Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Too much of a good thing - issues in coaching

Much of the development literature is fixated on uncovering weaknesses and finding fixes for them. "Do you lack assertiveness/ confidence/ the ability to delegate? " the book titles cry and offer their pat solutions for overcoming such 'deficits'. While important, in recent times I've become more convinced that it is our over-strengths that cause us as much problem in our dealings with others, as our weaknesses.

Daniel Ofman has an interesting take on this subject of 'too much of a good thing'. He describes how our core qualities (our natural gifts) can tip in into becoming our pitfalls when used to excess. Thus helping can become meddling, decisiveness can become dogmatic, and assertiveness can become aggressiveness etc.

Taking this further Ofman suggests that we need to develop the positive opposite of our over strengths to counter balance our core qualities, rather than necessarily eliminate our over-strengths. Thus the assertive individual would do well to develop some responsiveness to others rather than attempt to eliminate their aggressiveness. Ofman believes that this form of compensation is likely to be more successful and productive ... unless of course this too is taken to excess.

Here's a short clip of Daniel Ofman introducing his ideas...sorry the image isn't great


  1. I think that's a great way of looking at things. The key is balance. Like everything in life, too much of one thing can't be good. Finding the opposite of your strengths and developing it is a great tip for life.

    1. Thanks for the comment - as you say balance is all !