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Watch Ron Gaschler, national director, career services and employer relations, at DeVry University, share how having a strengths-based approach during college is critical in preparing students for life and career beyond college.
From the video:
For students to have a Strengths-based approach in college is critical because I have seen in my own career how it really shifts the whole paradigm for them from the whole weakness fixing model that they grew up with to this focus on Strengths and what they're really good at. And helping them know and own what they're really good at. As well as even just helping them realize that there are things that they are good at that they didn't even, they were a strength and they didn't realize it, because it came so naturally to them, and explaining to them that's because it's your natural talent. You're going to do that better than another student. You can help that other student along when they're struggling in the area you're strong at, and they can probably help you as well. And those things. And just seeing them just much more engaged because of that and understanding how they can get ahead based on their talents and how they can help a classmate get ahead because they have talents that that other person doesn't have, and the team dynamics that play into that.
I think it's an amazing energy. I think whether it's in a one on one coaching situation or in a group session or class, the energy that comes out of it is amazing. And when you're in a group, it's fun because people start to play off of each other's strengths and they start to have their own ah-ha moments when another person has an ah-ha moment. And I always think of this group that I was working with at a community college with remedial students, and there were two young first generation college students in the back of the room, just came from high school, and they each had Competition and I asked them how they used the Competition in high school and they were in team athletics and so it was obvious. And I asked them if they were doing in athletics in college and they each said no, and I asked what were they doing alongside of college, and they were both working. And so then I asked the one young lady, "What do you do for work?" And she said, "I'm a collections agent." And I said, "What do you like about that?" And she said, "I like that I get to collect more than the other people on my team and exceed them." And everyone laughed, and I pointed out that that's her Competition in a whole new way, playing out, just like team sports in high school. And so then I asked the other young man what he liked about his role and he was a short order cook and he said, "I love being able to cook faster and better than the other chefs." And so I pointed out to them that that's an example of how you're still using your competition and you'll continue to use it throughout your academic career and your career beyond school. So having those ah-ha moments sets an example over other people. It just brought the energy out of everybody in the room.
When students who are about to graduate, or in a transition, have a grounding in Strengths, they are more equipped to be more confident about who they are, what they bring to the table and even more so, being able to articulate it. So when they're going through an interview process, ensuring that they're able to articulate their Strengths and their soft skills and how those are tangible and meaningful to the organization they're interviewing with, and just seeing them go into this transition with a different level of confidence, because they know the Strengths that they have to draw on. And so it's that whole focusing on Strengths and not on the deficit and helping them be more prepared to face a transition, even though it may have challenges and obstacles along the way from a Strengths perspective.
This content first appeared in the Strengths Insights Newsletter -- subscribe today!