What is a Values Coach?

I help you find purpose and meaning in life by living in accordance with your values.

Values Coaching

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Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be happier than others or seem to handle situations better than others? There are many reasons for this. A strong community, a sense of confidence and groundedness, a sense of meaning and purpose, all contribute to a sense of personal resilience and contentment.

One way of looking at your state of happiness / contentment is to consider it through the lens of resonance and dissonance.

When things are ‘in resonance’ in your life, they feel good to you. They feel good because they correlate with your personal values, the direction to which you’ve set your inner compass. You’ve likely heard the term “good vibes”,  some people will talk about felt sense of resonance, or resonating as being in a good vibration or frequency>

 When things are ‘in dissonance’ they don’t feel good to you. You may experience a feeling of being off, or discordant, a sense of off-ness. A fuzzy little off feeling that is usually an indicator that we are not in alignment with our values. Not as cringe-worthy as nails on a chalk board, more of a general malaise or nagging off-ness, like shoes that are slightly too tight.

Have you ever been involved in something that didn’t feel good to you, but you couldn’t pinpoint why? When you work with a values coach, I help you identify the resonance, and find that resonance. In fact, it’s really helpful if you’re clear on something that isn’t working, that gives great clues as to values you have that you are leaving behind.

When living in accordance with your values, you’ll feel more aligned, calm, and more harmonious.

What Do You Mean By Values?

How do we make that intangible feeling tangible and concrete? And more importantly, actionable? As a values coach, I work with you to identify and connect with your values. Which is to say, I help you clarify that which is important to you, to say it out loud and recognize what is motivating you.

We’ve all heard the term ‘values’, but how many of us truly know what they are? Think of them as the beliefs that motivate you. Most of us adopt the values of the family that we were born to, and the culture that we were raised in. And some of us reject those values, while others of us shift some but not others.  Have you ever stopped to carefully think through what your values are? Not the values of your religion, hometown or political affiliation, but your unique values, as unique as your fingerprint?

Values are what guide our behavior. In philosophy, values are crucial for ethical decision-making. In psychology, they’re the core of what makes a life meaningful, moving away from short-term satisfaction to long-term fulfillment. Abraham Maslow, the groundbreaking psychologist responsible for the hierarchy of needs, also noted that they’re an integral part of self-actualization, the highest point on his pyramid of needs.

Need help pin-pointing some of your values? Here’s a partial list to consider:

  • Authenticity
  • Balance
  • Compassion
  • Creativity
  • Friendships
  • Growth
  • Honesty
  • Humor
  • Justice
  • Loyalty
  • Peace
  • Responsibility
  • Security
  • Spirituality
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom

Do any of these sound like driving forces for the decisions that you make? For example, do you feel the most alive and resonant in environments that you feel have growth, authenticity, and peace? Do you go out of your way to seek out those things, or make decisions based on their presence or lack thereof?

These are questions a Values Coach will help you answer.

Coaching values list/ values coaching questions

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Based on that list, what do you value? Respect? Achievement? Loyalty? Belonging? Being yourself? Security? As a trained values-based coach, I work to help you clarify and identify your values, help you understand what motivates you, uncover resistances to change and take action that is congruent with what is important to you.

Here are some values coaching questions that can help you identify your values:

  • What do you go out of your way to do or not do?
  • What causes you anger, frustration, or to be upset?- this will help you see what value was not met.
  • When are you really happy?
  • What values must you have in your life to feel fulfilled?
  • What types of values keep showing up in your life?
  • What are the values that are core to the way you do your job, maintain your relationships, parent your children, and/or lead others?
  • What values challenge or stretch you the most?

Once you understand your values you can actively seek out life opportunities which support them, and similarly, you can actively avoid or minimize situations which violate them.

As you consider your values, and how that may impact your relationships at home and at work, consider some of these questions:

  • Which of my values does my partner share? Which values conflict?
  • How does my partner support my values and how do they violate them?
  • Switch seats - how does your behavior impact your partner's values?
  • How does your family interact with your values and vice versa?
  • What about my job and my colleagues; how do they interact with my values?
  • Which of my values serve me well - and which cause me problems?
  • Do I carry any values which I should re-examine and perhaps change?

How Values Coaching Works

Just like I’ve said on my life coaching page, you don’t need a coach. Let’s face it, coaching is a luxury. That said, you might be in a situation where you’ve been stagnant and coaching no longer feels like a luxury- it’s a necessity. Like when a vacation feels like a necessity- you don't want to recharge, you need to recharge. Coaching is an investment in you, your life today, and your future.

I am not going to light incense and talk about manifesting your reality. I am going to help you clarify what you want and help you pursue it. There’s a lot of mental blocks we’ll get through -- some you’re aware of and some you’re not. I’ll help you address them.

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When I work with a client, you’ll hire me for a finite period of time to help you move from here to there. During that time, you’ll achieve your goal, develop new skills and have a good time doing it.

If you’re familiar with my transition coaching, then you may have heard this analogy before. Say you’re a lawyer, and you're good at your job, paid really well and yet...you're feeling malaise. You feel like you’re destined to do something more, more impactful. At first, you are aware that you are uncomfortable where you are -- your career feels like a jacket that just doesn’t fit anymore. The style is wrong, it’s uncomfortable and you want out.

And you feel like you want something more. You want to make a more meaningful contribution.

As your Values Coach I would help you accomplish what you are seeking- more value from your career. You want meaning and impact, and you want your career to better align with your personal values.

So, we work together to assess and prioritize your values so that we can better create a new reality for you.

As your Values Coach, I will work with you on building a vision of this reality. We co-design this concept, this idea of what your life will be like based on your values. We will put up a couple of options, merge these points and those, start moving towards the direction you think you want to go and adjust, adjust, adjust. It’s a bit like Mark Zuckerberg’s philosophy of hacking -- we put something together that is so crazy it just might work, then we tweak and refine once we put it out in the world.

We experiment. And we reveal and respect what’s important to you.

So, say you’re a values coaching client, a lawyer, and you’re engaged. And you and your partner, who both grew up in the NY metro area, want out of the tristate area. You want to move -- maybe to Colorado.

We put Colorado on the map, and I’ll ask my client about the attributes of the life that she is envisioning. Why Colorado? What in Colorado is more in alignment with her values? We’ll start to think about her career -- does she still want to practice law, or perhaps she’d like to move into advocacy?

We’ll discuss, plot, and test out ideas. We don't talk, hypothesize, and wonder. When you’re a client, I will help you  move forward to take concrete steps on multiple paths you envision. As you walk on these paths it becomes clear, very quickly, which ones are right and which ones are not.

I’ve coached thousands of clients over the last almost 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of dreamy “it’s so crazy it might just work” ideas become reality, and I know how to work with clients to support you toward a future that delights you and has the meaning and impact you crave.

Beliefs and Values in Coaching

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I have been trained in and use Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy approach to coaching. Frankl has an incredible background that really informs his approach.

Many people know Frankl through his best-selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning. This book chronicles his experience during the Holocaust where he was a prisoner in the concentration camps for 3 years. He shares his observations of the men he was in the camps with -- the prisoners and the guards, and how they interacted and what helped some people make it through these desperately dehumanizing situations.

When Frankl entered the concentration camp, he held a transcript for a book he wanted to write about logotherapy -- it was his life’s work, and he was clinging to it, hoping that perhaps he could find a way to publish. The manuscript was destroyed but the ideas were not -- that man’s spirit is always healthy, and if he can get in deeper touch with his spirit he can keep himself healthy in trying circumstances.

He believed in this, this sense of one’s spirit being the “mental health medicine closet” for the a human. And he saw it in action at Auschwitz and the other concentration camps he was in. His book, Man’s Search for Meaning, was both the original philosophy of logotherapy, spirit driven mental health, combined with his experiences as an observer of and victim of the Holocaust.

Earlier in his career, prior to the Holocaust, Frankl worked with teens and women who were attempting suicide, treating these patients while he was pursuing psychiatry and earning his M.D. Frankl was eager to learn what kept people ‘going’ while they experienced hardships.

Frankl believed that humans are motivated by something called a "will to meaning," which is the desire to find meaning in life. He believed that life can have meaning even in the most miserable of circumstances (like a concentration camp) and that the motivation for living comes from finding that meaning.

Frankl believed in the idea that human life has meaning, and due to that, it is the central motivational force and factor in mental health. We all seek to understand what that meaning is in our own lives and we create meaning in any circumstance. Just think, there are people that have faced many tragedies and losses and instead of being broken because of them, they have been made better instead. If you value love, courage, and humor, the things in your life that embody those things, will feel resonant with you and thus, will have more meaning.

With Frankl’s approach, we have the freedom to decide the meaning of our lives. Or, the freedom to look within ourselves and reveal what is already there. We have the freedom to be ourselves, shape our lives, achieve goals and seek purposes in life, and that we have permission to do things that make our life feel meaningful.

If you’d like to look a bit deeper into your values, and what you find important in life, my clients enjoy this free character survey. It was developed by the VIA Institute on Character in Cincinnati, Ohio. The institute is dedicated to bringing the science of character strengths to the world. The link takes you to a free survey that helps you identify your strengths. According to their research, gaining awareness of your strengths can help you increase happiness and well-being, find meaning and purpose, boost relationships, manage stress and health, and accomplish your goals.

The survey will provide your rank order list of character strengths with the strengths that are most core to your identity at the top. Their VIA Character Strength Report is a paid survey that provides personalized and in-depth analysis of your character strengths as well as actionable tips on how to utilize them to your advantage. The first is free so that’s a great place to start. If you’d like to go deeper, do. Both resources will help you begin the process of learning how to walk in your values and maximize your strengths.

Values in Life Coaching

If you find yourself stuck, or swirling in inaction, values can be your compass, helping you to find yourself again.

How does a sports coach motivate her athletes? She sees the best in them, she knows their potential -- often potential they don’t realize they have. She sees that you’re an incredible sprinter, but your ball skills are lacking, so she boosts your weaknesses while playing to your strengths.

As your Values Coach, it's also my job to see, and boost your weaknesses, while playing to your strengths.

When I work with a client, we work on a specific, tangible goal or desired state, like “leave my job”, gain

more confidence”, “create other career options besides finance”, etc.

When we work together, we work together for the entirety of our engagement, not just during our sessions. Don’t save your questions (or challenges) for the in-office visits, let’s work together while you’re taking action between sessions. I am not a “see you at the next session” type of coach, I expect to hear from you between sessions. So be sure to check in with me, I want to hear from you.

Now I know my commitment to your growth may seem a little too good to be true, but it’s what works for me, my practice and my clients. It’s how my clients have been able to see the most success. Every coach has their own values in life coaching that they bring to the table. My values include: connectedness / relationship, professionalism, excellence, curiosity and humor. Maybe I’m for you and maybe I’m not. These are the values that motivate me to do my best for you.

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ICF Coaching Values/ Coaching Values

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I am a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a trade organization with the goal of leading the advancement of the coaching profession. Their CORE values include professionalism, collaboration, humanity, and equity.

As an active member, I attend the ICF bi-annual coaching conferences and have earned a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) level credential, the second-highest coaching credential one can earn. I am currently pursuing training for an MCC (Master Certified Coach) credential. There are fewer than 1500 coaches who hold this credential globally and I intend to be one of them in 2022.

I continue to improve, grow and hone my skills through continuing education. In the last three years, I’ve completed both the ‘Happiness Course’ with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and Jon Kabat-Zinn’s ‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction’ program at UMass. I attend ICF’s biannual coaching conference regularly. I keep up with my continuing education, and I strive to evolve my coaching practice to stay at the forefront of the industry. Excellence is one of my values.

 Final thoughts on Values Coaching

What are your thoughts on values coaching at this point? Have you identified some of your key values? What did you learn from taking the VIA Survey of Character Strengths survey and report? 

Remember, Viktor Frankl stated that life has meaning- and we create that sense of meaning in our own lives by making a difference in the world.

 When you book an introductory session with me, we can dive in more on these concepts and how we can make them work for you. Who knew that the answer to boosting confidence, increasing happiness, strengthening relationships, reducing stress, accomplishing goals, building meaning and purpose, and improving work performance was hiring a Values Coach?!  

Let’s get to work!

Allison

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