First: Ten questions on strengths for
England's leading positive psychologist, Alex Linley, Ph.D.
He has an alternative conception of strengths and a new, co-authored
book, The Strengths Book
Second: A free coaching workshop tonight, Thursday,
5/6/10, at 7 pm eastern. To join, click
1. Coaching TeleWorkshop with Ben Dean - Thursday, 5/6/10
2. Upcoming Live Interview with UK's Alex Linley, Ph.D.
3. Main: Ten Questions for Alex Linley, Ph.D.
4. The Complete Guide to Positive Psychology Practice--a
5 MentorCoach Upcoming Foundations Coach Training
6. Upcoming Advanced Coaching Master Classes
Coaching Teleworkshop With Ben Dean
A two-hour Intro to Coaching Workshop
Includes live coaching session and virtual drawing
for a full tuition fellowship to the
Foundations Coach Training Program
Thursday, May 6, 2010 -- 7:00-8:59 pm Est
Here to register!
2. Upcoming Live Interview with Alex Linley, Ph.D. 5/14/10
Join Ben for a Q&A interview with Alex Linley--one of England's
leading positive psychologists and co-author with Janet Willars
and Robert Biswas-Diener of the new book, The
Strengths Book: Be Confident, Be Successful, and Enjoy Better
Relationships by Realizing the Best of You
INTERVIEW WITH ALEX LINLEY, Ph.D.
DATE: Friday, May 14, 2010
TIME: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm Eastern (New York
TO REGISTER (and to receive the recording),
ABOUT ALEX LINLEY. Alex Linley, Ph.D.
is a psychologist by training and Founding Director of the Centre
of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP - www.cappeu.com), a people
management consultancy specializing in strengths approaches.
He also started the Strengths
Community website which provides resources, downloads and
information for people who want to know more about making the
most of strengths.
Alex is a regular speaker on strengths and positive psychology,
having delivered keynote presentations throughout the UK, Europe,
the United States, and India. He has written, co-written, or
edited more than 120 research papers and book chapters, and
six books. His time outside work is spent with his wife
and four children.
3. Ten Questions for England's Positive Psychologist, Alex Linley,
BEN: Alex, welcome! I'm looking forward to this conversation
and to our live interview next week.
ALEX: Thank you, Ben, as ever it is great to
be in touch with you and to have your help in spreading the
word about strengths.
BEN: You write that strengths are the things we
are good at and that energize us. Why is that distinction
important? And how do you define a strength?
ALEX: That distinction is critical. We probably
all know the advice about “play to your strengths” and that’s
great – as far as it goes. The real problem comes because most
of us don’t know properly what our strengths are. We think they
are the things that we are good at, but that’s only half the
story. Our work has shown that we can be good at something but
drained by doing it (like me and Detail). In situations like
this, we can be externally rewarded for doing something well,
but internally we are paying the price. That can leave us confused
in the short term, disengaged and burned out in the long term.
We draw the distinction between strengths – what we are good
at and that energize us – and learned behaviors – what we do
well but are drained by. This distinction is critical if people
are to be fulfilled and productive.
BEN: How does your thinking about strengths differ
from that of Chris Peterson and his work on the Survey of Signature
Strengths and from the work at Gallup?
ALEX: I think the work of Chris Peterson (who
I would consider a friend) and Gallup is great, and I have learned
a lot from it. But the real differences in our thinking are
about energy as an element of strengths, and about how we best
assess strengths. Our strengths assessment, Realise2, examines
strengths according to energy, performance and use, and we then
combine the ratings for each of those to determine if something
is a strength (realized or unrealized), a weakness, or a learned
behavior. Other assessments can only tell you about your “strengths”
because they only assess one dimension, like traditional personality
assessments. But Realise2 was designed to be a second generation
BEN: Chris Peterson's Survey of Signature Strengths
identifies 24 strengths. The Gallup Strength Finder identifies
34 strengths. Your own Realise 2 instrument measures 60
strengths. Why so many strengths? And can you name
a few of them and describe what they are.
ALEX: We decided on 60 strengths because we
were trying to strike the right balance between being pragmatic
and comprehensive. We actually have 130+ unique strengths in
our database, but we included the most prevalent and representative
in Realise2. Our user experiences (over 10,000 people have taken
Realise2) show that this enables people to get a much better
picture of themselves. For example, our analysis shows that
the top Realised Strength in a representative UK sample of over
a thousand people is Improver (people who try and find better
ways of doing things). The most prevalent Unrealised Strength
is Legacy (people who want to do something that outlasts them).
Neither of these are typically captured in other strengths assessments,
and yet our data show they are the most prevalent! So what would
people be told if these strengths weren’t being assessed in
the first place – they’d just be lost and people wouldn’t be
getting back an accurate picture of themselves.
BEN: If people, want to take the Realise 2, where
should they go?
ALEX: Realise2 is available online at www.strengths2020.com
There are no restrictions on who can use it, unlike some other
assessments, because we want to make it available in support
of our mission of Strengthening the World. Realise2 costs £15
(approx $25) per user, which includes a Profile Report, Development
Report, and Personal Development Plan.
BEN: What's the difference between a
"Realized Strength" and an "Unrealized Strength"?
ALEX: In one word, “Use.” Realized Strengths
are the strengths that you use on a frequent basis. Unrealized
Strengths are the strengths that you are not using so much –
as a result, we see them as your areas of greatest potential
and development. This is a real departure from traditional strengths
approaches, and shows how we can grow by developing our strengths.
BEN: So there are at least three areas to concentrate
on: our Realized Strengths, our Unrealized Strengths, and our
weaknesses (or lesser strengths). True? Which of
these offer the greatest opportunity for development?
ALEX: True but there is also a fourth area
to be aware of, our Learned Behaviours – the things we do well
but are drained by. All four areas offer potential for development,
but in different ways. Our advice is to Marshal Realized Strengths
(use them appropriately, but don’t overplay them), Maximize
Unrealized Strengths (use them more to realize their potential),
Moderate Learned Behaviours (use them appropriately but don’t
overuse them), and Minimize Weaknesses (find ways to use them
less or stop using them). We explain all of these in detail
in The Strengths Book. The greatest opportunity for development
is not always simple – it could often be using your Unrealized
Strengths more, but equally, that advice might vary depending
on the situation you were in.
BEN: Can you give us an example of how one
of your clients or colleagues has used this work to become more
effective and, perhaps, happier in their life.
ALEX: There are five different case studies
that we use to introduce the book, which we put together from
a composite of our experiences with people to protect individual
identities. For me, though, there is always one person who sticks
in my mind as a brilliant example of some of the work that we
do. He was a senior director at one of our clients. His role
involved responsibility for life and death decisions. He was
massive on getting things right and being perfect in what was
delivered (what we would call Pride, as a strength). His problem
was that while he needed to do this at work (and thank goodness
he did), he also took it home with him – and it was causing
him problems, because his family couldn’t live up to his standards.
Through our work on helping him to identify and develop other
strengths he had (including Enabler – helping people to do things
for themselves; Feedback – giving people clear guidance on what
to do to develop), as well as “marshalling” his Pride (in this
case, by turning it down and using it less at home), he was
able to transform his life. He’s still great at work, but he’s
now also great at home, and much happier as a result.
BEN: What's the most important message of The
Strengths Book for our readers?
ALEX: The most important message of The Strengths
Book is to recognize the value that comes through realizing
your strengths. I do not know anything that has so many payoffs
as doing this does – we identify ten distinct benefits of using
your strengths from the research literature, and this is included
in the book. It’s also available as a free download at www.strengths2020.com
BEN: How have you applied your work with strengths
in your own life?
ALEX: In multiple ways. One of my favorite
recent examples was in writing The Strengths Book. I wanted
to learn how to write better, so I looked at how Malcolm Gladwell
did it, and tried to learn from him (we call that “upward strengths
comparisons”). One of my team, Trudy, has great Counterpoint
strength (she brings different perspectives and is not afraid
to challenge), so I used her a lot in working on the book to
check my own ideas and approach. I’m good at Detail, but really
drained by it, which makes it a Learned Behavior for me. So
we paid a really good proofreader to check everything. Finally,
I’ve got a big weakness in designing things and being arty,
so we worked with a great designer, Rich, to do the cover design.
All of those things meant that working on the book was a joy
for 90% of the time, and the other 10% you can live with!
BEN: Thanks, Alex. I look forward to our
live interview next week.
ALEX: Thank you, Ben, I’m looking forward
to that too, and to being able to interact with the Coaching
Toward Happiness community once again. Thank you.
4. The Complete Guide to Positive Psychology Practice
Proud to Announce
an Exciting New Master Class!
Guide to Positive Psychology Practice with Professor Michael Frisch
11:00 - 11:59 am Eastern
Starts Friday, June 4, 2010
B. Frisch, Ph.D.
For more information, click
MentorCoach Upcoming Foundations Coach Training Programs
7:00 pm - 7:59 pm Eastern (New
Time (UTC/GMT) add four hours
Starts Tuesday, May 11, 2010
For complete information on Foundations, click here.
noon - 12:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)
International Time (UTC/GMT) add four hours
Starts Friday, June 4, 2010
complete information on Foundations, click here.
All MCP Foundations Programs are identical in content.]
Upcoming Advanced Coaching Master Classes
Becoming A Wellness
Coach: Living the Good Life, Part II (Requires
Wellness Part I)
8:00 - 9:00 pm Eastern
Starts Monday, May 24, 2010
For more information, click here
Psychology & Strategic Career Design Master Class
12:00 - 1:00 pm Eastern
Starts Wednesday June 9, 2010
For more information, click here