Talent builder or raw strengths?

“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong…And yet, a person can perform only from strength” – Philip Drucker.

As a professional coach I often offer personal support to people who want to build up their skills. My coaching approach is easy: based on a goal, together with the coachee, we establish a plan of action, build a behaviour, test and measure success, experiment again and create results. It makes sense.

It’s often said that coaching, other than keeping people accountable for their actions, it also offers a non-judgemental view on their progress and therefore an empowered view of their talents.

Recently, a friend of mine, recommended me reading a book “Strengths Finder” by Tom Rath. In this article, I would love sharing with you the Tom’s ideas about people’s personalities and their strengths.

As we grow older we develop patterns in our behaviours and mindets, we create a certain way of approaching life and its challenges. A lot of people, often get used in being their main critique in trying to become someone else rather than themselves. “I need to change”, “I need to get better”, “why is X so talented”?…these might be some of the questions that they have in mind.


Although people do change over time and our personalities adapt, scientists discovered that our core personality traits are relatively stable throughout adulthood, as are our passions and interests.

It is easy to add skils to our repertoire, we can always take a course on financials, just as we can always learn how to use anew software application. The truth is that building our talents into real strengths requires practice and hard work.

But adding raw talent is a different story. The most talented people, start with a dominant talent, their raw talent serves them as multiplier.

STRENGTH = TALENT (natural way of thinking, feeling, behaving) X INVESTMENT (time spent practicing, developing new skills, building new knowledge base)  = STRENGTH ( the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance)

With these ideas in mind, Tom Rath developed in his book 34 themes of talent that people have and different ways to work for them.

For example: once you’re able to acknowledge that you are not great at managing details, you can find ways to partner up with people that are good at this particular task.

Here are few of these themes that I wanted to share with you today:


Description: They describe a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself.

Ideas for action: Select jobs that allow you to work hard as you want and in which you are encouraged to measure your own productivity. You love being busy but remember also to celebrate your own success. Continue education and accumulate certificates, it gives you a great feeling of achievement. Partner up with other hard workers and create your own scoring system. Create qualitative goals too!


Description: “When can we start?”. You are impatient for action, for you only action is real.

Ideas for action: seek work in which you can make your own decisions. Look for start-ups or turnaround situations. Look for creative thinkers and help other to move their ideas into practice. Consider partnering up with focused, analytical people. Don’t for get to give the reasons why your requests or action must be granted.


Description: You live in the moment. You are very flexible and very productive when you’re required.

Ideas for action: Cultivate your reputation as a calm and reassuring person when other become upset by daily events. Avoid roles that demand structure and predictability. These roles will frustrate you. Consider career areas such as journalism, television production, customer service and emergency healthcare. Look to other for planning, partner up with focused people. Seek variety in your work.


Description: You are a conductor, you love managing all the variables, you are at your best in very dynamic situations.

Ideas for action: You intuitively know how very different people can work together. Take a close look at groups with divergent personalities and opinions as they might need your skills. Seek complex dynamic environments. Take on the organization’s big event – a convention, large party or a company celebration. Take time to explain to others your way of thinking.

Stay tuned for more ideas:)


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