Meet the Practitioner: Clive Leach

Tell us a little bit about you

My name is Clive Leach and I am an international Organisational Coach based in London, but I get to work in many parts of the world. In my work I get to apply coaching and positive psychology to help people of all ages to flourish – to feel good and function well in work, school and life!

I love my work because I get to work with young people and teachers in schools, with top leaders and executive in the business world and with people like nurses, social workers and government officials in the public sector.

Which of the At My Best tools do you use?

I use strengths coaching a lot in my work with adults and young people so I use the Strengths Cards.

Why and how do you use At My Best tools?

I love the At My Best strengths cards because they are open so much to the interpretation of the person or people that chose them. Different words and images mean different things to different people and as a coach it’s not my meaning or definition that counts but that of the people I am working with. I can give you 3 examples of how I have used them.

  1. In a leadership team context I have asked team members to choose At My Best cards that they think best represent themselves and also their colleagues and to share with each other why. This has led to some very positive feedback and trust building in the team. I have then asked them to choose from their cards those that best reflect the qualities of the team as a whole and use this to think about how they own and communicate their collective strengths within their school or organisation.
  2. In my coaching training workshops I often use the At My Best cards to help participants think about the qualities and strengths they bring to coaching. They come up with some amazing examples and it helps them to really think about their coaching skills and their coaching presence. It also introduces a great tool that they can use with their own clients.
  3. In my 1:1 executive and leadership coaching the At My Best cards have been really helpful for clients struggling to either identify their strengths or discover strengths that they can draw on to help them overcome problems or difficulties, seek out new opportunities and pursue their goals.

What impact have you had with the tools?

The cards have helped contribute to many positive outcomes. These include:

  1. Building greater trust, respect and co-operation between team members. People have reported real improvements in relationships which we know are key to well-being and performance.
  2. Helping leaders, teachers and students to develop a wider vocabulary of strengths and improve their ability to recognise their own strengths and those of others too. This impacts on relationships and supports positive appraisal conversations.
  3. The cards have helped to build qualities like resilience and mental toughness in clients in the sense they are better aware of the internal resources they can draw on to both overcome challenges and embrace opportunities. They report success in their goal striving and achievement and often attribute this to better use of their strengths.
  4. People love the cards and always take pictures of those they have chosen or they ask to keep one. I still have on my wall a card with a picture of a dog that I was given by a student at a university I was teaching in. I still remember their kind feedback that meant a lot to me when we did a strengths spotting exercise. So I know it means a lot to my clients too!

What advice would you give to others who are thinking of using At My Best tools?

My advice would be to use the cards yourself first. We have to walk the talk and I think its important that as practitioners we reflect on our strengths awareness and use. I have used the cards many times with my own coaches and also had the At My Best 360 done for me and it was very powerful and affirming.

I’d also suggest having a pack of cards with you so if you are working with a client who is struggling you can bring them out to help to focus on solutions. I also think they are great for teams who have been having some challenges – either with each other or as a team in terms of what they have been dealing with. The cards provide a much needed opportunity to shift to a focus on what’s working well and the positive people see even in the hard times.

Do you have a favourite exercise you can share?

One nice Team exercise is using the picture side of the cards. Each person picks a card for each of their colleagues and one for themselves. They lay the cards out in front of them and the other team members have to guess which card is for which person and say why. The team member who picked the cards then shares who they chose each card for and why, including the one they chose for themselves. You get such a wide range of reasons and interpretations – all positive and people love it! It takes about 15- 10 mins per person.

Thank you Clive for sharing!  If you'd like to connect with Clive and find out more about his work

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