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 here.

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. on Strengths
4.  The Complete Guide to Positive Psychology Practice--a Master Class
5   MentorCoach Upcoming Foundations Coach Training Programs
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
Click 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 

DATE:  Friday, May 14, 2010
TIME: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm Eastern (New York time)
TO REGISTER (and to receive the recording), click here

ABOUT ALEX LINLEY.  Alex Linley, Ph.D. is a psychologist by training and Founding Director of the Centre of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP -, 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, Ph.D.

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 strengths assessment.
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 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

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

We're Proud to Announce
an Exciting New Master Class

The Complete Guide to Positive Psychology Practice with Professor Michael Frisch

8 Fridays
11:00 - 11:59 am Eastern
Starts Friday, June 4, 2010
Faculty: Michael B. Frisch, Ph.D. 
For more information, click here.


5. MentorCoach Upcoming Foundations Coach Training Programs

MCP 142 Tuesdays
31 Tuesdays
7:00 pm - 7:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)
national Time (UTC/GMT) add four hours
Starts Tuesday, May 11, 2010
: Jan Hill
For complete information on Foundations,
click here.

MCP 143 Fridays
31 Fridays

12:00 noon - 12:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)
International Time (UTC/GMT) add four hours
Starts Friday, June 4, 2010
Kim Kirmmse Toth
For complete information on Foundations, click here.

[Note: All MCP Foundations Programs are identical in content.]


6. Upcoming Advanced Coaching Master Classes

Becoming A Wellness Coach: Living the Good Life, Part II (Requires Wellness Part I)
12 Mondays
8:00 - 9:00 pm Eastern
Starts Monday, May 24, 2010
Ann Marie McKelvey
For more information,
click here

Positive Psychology & Strategic Career Design Master Class
12 Wednesdays
12:00 - 1:00 pm Eastern
Starts Wednesday June 9, 2010
Kim Kirmmse Toth
For more information,
click here







About Ben Dean -- Ben, Editor of Coaching Toward Happiness, is a coach,  psychologist, founder of MentorCoach, and... MORE.
Copyright 2006-2010. Coaching Toward Happiness.  All rights reserved.

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