Strengths Spotting


The idea of strengths spotting is to label to others the strengths that you see them using or hear them speak about. 

Sometimes we see others using strengths when we are working alongside them or observing them. The important part of strengths spotting is to tell the person, tell them how well they are doing and why - what skill do they have, what strength do they clearly have that has made something a success?

Other times we might not see the strength in action ourselves, instead we hear about it. It might come through during a conversation about something that happened that day or recently. It might be evident through a class activity or how settled a pupil is, a brilliant report or creative resource.


There are always opportunities to see what is going well or how a persons strengths are being put to use in school. The key is to be on the look out, spot them and feedback to each other. Sometimes it can feel a bit strange at first - our brains are often wired to look for what needs to be improved or areas to develop. Give it a go, and over time it will become more natural as a team to spot the strengths. 


How do you do it? 

Strengths-spotting can happen at any time - in a meeting (zoom or in person), during a chat (staffroom or on the phone), during a lesson - role modelling and using the key words in front of pupils. 


Here are three tips to keep in mind for effective strengths-spotting while you are working with others:

  1. Label: Name the strength you notice - What do you observe/hear?

  2. Explain: Give an explanation for your observation - What were they doing when you noticed the strength?

  3. Appreciate: Express appreciation/affirmation - Why do you value that strengths expression?


Why not give it a go with someone else as a practise - Colleague, Friend, Family member:

  • One person is the listener and one person is the talker.

  • The talker is to tell a story about something they have achieved recently or something they are proud of - it can be in anything.

  • The listener listens and “spots” the strengths in the story. 

  • When the speaker is finished the listener can label the strength/s by giving feedback to the speaker about what strengths they heard in the story and how they were used.

  • Swap roles so both people can take a turn.

Development questions

  • How does it feel to be told your strengths?

  • How do you think knowing what your strengths are will help you?

  • What do you think the benefits of recognising strengths in others are?

  • How did it feel telling people what their strengths are?

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