Introducing CliftonStrengths

God has shaped each of us uniquely with talents – things that we tend to do well.  Our talents are patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior that come naturally to us.  We each have a variety of talents that we can use in different ways.  And this causes each of us to see and respond to life differently.   

For example, here’s a picture of the edge of our neighborhood where I often take walks.  Now, imagine yourself in this picture taking a walk.  Let me ask you a question …IMG_20180411_120147830

Which side of the road are you walking on?  I typically walk on the side by the field!  My Strengths Theme of Connectedness draws me to the side that is closer to nature.  Meanwhile, my husband’s theme of Analytical lends itself to the rational and safe assumption that you walk on sidewalks.  Our top CliftonStrengths Themes act as a lens through which we see and respond differently!

The Gallup CliftonStrengths assessment helps us discover our talents and their potential to be strengths in our lives.  Gallup has researched countless talents, and grouped them into 34 themes.  Strengths Themes are groupings of similar talents that often show up together.  And when the talents in these themes are consistently used productively, they become true strengths!  For example, within the Strengths Theme of Empathy, talents that typically show up together include: being aware of one’s own feelings, having a wide vocabulary of emotions, and picking up on the emotions of others.IMG_20180526_123155595We start with discovering our Top 5 Strengths Themes.  These words don’t define or categorize us; they are simply the beginning of a personal growth journey.  On this journey we can become aware of how we tend to think, feel, and behave, as well as what our greatest potential strengths are.  This can help us grow in all areas of our lives.  I’ve experienced the benefit of this type of self-discovery, and it’s encouraged me to become trained as a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach so I can share this with others.

I love how our results are very individualized!  There is only a 1 in 268,000 chance of someone having the same Top 5 Strengths Themes that you have.  And it’s even more unusual for someone to possess the same Top 5 as you in the exact same order. This allows for much more variety than assessments with only four categories or types.  All 34 themes are equally good, and can be expressed in countless positive ways.

When we look at how our Top 5 Themes mix with each other, our results are even more individualized!  Your blend of themes allows you to express your talents in unique ways.  For example, my Empathy and Responsibility themes work together to make me emotionally aware of ways to serve people.  On the other hand, someone with the themes of Responsibility and Command might influence people to come on board a team and carry out a responsibility.  A trained Strengths Coach can provide helpful insights into how a person’s themes might be working together or against each other.

I want to note that our Strengths Themes are not WHAT we do but HOW we do it!  They are not labels or “what we should do” that limit us.  Two people can do the same thing using different Strengths Themes, and both be wonderful at it, simply having different styles and ways of doing it.  This is the beauty and individuality of CliftonStrengths!

Discover your Top 5 Strengths Themes with the CliftonStrengths assessment.  This is a great starting point, and you can learn a lot from just knowing your Top 5.  Later on, you could also discover the order of all 34 themes from your assessment results.  If you want to know what this order means, it’s helpful to talk with a Strengths Coach to make sense of this list and answer questions about what it means in your life.  

When we explore our CliftonStrengths results, we can discover how we are shaped to uniquely live them out.  Discovering our Strengths Themes is the first step to become aware of our talents so we can intentionally grow in them and use them.  The goal is to bless and benefit other people!  This is similar to Paul’s encouragement to use our giftedness:

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them …” ~Romans 12:6

In next week’s post, I’ll share what my Top 5 CliftonStrengths Themes are and how we can use our Strengths Themes to live and love well!


Now it’s your turn to discover your own personal style for living and loving well with the CliftonStrengths assessment!  Write me a note or comment below if you have any questions about it.  I’d love to hear what your Top 5 are!


Kathryn Featherstone is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a board-certified Christian Life Coach. She’d like to encourage you in your journey! Write her a note or see her Coaching page.

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