Using Your Strengths - Interview with Certified Strength Coach, Tara Dobbs
By Raman Kang
“I really enjoy helping other people find their potential, it was such a no brainer in that regard,” says Tara Dobbs, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.
Growing up, Tara says she never really knew exactly who she wanted to be, and so she never turned down an opportunity. After trying a lot of different things, she took over her father’s business and ran it for eight years, but something was never really quite right. “It was not a great fit for who I was as a person, although I didn’t necessarily understand that at the time, I just worked harder,” she says. When working harder turned into crashing harder, Tara made the decision to shut down the business. She had burned out. “The realization was that I was working myself to death,” she says. This rings true for a lot of women, especially in tech. They end up burning themselves out because they feel as if they need to do everything just to keep up, explains Tara. Around this time, she also had heard about the CliftonStrengths Assessment, a series of questions designed to help individuals identify their natural talents and strengths so they can maximize their potential. Tara decided to take the assessment. What did she find? Her talents were in helping other people find theirs. After taking the assessment, she realized she had already been gravitating toward the things she was naturally good at within her business, but there was also so much she was doing that wasn’t a fit for who she was. “I started going on this search for what I would do if I was using all of my natural born talents and it was through that evolution that I decided I was loving learning about strengths and decided to go down to California and get my certification to coach people in it,” she says.
After answering a series of questions the assessment provides you with an order that can be considered your own personal talent stack, and the talent order is completely unique to you. The goal is to recognize what you’re naturally good at so you can excel in those areas instead of working harder in areas that may could possibly be making you miserable.“When we focus on our unique strengths, we are naturally bringing the world to where our magic is,” explains Tara. There is also a big bonus in finding out strengths: it makes us happier. If we’re happy and doing things we’re naturally good at, then the people we work for, our clients or our families, are going to be getting better results from us, she clarifies.
For managers, this kind of assessment allows them to put people in places where they can succeed, and thus allowing the entire company to thrive. When you place someone in a role that isn’t right for them, you rob that person of their energy, the work itself won’t be of great quality and you lose the opportunity to make others, who are a fit for that particular role, shine.
“It’s one thing to read your strengths on paper, it’s another to know how to use those strengths,” she says. Tara shows people how they can take the information they get and use it going forward. As a coach, Tara acts as a passenger in the car (but not a backseat driver!), providing a different perspective instead of telling you what to do. “When we’re the ones living our lives we don’t always see what’s going on,” she explains. Although not everyone wants or needs coaching, reaching out to a coach is a way of doing a deeper dive into where you may thrive; it doesn’t just stop at finding your strengths, you have to put in the effort as well.“The person needs to want to make changes, take the action required and experience discomfort,” Tara points out. “Self discovery is such an important part of our personal development journey” she says, “it’s just another way to learn more about yourself.”
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Tara Dobbs focuses on making your workplace thrive by using the latest science and CliftonStrengths to optimize teams and cultures. She enjoys helping people find what they’re really good at so they can thrive.