StrongSuits in Practice – Interview with Ryan Behrman

The StrongSuits community consists of coaches, change agents and managers who are committed to improve authentic engagement at work.

Each month, we interview a member of our community and share about their context and how they use StrongSuits to the benefit of their organisation.

This month, we interviewed Ryan Behrman, who is a personal coach, agile coach and organisational team coach besides being a StrongSuits facilitator and licensed trainer.

StrongSuits (further: SS): Ryan, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are things that keep you motivated in your day to day? What attracted you to helping people and teams to develop using a strengths based approach?

Ryan: As individuals and as teams we are capable of so much more than we think we are. We can be happier and healthier in ourselves and our workplaces if we learn to listen, empathise, and play to our individual and team strengths.

SS: Helping others starts with helping ourselves. What was your biggest personal breakthrough from learning about your strengths with StrongSuits?

Ryan: My biggest breakthrough was in having my various teammates reflect to me what they saw as my strengths. I had some idea of my strengths, but having my teammates help me to narrow them down and choose between different strengths was a real eye opener.

SS:  Tell us about a challenge that you faced recently. Who was involved, what were they trying to achieve? How did you help them? How does this link to positive psychology, coaching and strengths based development? How did you use StrongSuits to overcome the challenge?

Ryan: These days I sometimes find myself using StrongSuits implicitly without even playing with the cards. For example, I found myself feeling frustrated with a colleague who I felt wasn’t considering the different angles to a particular problem we were facing. On reflection I realised that he was more an ideas person whereas I’m more about clarity and precision. Just realising this (with the help of my StrongSuits experience) allowed me to accept this colleague and to use his strengths in coming up with ideas, and my strengths in questioning and clarifying them, to our mutual benefit.

SS: As a StrongSuits Facilitator and Licensed Trainer, do you have any advice for other people about knowing about their strengths and playing to strengths?

Ryan: Knowing about your individual and team strengths and working styles is an important (perhaps necessary) step towards being more motivated and engaged and towards working harmoniously with others.

SS: What is your vision for the future of work?

Ryan: I see organisations becoming places where people can truly be themselves – in all their pain and glory.

SS: Would you mind sharing a little known fact about yourself?

Ryan: Oh no, not that question again! Well I grew up in South Africa and I once lived in Spain where I taught English as a foreign language. So if you ever meet a Spanish person who speaks English with a South African accent then you’ll know who taught them!
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