Last week, I completed the first YouMap® group coaching session for Praxis participants. This week, I met with participants for a one-on-one deep dive and pulled compelling stories outta them to wow employers during interviews.
The idea of bringing stories out of people one-on-one is my own addition to the YouMap® process. Over the years, sharing my story has brought up many opportunities for me, so I’d been looking for a tool that affirms people’s talents while also allowing me to reinforce those affirmations through stories.
Let’s take a look at how I leveraged storytelling within YouMap® to equip participants for their career search.
I helped participants derive compelling stories from their strength report
To begin, I had each participant read their Strength Insight Guide, a personalized report from Gallup, one strength at a time.
While they read, I had them highlight or underline one or two statements that really resonated with them.
Then I’d ask them: “what sentences stood out to you?” — this is where I start pulling out stories because chances are, the stronger a sentence resonates, the more likely they’d be able to recall specific examples or anecdotes that best illustrate those strengths.
Here’s an example from my conversation with Noah who has adaptability — a ‘go with the flow’ person who can respond willingly to the demands of the moment. He read:
“You have an uncanny ability to easily and cooperatively proceed in the direction in which other people and processes are moving”
Noah gave me the following example when I asked “tell me about a time when you did this…”:
At my current Startup, I wasn’t necessarily on board from the beginning. So I kind of slotted in, not even at a transition point, just smack dab in the middle of everything going on. So I kind of had to try to catch myself up to speed and understand what direction we were trying to move in. Which wasn’t really that hard for me. But, I imagine that it wouldn’t be that easy for other people to just slot themselves into a position and be able to kind of take charge of what’s going on, I guess. Like, especially cuz I was put into a leadership position where the other people were kind of looking to me for [guidance] too.
First off, Noah’s strength here is every startup founder’s dream. I mean, who wouldn’t want someone who is adaptable, dependable, and can take charge no matter how chaotic the work gets!? Literally, chaos is the epitome of being at a startup. So, Noah’s story also works very well because a) it shows him in a job setting, highlights his ability to learn on the fly, and demonstrates his leadership potentials!
I got them to identify stories that show them working in a team setting too.
Teamwork shows up in every aspect of work, so it’s important to have a story ready to show for it. For example, Caysen got individualization (just like me), so he is really good at “characteristically [pinpointing] people’s unique traits, qualities, motivations, strengths, limitations, preferences, or attitudes.”
He offered me this example for teamwork:
“At Top Golf, I just knew certain individuals didn’t work well together. For instance, there are a couple of older ladies, who worked as porters. And there’s also like, 20-year-old teenage guys that work together. I just made sure to align the personalities together to make sure they’ll enjoy their job to the maximum.”
The cool thing about Caysen’s example is that it shows that he can work across generational gaps
Even better, he can take the lead to bring those various parties together at work. To make the story even more compelling, I also had the following coaching feedback for Caysen: “can you recall an exact moment when you brought those two age groups together to work. What was the result? Can you quantify? How did it start to begin with?
In addition to teamwork, I also encouraged participants to share stories from their personal life.
Our strengths thrive equally outside work, especially in relationships with friends, and those stories can be even more compelling. Here is an example from Don who has relator and therefore enjoys close relationships with others and finds deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.
His report read:
“Some individuals might have benefited from what you have read, observed, or experienced. Chances are good that you sometimes offer guidance to friends who seek your assistance.”
When I asked, “how does this show up in your life?” Don gave me the following example:
A lot of my friends in my close circle just ask me stuff, mainly because I’m one of the older ones in the circle. I feel like they do know I like to observe a lot of things. So my friend asked me about rent one time, he was renting a new apartment, and he was concerned that they only accepted money orders. And I told him, no, that’s perfectly normal. Most places do that, but you just didn’t know. [that friend] actually went into that apartment and rented it out. So yeah, it went well for him.
This story shows Don’s relator at play — how he is of service to his friends — and how he used his strength to deliver results! In our conversation, I also pointed out to Don that this is a story that he could easily spin out as a personal touch during an interview when asked “tell me about when you offered someone guidance…”
Going further, I even challenged each participant to identify their strength blends.
Strength blends are areas or phrases that describe two or more of their strengths at play. Those blends are much more common than we think, so it’s important for participants to identify those and how they show up in their stories.
Let’s pick it up with Don again, and look at how his input, which allows him to collect and archive information, combines with two of his other strengths: relator (which I mentioned in the previous example) and intellection, enjoy reflection and deep mental activity.
His input report said:
“You might want to absorb as much information as you can. Driven by your talents, you sometimes work hard on your studies or the acquisition of a skill. You attempt to know more than the basics.” —
Then, I asked Don to give me an example, and he said:
With working as a barista. I’ve done that for many years. So I know A LOT about coffee than the average customer, or [even] the average barista doesn’t know. And so when you have customers [who] are unsure about coffee, or maybe trying to break into the specialty coffee scene, like when [I’m] able to talk to them about it…almost guide that experience for them… it makes them want to then purchase your coffee. So, I guess I’ve experienced being able to [say], ‘Okay, let me tell you about the coffee. Let me tell you about who roasted it? What region did it come from? [etc…]’”
This story shows Don as an exceptional Barista. So, I shared my observations with Don on the call — that he is using his input to gather all sorts of information about coffee then connecting with a customer to help them meet their goal via his relator strength. Remember, people with relator find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal. Though that customer isn’t necessarily a friend, relator is a people-facing strength and is therefore customer-oriented, to an extent. Finally, Don’s “attempt to know more than the basics” shows his intellection strength because he went deeper with the info that he collected about coffee, more than the average barista! How awesome is that!?
What I learned so far…
So…1 hour is not nearly enough for this type of deep dive because I went over almost every time 😂. Truth to be this is the reason why a regular, paid YouMap® strength debrief is actually 1h30! But, hey, none of the participants complained, and I had so much fun — my individualization strength had a field day too — during those one-on-ones, I could’ve gone on for hours!
But seriously, on the more technical side, I learned to deploy the use of Otter.ai, an audio transcription tool, to best capture participant’s stories. The best thing about it too is the zoom configuration that comes with it because I was able to spin out the zoom recordings into transcripts in one go. Here is a video demo I made showing how I use Zoom + Otter.ai to review my one-on-ones and to pull out stories from participants. [link]
Stay tuned for next week’s 2nd group coaching!