Note: This article is intended for all types of helping professionals— coaches, consultants, managers, teachers, therapists, psychologists, etc. who work with many different types of individuals— employees, students, workshop participants, patients, etc. For the sake of this article, we’ll refer to the individuals you work with as “clients”.
According to research, everyone in the world has 24 character strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). These are personality qualities like love, fairness, perseverance and creativity. While these strengths are universal, each person has certain ones that come naturally and make them feel energized and engaged.
But, what’s more surprising? 100% of people have some form of strengths blindness. They don’t see their true goodness or all of the ways their strengths can positively impact their life.
If you’re working as a coach, consultant, manager, teacher or any other type of helping professional, chances are, the people you work with are blind to their strengths. They are missing out on enlightening information about their own personality. This is where you can help.
When you set-up a VIA Pro Site, you’ll have access to resources like the VIA Survey and the Total 24 Report to gain insight into your client’s best qualities. The survey provides a high-level view of their strengths ranked from highest to lowest, and the in-depth Total 24 Report reveals how their strengths influence their thoughts, feelings, behaviors and interactions with others.
Here are 3 ways a personalized Total 24 Report can help your client understand their strengths as key pathways to well-being.
1. Name Highest Strengths as Natural Happiness Boosters
Positive psychology research refers to top strengths as signature strengths. They are so essential to the person’s identity they are like a fingerprint or written signature. You’ve probably noticed these top strengths in your client, but maybe you didn’t have a name or label for what you saw.
The customized Total 24 Report explores each person’s unique signature strengths in great depth. It provides a common language for you and your client to discuss the positive qualities that come naturally to them. Since understanding and using top strengths is crucial to positive well-being, this review can help you direct your client on the strengths they should be using more in their life.
2. Show the Value and Growth Potential of Lesser Strengths
Humans have a natural negativity bias. As soon as someone receives their rank order list of strengths from the VIA Survey, they will probably scroll to the bottom of the list to find the strengths they’re not as good at. This is very common, and again, another great opportunity for you to impart wisdom.
Lesser strengths are not weaknesses! They are qualities that don’t come as easily to the person as some of the other strengths in their profile. Research shows that they can build lesser strengths with conscious attention and deliberate practice. Is there a strength at the bottom of their list that could be boosted? Together you can explore the lesser strengths section of their Total 24 Report to learn how strengths that don’t come as naturally can be developed to help them reach their goals.
3. Finding Balance Shifts Challenges to Opportunities
Strengths overuse and underuse is such an interesting and refreshing concept. It’s taking a negative (or neutral) behavior and reframing it. What does this mean? Here’s an example:
Could your client’s inability to make a decision simply be an overuse of the strength of judgment? Reminder: the strength of judgment involves weighing all ideas, opinions and facts to make rational decisions. In this example, if the person is high in judgment, they could be using it too strongly to their detriment. Luckily, you and your client can explore how other strengths like perspective and bravery can help temper this strength so they can move forward.
As the Total 24 Report reveals, each person will be more inclined to overuse or underuse certain strengths depending on where they rank in their unique profile. Understanding these dynamics can help them recognize when their strengths are out of balance.
As you and your client approach challenges, overuse/underuse awareness can help them adjust their strengths use and tap into other strengths, which can lead to many positive life changes.
Exploring Each Client’s Full Strengths Profile
The main takeaway to remember and to communicate to your clients is: all 24 character strengths matter. Signature strengths might be the easiest pathway to greater well-being, but when trying to reach certain goals, lesser strengths may need to play a role.
There are so many ways strengths contribute to boosting relationships, improving work success and engagement and helping people live happier, more meaningful lives. Encourage your clients to explore their strengths, and fully appreciate and activate all of their goodness!