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Getting to Know Clifton Strengths' Guiding Principles

2. Themes are not labels

We live in a culture that likes to categorize one another. Our political system is an glaring example of being either a Republican or a Democrat, despite the various thoughts among people that make up those groups. A danger with being placed in a category is the expectation to live up to it despite its inaccurate representation of your actual self.

Personality tools can also create an unhealthy approach of categorizing if interpreted improperly. We do this by taking the results of the tool, and say things like “you are…”. The value with Gallup’s Clifton Strengths assessment is understanding that the themes given with your assessment results are not labels. A theme of talent is a way to understand a pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

Clifton Strengths does not provide categories that you should live up to. Rather, it is a tool that uncovers why you have lived up to who you are. This means it gives insight, by providing your top themes of talent, to what leads you to your normal patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. For example, some tools may tell you what room in the house you belong, but Clifton Strengths is unique in that it describes how you might decorate that room.

This kind of awareness is empowering. Instead of a label, there is explanation to motivations, predicted thought processes, and intentional choices. Once you’ve received your results, you may notice certain phrases or descriptions of a theme that do not make sense. This is perfectly fine, as the point isn’t to tell you what you are, or are not. The point is to provide an understanding of why specific talents are more frequently present over others. Suddenly a door has been opened. A new beginning. Why, you ask? Because Gallup’s research proves that when people invest in their natural talents, they become strengths. Those strengths cause people to be 6 times more likely to be engaged in their work.

You are not the results of your Clifton Strengths assessment. The results of the assessment is, however, powerful clues to why you think, feel, and behave the way that you do.


Do you want to know how you are designed to make your unique impact in the world? Contact Gallup’s Certified Strengths Coach, Dan Vincent, at to get your Clifton Strengths Assessment code. Kaleo Coaching is currently offering a great price of $20 for the code, plus a coaching session with Dan to learn how to interpret the results, and make a plan on how to aim them towards your goals.

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