Week 1 (Part 2): YouMap Group Coaching

Part 1 of this week’s blog covered the prep work that led up to the group coaching on Saturday, May 8th. In this part 2, I go in-depth about what happened during the session.

First, I welcome the participants and reminded them to have the following items to work with during the workshop: Strengths Insight Guide, Participant Workbook, Your YouMap®

After reviewing the objectives, I went right into the Four Pillars of Career Fit (YouMap), which I break down below.

Pillar I: Strengths — a person’s natural inherited talents (not skills)

I began the strength debrief by defining what strengths are: a person’s natural inherited talents (not skills, which I’ll explain further below).

I also threw in this fun fact: 1 in 33 million people share the same top five — then engaged participants with the following question:

“What are the implications of only 1 in 33 million people having the same top five strengths? Why does that matter?

Based on the responses, the group pretty much agreed that this means that everyone is unique, and because we’re unique it’s important to understand our natural strengths.

According to Gallup’s research, working in our natural strengths promotes productivity and engagement (up to 6x), and decreases stress levels and role mismatches.

Once I established those facts, I explain how there are 34 strengths divided into four main themes:

  • those who build connections with people — relating themes
  • those who motivate people to action — influencing themes
  • the doers — executing themes
  • or you’re motivated by thinking — thinking themes.

Then, I engaged the group once more by asking: “does anyone have [Strength Name] listed on the slide?”

Note that I made sure to highlight all the strengths represented within the group in red. So, participants naturally took turns reading a brief explanation of each strength from their YouMap then shared how those strengths play out in their life.

For example, Caysen, one of the participants, had Developer which he read as “people exceptionally talented in the Developer theme, recognize and cultivate the potential and others they spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from the evidence of progress.”

When I asked, “how does that show up [for you]?” Caysen gave the following example:

“I work in a preschool. So I always try to figure out each kid’s individual strengths and how to bring the best out of them. And [with] my friends, I’m always having conversations about their future and how they can get better.”

I did the same thing for each strength represented until everyone in the group spoke up!

Pillar II: Values — what a person deems most important to them

I started the values debrief by asking a group member to read the following quote on the slide below:

Shortly after the group agreed on the significance of the quote, I explained that values are YOUR judgment about what’s important in life. Knowing your values helps create a vision of your life, aids in decision making, and keeps you focused on what’s important to you.

As a reflection exercise, I had participants write a brief description of their values in their workbook. Because each person is distinct, values vary widely. Therefore, it’s important for participants to capture their own personal definition of their values.

Case in point, during the call, one participant, Noah, shared his value, “happiness,” which he defines as “the state of being at peace with yourself, your surroundings, and life.”

Another participant, Parker, also shared the same value, but defined happiness as “being content or joyful with the way things are.” Though there may be some nuanced connections, those definitions might signal two different priorities.

Further, I prompted them to share an insight that came up after doing this exercise. That’s when Noah quickly added, “I’ve come to the conclusion, then I’m not very happy most of the time.”

That revelation offered not just Noah, but also other participants, an idea of what it looks like when people’s values are misaligned with their work and life. And therefore why it is crucial to get realigned.

Pillar III: Skills — Competencies a person has developed over time (not to be confused with strengths)

After going over strengths and values, I transitioned to the skills portion of the workshop. Unlike strengths, skills are not innate; I offered the following example for participants to further illustrate the distinctions:

Competition is one of the 34 strengths. It’s safe to say that most athletes get it in their top 5 (so did Caysen, one of the participants, who plays sport) since people who are competitive measure their progress against the performance of others, strive to win first place, and revel in contests.

But, that doesn’t mean that a Football player can turn into a hockey player in one day because that takes skills — competencies that people develop over time — often (but not always) based on their dominant strengths too.

I also explained how skills show up in four categories:

  • Motivated: Skills you’re good at and enjoy doing
  • Developmental: Skills you’d like to learn but haven’t had the opportunity
  • Burnout: Skills you’re good at but do not enjoy doing
  • Low Priority: Skills you don’t enjoy and don’t improve significantly

Then I had participants do an exercise where they had to highlight the motivating skills that they use in their current (or most recent role). And also highlight the burnout skills that they had to use. Below is a list of 55 skills divided into categories:

Similar to the values section, I asked participants for insights, and one participant, Ade, affirmed that his most preferred skills did align well with his upcoming role as a RevOps Associate at Uptitude8.

On the other hand, Parker realized that his current role as a bartender had him focused on his least preferred skills which made him feel burned out.

Based on those responses alone, participants were able to see how YouMap helps individuals both affirm people and pinpoint what’s not working so that they can get realigned for success.

Pillar IV: How I’m Wired — personality-based career interests

Finally, I introduced the fourth pillar of YouMap which is based on Holland’s six core occupation interest types. This framework explains that our personality determines our motivations and preferences at work. So, people are motivated in six different ways: to do, to think, to create, to help, to persuade, and to organize!

Below is a slide I shared with the group with a brief definition of the characteristics of each type:

For this section’s activity, I had participants read their career interest type description parts that resonated most with them.

I also explained that each career type has a primary and a secondary type which together combines to make a “nickname.” For example, Ade’s a career type called the “Regulator” which is the primary career code of Conventional, called the organizer, and the a secondary career code of Enterprising, also known as the Persuader. Here is a screenshot below:

Now, notice the link at the bottom of the screenshot above? YouMap generates that for each career interest type and it takes participants to O-net, a free online database that contains hundreds of occupational definitions to help job seekers understand the future of work. I also did a brief demo for participants during the session.

[insert video]

Session summary and call-to-action

After debriefing participants, on their strengths, values, skills, and career interest types, I concluded the session with three calls to action that participant needed to get done before meeting with me one-on-one:

  1. Craft your unique contribution statement — 250 characters long description of what they do best that others need. I gave them a how-to-guide via email for this.
  2. Create a shortened checklist of must-haves in your next career move (deal makers) as well as things you don’t want in your next role (deal breakers). While no job is perfect and may contain elements that a person may not always enjoy, having this checklist on deck helps participants be intentional and avoid making decisions out of fear and desperation.
  3. Complete your Ideal Day Worksheet. This is useful to clearly see what a fulfilling or productive day should be for them.

Finally, I wrapped up the session by opening the floor to participants for questions and comments!

What I learned…

Listening to the participants’ responses during the session, I was already starting to piece together how each one of my peers were similar yet different from one another…

For example, I see that Ade and Noah both share the same career interest type “The Regulator” in common and they both enjoy a wide variety of skill sets that overlap in the same categories. Yet they behave very differently given that their strengths are very different; 3 of Noah’s top 5 strengths are people-facing: Adaptability and Woo. While Ade skews heavily towards the inward-facing, task-oriented strengths like Achiever and Learner.

Seeing all these connections, I can envision doing a comparative case study to demonstrate how distinct people are, and therefore why companies should leverage YouMap to help their people to succeed!

As for my own performance, something I would’ve done differently is having a brief description of my strengths up on the screen to share with participants too. Though, I am in the coaching seat, participating on an equal footing with my peers' matters to me. Thankfully, I had Liliana helping me with Zoom tech support, so I was able to easily delegate to her the task of pulling up my YouMap and drop it in the chat. That’s how I was finally able to share some of my strengths with the group. Having that technical support was extremely helpful in keeping me focused on what I do best: the delivery of the session and being fully present with my peers 🤗.

Oh and fun fact: I had low-fi music playing in the background during each activity just for the fun of it and the group loved it! 😁

Next Steps

Now that I’ve gotten the first group session out of the way, I’ll have participants book their 1:1 calls with me using Zcal.

Stay tuned for week 2!

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Anne-Marcelle Kouame

YouMap® Certified Coach | Cultural Facilitator | Learning & Development | Diversity, Equity & Allyship | On a Mission to Connect the World through Storytelling