Coaching weaknesses helps a client know what they aren’t good at–their weaknesses–and is an important part of helping them discover their strengths. Remember, we all have weaknesses. If nobody else was weak where you are strong, you wouldn’t have a life purpose! Below are two steps to take with a coaching client to help them understand their weaknesses:
Step 1: Examine Experiences: Have your coaching client think of several roles or situations where they felt they didn’t do well (often frustration, stress, ineffectiveness or lack of confidence are signs of functioning outside our strengths.) In each situation, what were they doing that wasn’t a strength, didn’t come naturally or sapped their energy?
Coaching Weaknesses Tip: Be alert for coaching clients whose lack of confidence or self-awareness shows up in a long list of weaknesses and a short list of strengths. I like to see a strengths list at least as long as the list of weaknesses.
• “Where in life have you said, ‘That was too much work—I’ll never do that again?’”
• “In what areas of life do you look at others and say, ‘Wow! They’re really good at that?’”
• “Take a look at your strengths. All strengths tend to have corresponding weaknesses. What are yours?”
• “This weakness may well be the flip side of a corresponding strength. For instance, people who are good at details tend to be less good at visioning the future, and vice versa. What do you do well in another area that makes it tough to do well here at the same time?”
• “Is it most difficult for you to talk about your strengths, or your weaknesses?”
Step 2: Self-Inventory: Now, have your coaching client step back and start to draw from what they already know about their self. What could they add to their list of things that de-energize them or don’t come easily? Where in life do they expend a great deal of energy to get adequate results? Have your coaching client add these items to their list.
Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, The Christian Life Coaching Handbook.