When I first considered turning weakness into strength, I considered the words people say when they recognize their flaws are preventing them from achieving pleasure and success.
Then I remembered new clients and reluctant team members who were hauled along on a team day with me, wondering aloud, “What kind of hell is this?”
They are convinced that life or work is like that and that things are beyond their control. “Out of your control.” Thanks to the miracle of coaching, I’ve learned that our flaws mask what we actually need to learn.
- So, what better way to transform your weakness into strength than to achieve your goals in life?
- Using case studies and strategies that I’m familiar with has proven to be beneficial.
- Clients who expressed themselves in the following ways:
- Why am I incapable of learning?
- I’m being held back by my shyness!My to-do list is never completed!
- Why do I devote so much of my time to social media?
- Please tell me why I’m such a jerk.
- Why don’t I simply go ahead and do it?
- Why am I constantly terrified?
- Why don’t I ever defend myself?
- Why does it seem as if what I desire is never important enough to pursue?
This is your opportunity to transform your weakness into a strength; write it down and coach yourself out of weakness into strength.
1. Find Your Weakness
To begin, never stop yourself from identifying and feeling your flaws. If you’re a customer of mine, you’ll know that I make my clients feel the pain of the weakness they believe is preventing them from achieving their happiness, objectives, and success, as well as any other desire they’d like to realize.
Making your clients suffer may sound cruel, but it’s an important part of the process of transforming weakness into a strength that ensures you see results.
As a result, begin by feeling the agony of your failures and the voice in your head that says you it’ll never happen and that you’re not good enough. Don’t run away from the bad. Don’t try to hide from your problems.
This portion of a coaching session might last up to an hour in order for a client to adequately brain dump all of their thoughts in front of us. So, don’t be afraid to express yourself; just write it down.
2. Dig Deeper
When it comes to turning weakness into strength, the initial level of agony is frequently insufficient.
We usually talk about the milder forms of suffering because, like a beast in the corner of the room, we don’t want to admit it and realize that life as we know it is going to come to an end.
Working with a coach guarantees that you don’t dwell in your misery, that you identify and own your actual suffering, but that you don’t relive it over and over.
Here are some examples of the first two steps to demonstrate how they work. I’d like to tell you a tale about one of my coaching clients, Tom.
Tom explained to me that he wasn’t particularly bright and that everyone at work and at home brushed him aside.
It had suited his life until recently, but with ambitions to advance his profession and travel, he needed a respectable job to pay for it all.
He told me that as he looked around the office, he noticed that everyone but him had received a promotion. Someone who had only been with him for a year was already telling him what to do!
It irritated him, and he felt invisible and unappreciated as a result. Tom blamed it on his lack of intelligence during his session. “Telling me all this, how does it feel now?”
I asked him after he had explored what it had meant to him throughout his life and how this weakness had impacted him and his achievements. Obviously, it hurt, but that only stepped one.
He admitted that he felt silly and that he had squandered years. It was like watching someone get punched in the gut with a sucker punch. He paused in his speech and gave a half-smile, half-grimace, and I could see his eyes had become glassy.
Wouldn’t you reach across the table and say something reassuring in a normal conversation? As difficult as it may be, it is not your role as a coach to have an opinion, good or negative.
Coaching’s nonjudgmental attitude makes it easier for someone to open up and say everything they want.  That’s exactly what Tom did.
We looked into the real issue that made him feel stupid, and we looked at what proof he had to back up his claim that he was stupid, which was obviously non-existent.
3. Explore Your Beliefs
Step 3 entails delving into that person’s beliefs. It’s difficult to accept that much of what we consider to be fact is actually just an opinion or a point of view.
By converting a perceived truth into an opinion, a person can discover that there may be a different way of thinking, reacting, and doing in order to get better results.
We did this for Tom by looking at the evidence he had showing he was foolish. “So Tom, how did someone so foolish get to work at X, did they feel sorry for you?” I joked with one of my clients.
As cruel as that question may sound, it’s phrased in a lighthearted manner, and Tom burst out laughing.
It’s not easy to be presented with new information. Tom then proceeded to tell me about how he had been headhunted. When that happened, he was taken aback.
He hadn’t been at the job long and had not anticipated it. This brought evidence to his mind that he didn’t even have any evidence to back up his claim that he was ignorant!
If you want to get rid of your weaknesses and start changing them into strengths, seek evidence that you respond/act/think in the way that you believe is your weakness in every part of your life. There will be areas of your life where you don’t have that weakness, no matter how significant it is.
Coaching can take a variety of forms depending on the situation, so we’ll look at various tactics that can help you move forward and address your problems. When you’re stuck, this is ideal!
Looking for that flaw and figuring out where it doesn’t exist is a great method. Then you can ask questions to figure out why this aspect of your life is so different from that.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with an incredible group of people for the past three years, and they all agreed that they were terrible communicators as a company. It popped up again and again:
- We receive much too many emails to respond to them all; if you did, you’d never get any work done.
- Nothing gets done around here without a meeting, a sub-meeting, and half-dozen lengthy paperwork being duplicated all over the place for days.
- I’m not even in that department, but I’m always being dragged into meetings and conversations.
- If I didn’t have so many worthless emails to go through, I could finish work at a reasonable hour.
- You get copied in on everything because everyone is so nervous about making a decision!
Allowing everyone in a team (even if it’s 220 team members in one 2-hour coaching session!) to complain and voice their opinions is critical, but there are some ground rules to follow:
- No one’s point of view is being judged.
- There is no such thing as an incorrect viewpoint.
- There is no such thing as a bad concept.
- There is no such thing as a stupid question.
- And, as I like to say in Vegas, whatever occurs in this room stays in this room – albeit with less cocktails, dancing girls, and one-armed bandits!
(These guidelines also apply to self-coaching!)
After everyone had completed step 1, we moved on to step 2. We began to realize that this enormous team’s capacity to be so honest had really aided them in becoming the country’s leading organization since their consumers were constantly at the forefront of their minds. Someone had jokingly exclaimed (you can hide in a throng of 220!)
“It’s a shame they don’t treat the employees the same way they treat the customers!” As a result of this sarcastically made remark, we began to consider the possibility that their greatest weakness was actually their greatest strength.
We researched and documented what enabled them to be leaders in customer communications. Looking at their strengths allowed them to focus on their limitations and figure out what techniques and resources they already had that could help them improve and achieve more.
4. Explore Lots of Possibilities
This stage of transforming weakness into strength should never be overlooked. When people try to rush this stage of the process, they fail to coach themselves and others. As humans, our natural impulse is to seek the answer. You’ve already answered that, haven’t you? 1 + 1 = 2.
To truly construct solutions, you must first generate a long list of options. It’s usually a lot easier than you think, in my experience.
Let’s face it, if life is harsh and you feel like your flaws have been holding you back for years, you’re going to assume it’ll be difficult to change.
Overthinking is a major stumbling block to discovering solutions.
5. Examine Your Weakness
Let’s get personal for a moment: I was taught as a child that I was very sensitive. My perspective on this altered solely as a result of my own personal growth. So, take a look around.
Is it a strength that others don’t like, appreciate, or feel threatened by, or is it a weakness that others don’t like, appreciate, or feel threatened by?
“Oh, Mandie, you take things so personally,” my relatives used to say about me since I’ve always been sensitive. I only realized (in my late twenties!) that this was a positive thing, not a terrible thing.
My capacity to empathize with others means I am considerably more emphatic than most people, and I’ve learned to develop my sensitivity to a new level, allowing me to pick up on microexpressions and truly assist individuals on a level that most people overlook. 
Because I’m very sensitive, I’m able to do a fantastic job as a coach. I’m transforming my flaws into assets. Consider whether this is a flaw or a strength lying in plain sight.
6. Find Your Voice
Kate, not her real name, is another of my clients. Kate’s story is a great example of overcoming adversity. Kate worked for a huge corporation and was far from senior. We hosted a company-wide team day with over 50 employees.
Employees like Kate have been invited by the senior staff to participate in planning sessions and look ahead in their careers.
Kate described herself as “painfully shy” at the time. She believed it would have an impact on her profession, just as it had on her entire life. Kate discovered her voice via the coaching process.
She couldn’t go wrong by laying down the ground rules. When we are afraid of the outcome, we are afraid to speak up or act.
You’ll do everything you can to be safe if you think you’re shy and realize what it means for your life and success, won’t you?
Kate sat in the back row, silently listening. As the session progressed, we added more and more ideas and flaws to our list of things to investigate during the day.
Senior workers were not breaking down their barriers to honesty; in fact, I had the impression that they were more concerned with proving themselves correct than with learning how to achieve more and overcome their personal and professional flaws.
Kate came to a halt with a single sentence. “If that’s the case, why have you claimed you feel obligated to work weekends?” Kate inquired.
Surely, if this worked, we’d all be able to enjoy guilt-free weekends?”
No one appeared to know where she got the courage to speak up, but with that inquiry, everyone became more honest. She began to transform her flaws into assets.
Kate later admitted that she realized she couldn’t stand it when people didn’t address genuine issues. And it was that one question that transformed the entire day.
Find out what actually inspires you, and you’ll be able to overcome your fears.
Kate’s status as the “Shy one” worked in her favor because no one expected her to speak up. As a result, when she did, everyone took notice!
Don’t jump to conclusions about what you perceive to be a flaw. It’s actually a secret strength that you haven’t pushed your muscles on yet!
The coaching approach, as you can see with Kate and Tom, helped them believe in themselves and begin to trust that they were enough.
How likely are you to succeed if you don’t feel you can begin to change weakness into a strength?
The more I coach, the more I think social media should come with a health warning. — Mandie Holgate
Too many individuals believe that what they see on the internet is the whole story. When we should be looking for approval and likes in others, we should be looking for it in ourselves.
Look at how social media, the press, or even your favorite box sets make you feel if you feel you lack something or have flaws:
- Do they make you feel invincible and ready to take on anything?
- Do they make you feel like you’re not good enough?
- Do you ever think to yourself, “I’m not like that!” when you compare yourself to others? Is it possible that I’m not good enough?
Trying to be someone else will never help you transform your weakness into a strength. You must acknowledge that “This is me.” If you can’t, that’s the first flaw you should address.
7. Stop Procrastinating
The last thing I do with every client is look for the reasons why it won’t happen, the roadblocks they haven’t considered.
If you know you’re the type that can come up with a million reasons why something didn’t happen and none of them was your fault, focus on your accountability:
- Who will you inform that you are also taking this action?
- To whom will you submit your report? Imaginary bosses are fantastic — ask yourself, “Would my employer be pleased with my success if I had one?”
Life is busier than ever, so we may blame the kids, partner, boss dog, deadlines, traffic, and even illness for not acting on our flaws. However, if you return to the beginning of the coaching and truly feel your agony, you will do everything in your power to avoid it:
Do you need to schedule time off on your calendar?
- Is it necessary to write your goal on the wall of your bedroom?
- Is it necessary to set an alarm?
- Do you require an application?
- What would keep you focused on the end goal you want to achieve in the future?
And remember, hidden in every weakness is a strength, as Christine Szymanski said,
“Acceptance of your weaknesses along your life path you will stumble upon your strengths.”
The biggest flaw that all of us must overcome first is our fear of getting started. There’s no reason why you can’t turn your weaknesses into actual power and achieve the results you want in life if you take that leap of faith and follow these instructions. What do you have to lose?
- International Coaching News: The Importance of Being Non-Judgemental in a Coaching Relationship
- Inc.: How the Most Effective Leaders Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths
- PaulEkmanGroup: What are microexpressions?