Late last year I accidentally got a Gallup Strengthsfinder coach. I was on the phone with a colleague and we were discussing another individual with whom we were both working. My colleague commented that knowing this other person’s strengths would help us move forward with the work. A few months prior I had competed my own assessment and pulled up the results for her. This was the second time I’ve taken the assessment (both times for work), and did not give them a second thought. I’m pretty self aware and so none of them came as a surprise.

If you haven’t taken the assessment before, you respond to a series of questions and are then provided with your top five strengths which are situated into one of four categories. Four out of my five were in one bucket- strategic planning. Upon learning this she generously offered to spend some time with me unpacking this, the root of my unhappiness, and how I could move forward. Little did I know she was a certified Gallup Coach.

I had never had a coach or a therapist before, and somehow this woman became both. I now credit her for helping get me through some pretty difficult times. She helped guide me through the Strengths Wheel, the Talent Map, and walked me through my Insight Report. Not only was it helpful to have someone to talk to, but it truly helped me understand how my strengths could be seen by others and how to leverage those to find positions that would allow me to draw upon them. By understanding how my strengths may be viewed by others, I was able to clearly articulate what wasn’t working in my professional life and try to address it. While ultimately that was unsuccessful, I knew that I had used all of the tools in my toolbox to the best of my ability.

When I was interviewing for the role I’ll begin in February, I was able to talk about these strengths. The role requires that I assist the firm’s members in understanding and tailoring research findings to their needs and develop a thorough, leading-edge understanding of industry trends and issues. Learner and intellect are two of my top five strengths, and I’m excited to be able to use them in this position.

Two out of my top five strengths in 2017 were the same as they were the first time I took the assessment several years ago, so I’m curious what will happen the next time I take it. I am forever grateful to my coach, and now friend for her time and encourage others to go through this process. It was a huge learning opportunity for me and hope that these learnings will continue to inform my personal and professional life for years to come.

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