A fun way to have a coaching client flesh out their values is to have them talk them through with a close friend who can ask them some powerful questions. Having a coaching client describe what they value out loud clarifies thinking and makes it easier to put those values down on paper later. For this exercise, your coaching client will need a good friend, family member or spouse who is willing to ask powerful questions and dialogue with them for a half hour or so on values.
Have your coaching client share their values one at a time and then try to unpack each phrase and explain what it means. Have the friend to mirror back to them what he or she hears, to make it is clear. Then have them discuss back and forth a bit.
Give the person assisting your client the powerful questions below so they can draw them out and coach them a little on their values.
What does the phrase ______ mean?
Why is that important to you?
What’s the part of this that makes you different than every other Christian?
Can you give an example of how that value influences your choices?
What’s one way you already live that out now?
In all that you just said, what are the two most important phrases?
Coaching Tip: This is a great exercise for Extroverts (who think out loud) or clients who aren’t into journaling. Once they’ve talked the thing through, the act of writing becomes much easier.
Reflection is looking inside—the introvert’s natural strength. Extroverts focus on the external rather than internal world, so they tend to find written, reflective exercises more difficult. Making the exercise into a conversation almost always helps—every extrovert loves to talk! Another option is for the person to dictate into a hand-held recorder or speech-to-text program instead of writing. Be alert if your extroverted clients start laboring with all this reflection, and give them some relational options to make it easier and more fun.
Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, The Christian Life Coaching Handbook.