Core Values

Our core values are present with us all the time

However, most of us can’t name them. Read about the benefit of being able to!

I have learned over hundreds of coaching sessions that there is no scenario that a person brings to coaching that does not have a core value at play.

One of the first things I suggest to my new coaching clients is that they complete a core value identification exercise. It is very common for a client to be motivated to be coached but is less sure of what to work on in coaching. So, I always suggest that we start by gathering some data starting with core values.

Would you be able to name your core values right now if I asked you to?

We each have a unique set of core values. However, if you are like most people (including me before I worked with a coach myself), you likely struggle to name them.

Coaching sessions provide the perfect opportunity for slowing life down so that you can think and better know your own mind. This may be the only time that you will find that you can take to fully explore the things that you put a stake in the ground for.

You may be wondering:
Why is it important to know exactly what your core values are?

Here are some thoughts that my clients have stated have been impactful for them.


1. They drive all your decisions.

In fact, one of your core values drove your decision to read this article right now. You core values drove you to the career you have and other life decisions.

2. Life is a constant adjustment to another person’s values.

The source of many interpersonal conflicts is the result of a clash of values. Once you know your own values, you become more open to consider the core values that other may have, or even the values of the company that you work for.

3. You may be living out of alignment with what you value.

Without awareness of your core values, you are not able to adjust and back in alignment. It is like swimming upstream when we act outside of our core values.

4. Core values are at the heart of your triggers.

I am sure you are familiar with what it feels like to be triggered. In fact, it is hard to put into words. It is a slow burning anger that sometimes causes us to explode! At the heart of every trigger is something smacking up against a core value. This is a great reason to be aware of your core values so that you can be aware of the things that will set you off.

I encourage you to try the exercise below. It is the same one that I use with my coaching clients. I like to think of it as a “starter” on the journey to discover your core values. This is a journey, and it takes some reflection time, so don’t rush through it.

Step 1:
Core Values are those things that you will take a stand for. Circle or highlight up to 15 core values listed below that are very important to you.

Authenticity Justice Harmony Fortune
Achievement Kindness Loyalty Productivity
Adventure Knowledge Honor Independence
Autonomy Leadership Health Innovation
Balance Humility Altruism Integrity
Beauty Skill Control Happiness
Boldness Recognition Emotional Wellbeing Compassion
Challenge Dignity Love Excellence
Collaboration Relationships Aesthetics Empathy
Communication Family Spirituality/Religion Respect 
Connection Passion Independence Responsibility
Courage Honesty Humor Service
Creativity Wealth Forgiveness Spontaneity
Curiosity Openness Faith Self-Respect
Determination Physical Appearance Fame Status
Trust Friendships Power Optimism
Wealth Peace Stability Meaningful Work
Fun Nature Wisdom Commitment
Logic Morality Personal Growth Recognition

Step 2:
Of those values that you circled or highlighted, narrow your choices to 5-6 of the ones that are the MOST important to you by writing them in the blanks below. Here are a couple of questions to help you narrow them down:

Keep the ones that you feel are non-negotiable
Keep the ones feel truly authentic to me
Remove any that you I feel you “should” have but truly don’t

Step 3:
For the 5-6 values you wrote down, reflect on what this value means to you. Then, record how you define each value in your own words

If you have made it this far, you have some great data to work through with your coach as you begin to spot them in real-life situations.

No matter what your core values are, coming to understand exactly which are most important to you helps you will support you in navigating your work and personal life.



Was this exercise impactful for you? Let me know –

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