Strengths Behind Successes

strengths behind successesStrengths behind successes are what give us the capacity for top performance, so behind our successes we usually find our strengths. In this coaching exercise, we’ll examine some personal successes and try to uncover the strengths behind successes that made them possible.

Step 1: List Successes

List at least five significant accomplishments. What have you done that you’re proud of? What successes have others hailed or appreciated? Where have you won competitions or awards, reached an important goal or made a real difference? Focus on a specific task, project, or event (not a role that stretched over months or years). If you can, pick things in different areas (work, family, sports, service, leadership) and different times of life, from childhood up.

Step 2: Identify Strengths behind Successes

Now take each of your successes or accomplishments in turn and identify your strengths behind successes. Which of your talents and abilities does this story highlight? What did you bring to the table that made this a success? Which parts came naturally to you or had a big impact with what felt like little effort? Make a list of the strengths you see in your stories

Coaching Tips

Clients who are younger or more insecure may draw a blank on accomplishments, or be shy about stating them. You can usually break through this barrier by starting with informational questions about their life (“Tell me more about what you do at work.”), and gradually drilling down toward what they’ve done well.

Here are some additional debriefing questions for drawing strengths out of a success story:

· “What did you do that made this thing succeed?”

· “What skills were needed to do this?”

· “Which part energized you or came naturally to you?”

· “What did you see or do in the situation that others couldn’t or wouldn’t?”

· “What did others affirm in you when you accomplished this?”

· “What did you do that made the most difference with the least effort?”

Tony Stoltzfus is an author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. For more information on Tony’s best-selling coaching books go to