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Some time ago, I gave a training and the projector didn’t work. I even had a spare projector with me but it couldn’t connect to my laptop as well. I was overwhelmed with stress and uncertainty overtook me in such an extend that I felt restless during the whole training. Even though that projector eventually got to work fine! I was certainly not in my strength. What hidden quality of myself could I have used to overcome this obstacle (restless)?
Everybody has character strengths. Character strengths are positive qualities you have and are innate. You can develop them further but you can’t share them with others, like competencies. Skills can be learned. Examples of character strengths are goal-oriented, enthusiastic, sensitive, emphatic or analytical.
Your character strengths are always present and always available. This reminds me of The movie “The Matrix”. At one point, a main actor has to fly a helicopter. A program is “loaded” into her brain that gave her the ability to operate the machine. This is similar to the use of your character strengths to realize your ideal. The difference is that you don’t have to learn or to load them. You only need to dust them down and to deploy them.
Character strengths are like the faces of a diamond and they can be dull or very shiny. Some character strengths are strongly present and others others mediocre or low. Are you curious about your own character strengths? Go to www.viacharacter.org for a free survey and an overview of your own character strengths.
Character strength coaching was developed by Prof. dr. Fred korthagen. He has studied many interventions (including NLP, psychoanalysis, ACT, RET,..) and has developed character strength coaching based of the most effective and positive results of these interventions.
Like the core quadrants of Daniel Ofman, character strength coaching focuses on core qualities (character strengths). However, character strength coaching focuses on the power of the the character strengths and the successes rather than on pitfalls, allergies, challenges and solutions to problems.
Why learn a new trick or skill to face your challenges or obstacles in life? This will disappear faster because it’s not really of yourself and not authentic. It is more effective to use your own character strengths in order to realize your ideal or longing. You’ll be more creative and motivated.
Have you ever noticed that people are shining when they are in their strength? When they tell you something they are excited about, when they are goal-oriented or calm? Korthagen calls this the “Shining Eyes”. People are more effective and can learn better if they are in this state.
Character strength coaching helps people to be in their strength and to shine. This happens when they are aware of what they think, feel and what they want with a problem-situation or an obstacle. This process called ‘ lifting ‘ in character strength coaching and helps get people in “flow”.
Now back to the story of my training where I felt restless because the projector didn’t work.
-What was I thinking? “I’m going to fail!”
-What did I feel? Stress and uncertainty
-What did I want? To help people successfully with my training.
That brought me to my ideal (to train with pleasure and in calmness) and I knew what character strength I had to use: ingenuity! Actually, I didn’t need the projector! I could give the attendees sufficient value using a whiteboard and some markers. Even thinking about this makes me feel the strength of my character strength. The stress and uncertainty fades away.
Character strength coaching allows people to choose consciously, in the now, which character strength can be used to reach an ideal (longing). Because your character strengths are so close, they are so powerful and simple that they become an unconsciously behavior. This makes character strength coaching sustainable.
For more information about force focused coaching visit the website from Fred korthagen and read his books.
What are your character strengths and how do you know use them consciously? Let me know in the comment field below. I’m curious!
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