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The start of the school year and mentoring is upon us and with it comes the opportunity to invest further in your strengths! Get caught up on all things TeamMates strengths by checking out the Genn and Millie Podcast episodes from this summer. You can listen by access our Genn and Millie Podbean site below, or by subscribing on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. 

Recent posts

The Bill of Rights for All Students

Gallup shared an awesome resource with us many years ago called the "The Bill of Rights for All Students." Their proclamations in this bill of rights is based off of their years of researching the classroom through their Gallup Student Poll. Through this tool, Gallup has studied the engagement, hope, and well-being of students in schools across the country.

Through their decades of research, they have found that students need three things:

someone who cares about their developmentto do what they like to do each dayto do what they are best at every day
But how can we as a mentor meet these needs of students? 
First, and most readily, we are that someone who cares about their development. We get to show up each week aiming to bring about our mentee's full potential. We do not show up to fix, to judge, or to question our mentee, their teacher, or their parent. We show up with unconditional love and acceptance, ready to point out their success. I remember the activity of &quo…

Strengths Baby Naming

An article came out from the strengths blogger Chris Heinz several days ago. He wrote short sentences about how each of the 34 themes might go about choosing names for their babies. Several people tagged me in the post of the blog asking my thoughts. We also had several conversations about it among the TeamMates staff. I found myself reading through the list thinking, wow, this seems fairly accurate. Now I do not have kids or kids on the horizon, but when my friends have children and they share the name prior to birth, I find myself wondering, why would someone name a baby before they meet them? For me, I found myself thinking I would not want to put a child into a predetermined box prior to getting to know them a bit. I laughed when I read the description about Adaptability naming babies. Chris wrote about Adaptability saying, "You wait until the baby is born to “try on names”. It is funny that even in this quirky blog post, I was reminded that the different ways we go about thi…

Strengths Activity- At My Best

Conversations have the power to bring our strengths to the next level. This week's strengths activity has curated conversation starters to help you and your mentee recognize talent and therefore develop your strengths. When answering these questions together, be sure to have your top 5 and top 3 strengths at the forefront. As you answer the starter questions, spot each other's strengths in the responses. At the end of the discussion, list 1-2 actions you could each take to develop your strengths further and keep each other accountable by checking in on these actions next time you meet.

Strengths Activity-Strengths Collage

Conversations are a great way to recognize, own, and develop our strengths. But sometimes, I find my mentee and I have the best dialogues when we are doing something kinetic. This week's featured strengths activity is hands on! 

In the picture above, you see a great example of this week's activity, a strengths collage! Our own words and descriptions of our strengths are powerful, just like strengths conversations, but sometimes, when we look to other's words, we can help expand our understanding of our talent. In addition, sometimes our words just don't "cut it", and pictures or images might evoke a more accurate feeling regarding your talents. Through this activity, you and your mentee will look to magazines, newspapers, and advertisements in order expand your strengths language as well as practice strengths spotting. 
What you will need:  A piece of card stock or journal pageVarious magazines, newspapers, or advertisements. GlueScissors Markers/colored penci…

Strengths Activity- Signature Theme Report

I was reminded recently of a common phrase, "back to basics." This week, I chose to highlight the activity Gallup teaches us to do first after we have discovered our top 5 strengths. It is an activity I have gone back to time and time again because sometimes going back to basics is the best thing we can do in our own development. 
The activity I will challenge you to do is a reflection on your signature theme report. Log back into and scroll down to find your report. See here: 

Download this report and print it. Yours will look a bit like this, with your name and top 5 listed: 

This report gives the longer definition for each of your top 5 strengths. Your mentee, if they are in high school will be able to generate the same report as you have by logging into their own strengthsquest page. If your mentee is in elementary or middle, you will be able to access the longer report for strengths explorer by going to the strengths explorer website and typing in…

Strengths Activity- Gratitude & Recognition

It is National Mentoring Month, and part of that celebration is taking time to deliberately recognize and express gratitude for our mentors. Recognition is an important part of strengths development. It could be easy to take the assessment, read the results, and then not do anything with it. This pattern happens all too often in the strengths world. Gallup compels us to take our results further by instructing us to first share our results with someone close to us. It is in this process, where others recognize the strengths in us, that we begin to see a clearer picture of our talents. When we take time to call out the strengths in other people, we are adding value to their lives and assisting them in their ownership of strengths. 

In this video, we see people recognizing the mentors and influencers in their lives. We challenge those that go through new mentor training to do this. Take time with your mentee to share about a person that has influenced each of you. Utilize strengths lang…