What does it take for any business to move from being good, to being great? In his book “Good to Great” author/researcher Jim Collins observes that in Corporate America, organizations that truly excel are those that have found a way to unite their passions, (the things they truly care about) and their strengths, (the things that they are really good at) in an economic model that they understand and can optimize.
This is not news to the coaching profession, as this process lies at the heart of masterful coaching. And for the entrepreneurs, business professionals and new coaches I work with in my practice, this process can lead to some amazing breakthroughs. So here is a quick overview of the process of identifying and aligning your strengths and passions in a way that you too can become great at your business.
In the diagram below, imagine that each of the three circles represent a very important area to your business success; your passions, your strengths and the business model or vocation. What you are setting out to discover is where these 3 circles intersect and overlap.
With my clients I start this process by looking at what they are passionate about, in other words what is it that gets them most excited and engaged in what they are doing. In coaching we call this fulfillment work, and it involves an exploration of an individual’s “peak” or “flow” moments – those most memorable times in life – to uncover the underlying values. For example some of my key values are creativity, the ability to learn, grow and make a difference and to have great relationships with people. These values must be present in anything I do, if I want to really get enthusiast about it.
Strengths are the next area we work on. And properly identifying your strengths can be a challenge. It seems that many of us take our strengths for granted – because they come so easy to us – and focus the majority of our energy trying to shore up our weaknesses. This can lead to mediocrity. Finding your strengths involves looking into the activities that come most naturally, where the learning is the most rapid, where glimpses of excellence are routinely seen. These indicators point to some of the areas where you either are, or have the capacity to be, the best in the world at what you do.
The final piece we help clients look at is their business model or vocation. And here one wants to intimately understand what drives the economic model at the heart of their business. What is the value you add to your clients? What is the most productive way to provide it? What are the key elements you need to manage to optimize this process?
When you have your passions aligned with your strengths, you’re doing what you love and what you are really good at. The traditional boundaries of work and play often blur and for any given amount of effort, astonishing results are possible. When you couple this energy and enthusiasm and harness it in a viable business model, you really begin to experience near effortless progress. Good things happen with the minimum of effort.
Becoming great at what you do takes time, discipline and commitment to being open to learn. Always, the most important learning is what you learn about yourself. As authors Kouzes and Posner say in their bestseller, The Leadership Challenge, “we’ll find in the years to come that the most critical knowledge for all of us -and for leaders especially- will turn out to be self-knowledge“.
So, what are you passionate about? What are your most productive strengths? And what is the best vocation or business model to best leverage yourself? These are good questions to pursue. They will lead you to some important changes. And while big changes don’t happen overnight, by working through this process with a qualified Professional Coach, you can achieve significant breakthroughs – and move from good to great in your business.
Steve Mitten CPCC, MCC, 2005 ICF President, works with leaders, executives and independents wanting to create extraordinary meaningful and successful lives. Steve is devoted to raising standards in the young profession of coaching and through his coaching programs and book, Marketing Essentials For Coaches, has helped hundreds of coaches find an affordable and authentic path to commercial success.
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