Recognising strengths

by Viv on December 9, 2008

“If I knew then what I know now”, cheesy 80s lyrics courtesy of George Benson, but also the thought that was screaming across my head at the recent TDN event on Positive Psychology. For the full story on what Positive Psychology is see My awakening was about face to face training and how the introductory session sets the tone.

When I was working as an in-house trainer for a Big Four firm, the message from on high was that the business needed training courses to be more challenging.

Hence we diligently asked participants in their introductions to include what their biggest work challenge was, with the intention that we might flex the course or provide coaching to address this. I am convinced that many of the stated challenges were not the real challenges as it was simply too early in the course for most participants to feel comfortable divulging something that exposing. More significantly, it would have also put many people in a worse mental state for learning.

In the session at TDN, the participant introductions were simply:
1. What’s your name?
2. What’s your job?
3. The best thing that happened in my life recently was…
This generated a tremendous amount of energy and put people in such a positive state for learning that I wanted to bottle it for use on future courses.

Easy to agree with, but less easy to live by: “Recognise people’s strengths first, before asking them to confront their weaknesses.”

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