Ways to Use Values

The following are some ways to explore values:

Create a blueprint for making decisions. Ask, “If you say yes to this project, which of your values will you honor? Which will you ignore?” “How does saying yes honor more values?” “How might honoring your values by engaging in this project impact your life?”

Remind them what is important. Their values list can serve as a powerful reminder to pull them back to their center. Connecting with the value as a felt sense or associating a value with a metaphor activates the right or creative side of the brain. Remembering the value impacts their body, emotions and soul, as well as their thoughts.

Plan life direction and vision. Include major values in any vision or action plan. Check to make sure values don’t counteract each other.

Make values more conscious. Clarification of values can be a true eye-opener for the client because they develop a compassionate self-witness, a crucial element of self-acceptance. As they experience and embody their values, they reawaken subconscious forces and deeper energies that move them toward the realization of their visions.

Difference between espoused values and lived values

  Often people have a gap between espoused values and lived values. That doesn’t mean they’re hypocrites—it can just mean there’s a gap between how they live now and how they want to live. Making that gap conscious is an important step in crossing the gap. When their values are aligned and alive, it reinforces the client’s trust in the limitless potential of what is possible.

While holding our clients’ limitless potential, we can inquire into the specifics of the here and now. For instance, a client may value adventure, but hasn’t been honoring that value lately. How she is living adventure now and how she wants to live it may be miles apart. The coaching process helps her take on the challenge of narrowing the gap if adventure is something she truly wants in her life. By looking at the values she is honoring by holding back (such as predictability), the exploration can lead to opportunities to honor multiple values.

A common set of values may translate into different behaviors for different people. How would you know if someone valued creativity? What range of behaviors would you expect? As coaches, we honor our clients’ wisdom about what behaviors fulfill a particular value for them. You can help them clarify the values and behaviors and then hold themselves accountable for making the changes they say are important to them.

To have client’s explore their values, and the degree to which they are living them, we offer the activity below.

Activity: Write a tribute to your own life, or a hypothetical obituary, if you dare. It could be either for your life as it stands now, or for a moment in the future, when you have achieved some of your current goals.

Originally published in  Coaching for Transformation

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