Strengths-Based Leadership in a Group Coaching Format

There are no shortage of beanie wearing success gurus out there today telling you to go all in your strengths, often littered with F bombs because we all know if you swear, you’re authentic. One of our primary BecomeMore leadership concepts is by no means a hot take, but what I hope to do a bit better job than the all purpose gurus is in exemplifying what it means to bet on your strengths in the field of coaching.

First, let’s understand that betting your strengths does not mean chest pounding defiance of your weaknesses. It doesn’t ask you to cast aside that in which you struggle, it simply encourages you to take inventory of where you are most successful with people.

For example, some coaches are really good at explaining technical knowledge. They have a gift for taking the complex and making it seem simple. Other coaches are not as strong in that area, but on the other hand, are excellent in breaking down the intimidating communication barrier that often exists between member and coach, and they might excel at personal relationship building.

Second, a great coach knows what they don’t know. They have the self awareness to understand that they are not excellent in all areas, and better yet, they know where they succeed and where they don’t. They are able to take honest inventory of their skill set, and once they know it, they channel nearly all of their focus in their biggest strengths and don’t pretend to be something they aren’t.

Some common strengths or weaknesses might include:

• Public speaking in front of a group
• Individual communication
• Infectious positive energy and personality
• Effective with succinct, direct communication
• Creative cueing
• Ability to read individuals and tailor your style
• Quiet confidence of knowledge
• Strong, unmistakable personality that creates the room
• Muted personality that plays off the room
• Niche technical knowledge
• Developing strong one-on-one relationships
• Relating to fitness goals that you don’t share

All of these questions can help shape the way your group coaching should be focused: strengths-based.

If five athletes were to look at this list and pick out the three main reasons they love coming to you, what would they be? How about three people who avoid you? Chances are good that the very same reason that most people love you is the exact same reason why few people avoid you, and unless you’re an abrasive asshole, that is completely okay. Being everything to everyone usually results in middling existence of mediocrity.

If you honestly think that you are great at all of those qualities, then you are the corner restaurant that sells Chinese food, lattes, smoothies, and hot dogs, convinced of your own all encompassing expertise. Don’t be the place that sells all and masters none. Hone in on your strengths. Get to know them, and make them the foundation of your coaching success. That’s not to say you can’t offer other menu items, but you’re better off being In N’ Out and delivering exceptional burgers, fries, and shakes.

Find your burger. Create your foundation. Evolve and improve, but never abandon what makes you, you.

ASSIGNMENT: Which characteristics on that list are strengths? Which are weaknesses? Which of those has driven your most noticeable moments of success as a coach? Which maintain your long term success? Which energize you? Which exhaust you? Take careful inventory of all, and begin to focus your coaching experience around them.

-Dave Thomas


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