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7 Questions on Leadership with Ellie Tabibian

Name: Ellie Tabibian

Title: Gallup Certified CliftonStrengths Coach

Organisation: ProAdvisor Coach

Ellie Tabibian is a Gallup Certified CliftonStrengths career and executive coach, university instructor, and published author. Ellie bridges 5+ decades of science with practical advice to help individuals and teams unleash their potential for peak performance, meaningful success, and wellbeing. Her calling to become a CliftonStrengths coach evolved from her first career as a school psychologist. She routinely saw many students, regardless of ability and intelligence, disengage. Her unwavering focus on what is right with people instead of what’s wrong with them, ultimately led to her burnout.

Unbeknownst to her, she was leading with Maximizer, a bias towards strengths, and was indirectly trying to affect positive change. In 2012, Ellie furthered her education in career education and counseling and has been developing great careers and best place to work cultures with the science and soul of CliftonStrengths technology. The soulful part of this work deeply resonates with her second Strength,” Connectedness.” She serves as a bridge to help leaders connect with their highest calling and authentic selves to become purposefully productive and increase engagement for their teams.

Inspired by lessons found in oceanic seas, Ellie creates thriving workplace cultures that enhance wellbeing and connect team members through authentic communication that lead to meaningful success. She is currently delivering webinars on “Overcome Imposter Syndrome with Emotional Intelligence” and “CliftonStrengths. Rocket fuel for Peak Performance.”

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Ellie's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The #1 challenge we face is “the tyranny of the urgent.” Our society, families, neighborhoods, communities and organizations are riddled with stress, fatigue, illness and exhaustion because of the tyranny of the urgent. We can sit by and watch this destruction, or we can do something about it. Focus on what’s most important and eliminate the noise to experience peace and serenity.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I have answered this question in my bio above.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I make a point not to check my phone when I first wake up. Instead, I give gratitude for the bed I sleep in and meditate for a few minutes. Then after checking my phone for urgent texts or emails, I drink coffee and walk my dog with friends in the neighborhood who also have dogs. I come home and get ready for my day with self-care routines and then I start work.

I have breakfast around 10:30, lunch around 1:00, and stop working around 6pm. At 6 I eat dinner then walk my dog again. During my afternoon walks, I practice gratitude, and staying present. This includes peaking my awareness on colors of trees, flowers, flowers, movement of my dog, sounds of birds, etc. Depending on the day of the week, I take care of my daughters and go out with friends. I go to bed around 10:30. I like to drift into sleep after listening to one of Eckhart Tolle's meditations.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

To become purposefully productive instead of just getting things done. I intentionally remind myself to apply at least one Strength (from my top 10 CliftonStrengths) to projects and conversations. This makes work become purposeful for myself while fulfilling the needs of those I serve with meaning and higher engagement.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

It's the Manager by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter. This book is the most practical and resourceful guide to help managers bring out the best in their teams. I love using the 8 questions to guide employee development for interviews, onboarding, and annual performance reviews.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Find out how you are wired to deliver excellence and become more YOU. Because you need to make your mark in the world with your unique talents, not mine. Take the CliftonStrengths assessment and invest in coaching to make the most of your talents for serving others.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

What is the loudest creature in the ocean? It's not a whale, or a dolphin. It's the pistol shrimp. Yes, the small, overlooked pistol shrimp. I will not go into the details of why this story, unless you'd like to learn more in a conversation.

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