Using a Strengths-Based Approach to Change

Monarch Magic of Transformation “Strengths do more than perform.  They transform.”  ~ David Cooperrider



We all think we know what our strengths are.  Ask any savvy executive what her strengths are and she will likely tell you something like “decision-making” or “team-building.”  How about, “woo” or “input”?  Not likely.

“Decision-making” and “team-building” are not among the list of 34 strengths that the Gallup Poll has identified from over 30 years of research with millions of employees around the world.  But, “woo” and “input” are.

We assume we know what we are good at, but as it turns out we don’t have a clue.  We haven’t even heard of some of these strengths.  I mean, really, do you know what woo is?  Woo is one of the coolest strengths on the planet and about 1 in 5 of my clients have it—and they don’t even know it!

The reason why it is important to know what your strengths are is because people who work from their strengths have been found to be six times more engaged on their jobs.  Worker engagement has recently been found to be an important corollary in protecting people from the downside of being a workaholoic.  Not only that, managers with a strength-based approach nearly double the likelihood of their success.

David Cooperrider, PhD who developed Appreciative Inquiry, a strength-based approach used to create organizational and personal change, has found that focusing and building on one’s strengths is transformative.  Listen to him talk about that in this video and how when one takes a strength-based approach it can result in leading and designing positive institutions.

Monarch Magic of TransformationSo what is Woo, anyway?  Winning Others Over. Someone with the woo strength enjoys the challenge of meeting new people. Strangers are rarely intimidating. On the contrary, strangers are energizing.  Wow!  What a great strength to have.  I love having someone with Woo on my team.  They are great at sales.  Great at development.  Great networkers, event managers and a host of other things that I personally don’t really like to do myself.

Are you interested in what your strengths are and how you can use them to be more engaged and productive?   Contact me for a free StrengthsFinder assessment and coaching sessions to discover how you can leverage your strengths.

Interested in how your team can work together in using their strengths to transform your department or organization?  Call me to discuss doing the StrengthsFinder with your team or another break through training or retreat.

Have you used your strengths to your advantage?  I hope you will comment and share your stories of how using your strengths can be transformative!


Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Board Certified Coach and an Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US.   Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry.  She coaches individuals on achieving their reflected best selves.  A MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment and Leadership to social work students at the University of Southern California.

BCC Board Certified Coach #1487


  1. Gloria Miele on March 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for sharing this video, Lynn. I will definitely share it as well as your post. As a woo, I do like making those connections. ;-) Have a great day.

    • Executive Coach on March 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      I should have known you were a woo!! You won me over long ago…:)

  2. Bo Golovan on March 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Using our strengths is indeed transformative and also creates a powerful leverage resulting in more impact, effectiveness, influence in what we do and who we are.

    • Executive Coach on March 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      So true, Bo. How have you found that your strengths have supported your effectiveness?

  3. Patricia on March 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Dr. Lynn,

    How much of being a Woo rests on Wanting to Woo? Do all with Woo want to do so? Can we be a part-time Woo?

    Are there rules to our strengths?

    • Executive Coach on March 30, 2012 at 8:21 am

      Ha, Ha…if you want to woo, I guess you get married! Seriously, people with woo often feel that it is something to be embarrassed about because they know they can manipulate others with their woo without much effort. With all strengths, they can be liability if overused. Like most things, balance is important!

  4. Calla Gold on March 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I got woo! Now I know I got woo as a strength and I’ll go out and celebrate that!
    Thanks for your great post here Dr. Lynn!
    Calla Gold
    Woo-licious Personal Jeweler

    • Executive Coach on March 30, 2012 at 8:23 am

      Whoo Hoo, no question in my mind that you have Woo! And I see how you use it to do so much good!

  5. Helen Tye Talkin on April 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I love this post and the video about Appreciative Enquiry. So much better than Performance Review or other titles that create the ‘white knuckle’ reaction without even trying. I am taking away the statement David Cooperrider made at the end of the film: “The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make a system’s weaknesses irrelevant.” I agree that strangers are energizing, so I guess that means I have Woo!

    Helen Tye Talkin

    • Executive Coach on April 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      Glad you liked the post, Helen! Thanks for reminding me about Appreciative Performance Evaluations–definitely something that is very much needed and that I should share with my clients and readers.

  6. Nancy Andriuk on April 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I agree that the strengths inventory is very powerful tool for executive coaching. I remember a client who ranked her strengths. We discovered her job required her to constantly use all her less preferred characteristics. And it did not allow her to use her highest ranked talents. She burst out “no wonder I hate my job!”

    PS, when you live in Santa Barbara, it’s easy to WOO because we all want to come visit your beautiful city!

    • Executive Coach on April 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Nancy, What a lightening bolt that must have been for your client! It is true, when I moved to SB from New Jersey I had a constant stream of visitors and it was not my woo! :)

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