Strengths coaching – team strengths. How to perform at your peak as a team.

You may by now be familiar with the concept of playing to your own personal strengths and the impact that can have in your life such as increasing happiness, increasing resilience and improving performance. Knowing and using your strengths can have transformational benefits for you as an individual, but how does playing to your strengths work in a team environment? And how does strengths coaching work?

I recently had the good fortune of listening to Anna Watkins MBE speak about her tips for winning a gold medal.  Anna won a gold medal in the London 2012 Olympics in the Women’s Double Sculls (a rowing category for those who aren’t sporty) with Katherine Grainger CBE, and one of her key messages was describing how working as part of a team and using your individual strengths can create an unstoppable force when your strengths are combined with the strengths of others.

I must confess, I’m not in the least bit sporty, but as a coaching psychologist I’m very interested in how and why people perform at their peak.  Anna explained how she and her team mate Katherine had very different strengths, with Anna preferring to focus on tactics, planning and detail and Katherine displaying passion, belief and intensity.  Although at times Anna and Katherine may have come at training from different perspectives, ultimately the combination of their unique strengths and how they complemented the other’s led to a record-breaking victory.


How does understanding and playing to your strengths as a team apply in your world?

Well, thinking about individual strengths and how they compliment the strengths of others as a collective can be useful in any environment where you are interacting with other people. Whether this be in a work environment, sporting environment or even in a family environment.

So think about a situation where you frequently work with others and want to achieve results. Ask yourself, are you clear what your own strengths are? Do you know the strengths of others you are working with? Where do you overlap? Where do you complement each other?

Diversity and difference in individual strengths in a team can increase team performance. As described beautifully by Anna – it’s a bit like genetics – you want parents to have different genes.  And the same can go for strengths – a team of individuals with very different strengths can create a powerful, cohesive and high performing team.


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