Honouring Values

I’ve often had the experience of working with a client who knows he/she values adventure, but whose life hasn’t incorporated adventure for a long time. Or a client who values openness and transparency, and yet has been putting off a conversation he/she knows he/she has to have in order to honour those values in a relationship. This past weekend I got to explore these values coaching conversations more deeply, as I served as an assistant at the Coaches Training Institute’s Fulfillment course. One aspect of Fulfillment coaching is working with clients to identify their values, and then coaching clients to bring those values more alive and more in action.

What might this look like for you?

Below is an exercise we completed in the Fulfillment course. I invite you to give it a whirl.

1. Get clear on your values.

Think of some of your values. These might spring to mind readily, or you might need to mine past experiences to identify them (my friend and colleague Tanya Geisler has posted some values clarifications tools that could help you out).

I have a super long list of values, probably fifty or more, that all speak to me in various ways.

2. Pick five values that are calling out to you right now.

Don’t stress about having these be your “top five”; just reach for the ones that seem most important to you at this moment.

From my list, I selected peace, truthfulness, warmth, unconventional, and clarity.

3. Get measurable.

For each of your five, rate how much you are honouring this value in your life. 10/10: you couldn’t possibly honour it any more than you already are; 1/10: you aren’t honouring it at all.

My ratings:

  • Peace: 8/10
  • Truthfulness: 9/10
  • Warmth: 6/10
  • Unconventional: 8/10
  • Clarity: 8/10

4. Pick one.

Choose one of the values that you’d like to honour more in your life. You don’t have to choose the one with the lowest score–choose the one that’s calling you.

5. Dream big.

What would your life look like if you were honouring this value at a 10/10?

What would you be doing?

What would you be feeling?

Who would you be?

What would others notice about you?

As I envisioned 10/10 warmth, I noticed myself getting stressed. I imagined people dropping by, coming over for dinner, my home as a centre of hospitality; I got tense thinking that people would drop by and interrupt my quiet, peaceful day; I would have to be “on” even if I didn’t feel up to it; I didn’t have the energy to be that warm.

What was happening to me is a perfect example of what often happens in Fulfillment coaching: as one dreams about living fully in line with one’s values, all the voices about “Why this won’t work” get louder and louder and can prevent one from taking even a small action. This is a perfect time to acknowledge all those “Why not” voices, and then return to the spectacular feeling of what it would be like to honour one’s values.

6. Pick an action. Then act.

If you’ve been playing along here, you’ve identified some of your values, picked a few, chosen one to explore more, and dreamed about what it would be like to honour that value more fully.

Here’s where the rubber hits the road: pick one action, small or large, that will move you closer to honouring that value in your life.

For me, it was setting a date to host a dinner night at my house.

What will it be for you? I invite you to chime in on the comments.

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Do you have values you would like to be clearer about? Values you would like to be honouring more in your life? Working with a coach will add clarity and move you to action. I invite you to get in touch to learn more.

Laura McGrath, CPCC, is a Toronto-based co-active life coach who helps smart people to live from their hearts. Let's talk! You can subscribe to Ready for Change news to receive thoughtful notes on personal growth, and you can contact Laura to find out if coaching is right for you.