely help to open each other up and create the openness and ability to talk freely.
AL: Our talents need to be moderated to bring out the strengths of the other person so that it is beneficial to all in the family otherwise love becomes loath.
Sam: Talking about how we experience our talents and how those talents sometimes may drive other family members crazy. The conversation made me realized the efforts that each member of my family has made to put aside their preferences to show love to the family. I realized that when I look back at the individuals we were years ago, we have come some way in trying to "tame" our parts of our talents that annoy each other. Also, another thing that stood out was that everyone was trying to understand each other. There was the connecting of the dots - we were piecing together what we have observed of one another, with the new StrengthsFinder language we now have learned to describe each other.
La: What stood out to me was the insights between specific family member interactions, and certain patterns that I have observed in our family. Light was shed on the reason for some of these observations.
Jon: What stood out to me through the conversation was how my family, especially my parents, actually observes a lot about each other. I didn't know that they as well as myself actually notice so much.
3) WHAT WAS ONE PRACTICAL APPLICATION YOU TOOK AWAY FROM THE SESSION?
James: For me, I will now refrain from providing solutions to any challenges my family members may have. I now realized that was from my Restorative theme. I will instead do my best to direct them and let them discover their own solutions instead of me quickly providing solutions to their challenges.
AL: I feel that I will not insist that things be done my way and get annoyed when certain things did not happen. Instead I will clarify my needs as well as ask my family members for their rationale behind what they do or don't do.
Sam: I now have gained practical ways to engage La and Jon in our family conversations when they seem to switch off. Also, I’ve learnt that to use the StrengthsFinder language of another person's talents can be powerful in order to better communicate with them.
La: I think I can be more communicative to help my family with other types of talents. Eg. My sister's Responsibility theme and my mother's Activator. I need to communicate that I will do the tasks they have asked me to do and as much as possible to give a timeline. In that way, they will not feel I'm irresponsible or slow.
Jon: For me, I have learnt the importance of the need to understand how my family functions in order to show and appreciate their love in a greater measure.
Ending Thoughts: Every family unit, whether in Singapore or beyond, desires to grow in intimacy and love for one another. Using the StrengthsFinder tool, having Strengths-Based conversations allow family units to go deeper into understanding each person's unique perspectives and further build on the foundation of mutual respect. It is proven that just by having that deeper understanding of each other's perspectives alone can empower an individual to become more patient with family members. We believe that all families should consider using this tool to enhance and develop rich conversations.
Written by Victor Seet
Activator • Communication • Strategic • Self-Assurance • Command
As a Gallup Certified Singapore Strengthsfinder coach, Victor is passionate about strengths engagement and now runs his own training company, Strengths School™ (strengthsschool.com). He has been actively giving Strengthsfinder leadership and team building workshops to businesses and schools in Singapore as well as Hong Kong, China (Shanghai) and India.