Grow Your Talent: Discovering and Developing Talent with the Strength Based Approach

January 9 2018  —  by Julia Wolfendale, Founder and Director, On The Up Consulting Ltd

Imagine a conversation where you help someone to overcome their self-limiting beliefs and identify their key strengths and true potential. Just picture yourself guiding, inspiring and encouraging: you could be the person who helps someone make firm plans or discover how to be their best self at work. Now, isn’t this the kind of conversation everyone deserves? Isn’t this how people learn to thrive in an organisation?

Why is mentoring so important for young people?

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” - Bob Proctor, Author of The Law of Attraction

A mentoring conversation at work using tried and tested coaching techniques can increase employee engagement and inspire action. Research shows that it helps people to have a sense of purpose and feel valued for their strengths and contribution to an organisation’s success. Research by Deloitte has found that millennials particularly benefit from this approach.

At On The Up Consulting, we take the purposefully positive approach that in order to dig for gold, you have to first believe it is there! For young people who have already experienced adversity in their lives, these conversations matter more than ever. The effort that is required to actively seek work when you come from a household where nobody has ever worked requires bravery and tenacity. Likewise, it is really tough to find a way to shine during an interview when your application highlights gaps in your education and unemployment. It is hard to show confidence and motivation particularly when you are not used to talking or hearing about your own strengths and abilities. 

Whilst mentoring has traditionally been reserved for organisational ‘superstars’ or highly paid executives, we are seeing the growth of this as a recognised approach to develop young talent whether that is at apprentice and trainee level and particularly with those struggling to sustain employment owing to the challenges they personally face. 

Taking a strength-based approach 

So how can you draw these qualities out of your potential candidates and new recruits? Too often people feel defined by their difficulties. Taking a strength-based approach encourages employers to look beyond labels and see where passion and potential lies.

A mentoring approach based on discovering strengths and unlocking potential in a relationship is based on trust and unconditional positive regard. A supportive approach within a professional relationship allows candidates to retell their story in terms of what is important to them, describe what they have overcome and what they want to achieve. This can be a transformative conversation. This approach helps to identify personal resilience, resourcefulness, adaptability and determination, which are all such important qualities in today’s workforce.  

How On The Up Consulting supports employers 

So, as an employer, how are you nurturing people who have experienced adversity? Not all organisations have the time, skills and ‘know-how’ in house to take this approach and that is where On The Up Consulting comes in. Working with Greater Manchester Talent Match and with several housing associations’ pre-employment programmes, we know what works. We also know that organisations are keen to develop skills, learn coaching techniques, have access to simple tools and develop the right mindset to build mentoring capacity in their organisations. Your workforce is your most precious resource, which - if well looked after - will help generate great outcomes for your business.

How can you get started? Answer the questions below to test your organisational readiness and see where you could develop as a strength-based organisation. 

·         How are you working towards developing a strength-based approach to recruitment? 

·         How are you developing a mentoring approach for your apprentices? 

·         Are you preparing to develop your leaders and mangers to take this approach and adapting your own leadership style in readiness for this way of working?

·         How familiar are you with the tools and techniques to support strength based mentoring conversations?

·         How ready are you to discover the true capabilities of your potential candidates and new recruits? 

·         How are you going to help your apprentices thrive and your company succeed? 


Want to find out more? Get in touch to find out how we can help you grow your talent using mentoring and the strength based approach and help your workforce be their best selves at work and get things On The Up

Julia Wolfendale

Julia Wolfendale, MCMI, is the Founder and Director of On The Up Consulting Ltd, ‘A Purposefully Positive Organisation’. She is passionate about developing potential in organisations and people by using her skills in influencing and gathering insight. Having been the Marketing Director of Helly Hansen UK Ltd and the Behaviour Change Programme Lead at Manchester City Council and an accredited Executive Coach, she has a proven track-record for developing concepts, campaigns and influential communications for behavioural change in individuals and organisations. ​ Julia has experience of both the private and public sector and strong connections with public sector partners working within the reform agenda. She has been a key contributor to the development of a national workforce development programme sponsored by the Department of Communities and Local Government.