Understand Yourself, Understand Others

Dr. Lynn K. Jones--Executive and Life Coaching

Photo: Sara Ferguson

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.”–Ralph Nichols

Individualism is one of the greatest gifts we have. The freedom to speak openly and express ourselves fully is something we should appreciate–it gives deep meaning to our lives.  Every one of us has the opportunity to make our own individual contribution to the world.   Many times we find ourselves inhibited from really doing this–we second guess ourselves, we doubt our abilities, we don’t understand what our unique advantage is and how to bring it to life.

As an executive coach, I help people to understand themselves and why they do what they do by first analyzing their strengths.  After we  analyze each person’s strengths, we develop a plan for how to leverage them in their family, their job and in their community.   That is the secret to making that special contribution each of us yearns to make–a  contribution that is a full expression of who each of us is as an individual.

I am inspired by the successes that I see in my coaching clients every day.  It was encouraging to read an article in The Washington Post about how  executive coaching  is increasingly being used as an effective way to support successful executives.  (A common misunderstanding is that executive coaching is used as a life raft for a failing executive. )   An executive coach should “help you better understand your strengths and areas for improvement.”

I use the StrengthsFinder, developed by the Gallup Poll with thousands of people in organizations around the world, which  determines  my clients top five strengths.    My clients are always excited to learn about their strengths and surprised how accurate they seem to be.  You would think that we would know what our strengths are, but it turns out that most of us don’t.  They are so integral to who we are that we take them for granted and don’t realize that there is anything special about them.

Recently I have been working with a whole team of managers at Hillside House in Santa Barbara.  It is exciting to learn what strengths they possess collectively as a team and how they can not only leverage these strengths individually but together as a group.

Feel free to give the StrengthsFinder a shot….for free!  Schedule a no fee session at your leisure (which is done from your home or office over the phone) and we’ll go over the assessment and get you on the way to gaining greater understanding of what talents you possess.



Dr. Lynn K. Jones
Certified Personal and Executive Coach


  1. Curt Lauber on May 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    It has indeed been interesting to learn about our strengths, to give them names. I suspect the real challenge will be in “operationalizing” them — holding them up against responsibilities and job descriptions and considering the implications for that dreaded concept…CHANGE!

    • Santa Barbara Coach on May 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm

      Hi Curt,
      Operationalizing how to a team’s strengths is the fun part. Looking forward to everyone’s best ideas about that. It shouldn’t be dreaded because the change involves getting rid of things we don’t do well and handing them off to others and also accepting things from others that we do do well. The challenge will be perhaps helping people to let go of any turf issues that might hinder such a process.
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Pam Flynt Tambo on May 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    It’s been interesting to look at the strengths individually, but I’m also looking forward to seeing the strengths of the whole leadership team. We analyze the strengths we have collaboratively and determine want to look for in new staff or enhance by using our current team members differently.

    • Santa Barbara Coach on May 15, 2011 at 11:32 pm

      Abolutely, Pam. It will be exciting to see what will come out of the collaborative effort! Thanks for having the vision and commitment to bring everyone’s best to light on your team!

  3. Calla Gold on May 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    It’s so true that many of us don’t even realize what our strengths are, and if we aren’t aware of them, how can we possibly cultivate them, nurture them, and put them to great use. It’s so important to understand yourself and what you’re good at.

    • Santa Barbara Coach on May 15, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      It is true, Calla. Because our strengths are so integral to who we are, we don’t even realize that they are anything special! I am the lucky one because I get to see the excitement people feel when they realize that they have a really special and unique contribution to make!
      Thanks for commenting.

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