Written by: Allyson Horne
Since 2009, TeamMates has become strength-based in addition to being a long-term, safe, school-based mentoring opportunity. Not only are we focused on the unique talents and potential of our mentees, but we also utilize Gallup strengths technology as a resource.
As an organization, we have witnessed the incredible ripple effects when we focus on talent and potential.
TeamMates connection to strength-based learning dates back to the early 1960’s when Coach Osborne met Don Clifton as a psychology professor at UNL. Don’s work deviated markedly from the standard areas of psychology study at that time. While most professors were studying the behavior of mice and rats or discussing abnormal human behavior, Don Clifton was talking about strengths and talent, positive psychology.
Coach Osborne often shares about the impact of a mentor in three ways.
- Affirmation: focusing on strengths and talent
- agape: establishing trust through unconditional support
- visionary: building hope for the future
Gallup has measuring measured the impact of hope and engagement for a number of years through their research in the workplace and in schools. High hope kids (and adults) do amazing things, both in and out of the classroom.
Our work is in creating ripples. There is an incredible impact when people show up for students across our organization. As a mentor, you show up not because you have to, but because you want to. When you show up focused on a student’s strengths, you can change the trajectory of how they use their natural talent. By investing in your own strengths and learning about the strengths of those around you, we become more likely to recognize and honor the strengths in others. That ripple effect of hope building goes on and on.
Learning about my own strengths was life-changing. I didn’t see these words as talent, let alone strengths, until I spent the time learning more about them, understanding their value, and identifying when they helped me reach moments of success. Name – claim – aim.
We all are a work in progress, whether we’re fourth-grader or in our late forties. When we invest in ourselves to discover our strengths, really dial down into those talents, and utilize them as a tool for our best days and most successful selves, the positive energy just naturally radiates to those around us. As a result, people are more engaged and more hopeful. Those ripples aren’t just you at your best – they are connectors and hope builders. And the more that we connect people to hope, the better this world may be.