I have been taught a strengths-based approach to coaching. One of the tools that has proved helpful to me, as well as to many clients and fellow coaches, is the VIA Character Strengths survey.

If you are interested, this online survey requires only about twenty minutes, since for each of 120 statements you simply check off one of five levels of applicability to you. No one sees your answers and the resulting computer-generated profile is expressed entirely in terms of positive strengths. Knowing this may make it easier for you to answer frankly and thus to obtain for yourself more accurate feedback regarding your strengths.

Once you have completed the survey questions, you will be asked to provide a little demographic information to help this nonprofit organization continue its statistical analysis. You will then be offered three profile options. Options 1 and 2 (which provide considerably more information) each requires a small fee; but option 3 will provide you with your free basic profile, including a brief description of each character strength.

This profile will rank order twenty-four universal human strengths, with your strongest at the top. All of these strengths are ones that you have as a human being, but identifying your top five – your “signature strengths” – can be especially useful. Print out your profile, and save the password you create on the VIA site. This password will facilitate your returning to the site later to review your profile and possibly purchase additional helpful information such as options 1 or 2.

So often we think of ourselves in terms of the things we do, the things we accomplish. The results of this survey remind us of who we are and what are our greatest strengths of character. They are worth twenty minutes!

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