How we honour our values

 “It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the love and courage to pay the risk. One has to abandon altogether the search for security and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace life like a lover”

Morris West: Shoes of the Fisherman


I. What is a value?

 “Happiness is when what you think, what you say an what you do are in harmony”

Mahatma Gandhi

 Values are what we think it’s true, represent our “sense of right or wrong”, are those things we stand for, or those things which hold us back, they are our terms, our world view, the way we consciously or unconsciously believe the world works, our tools to see the world, our internal motivators and our life style priorities and preferences.  

Often they are developed at an unconscious level coming from family backgrounds, teachers, and peer groups. They develop over time as we develop as individuals. They are often masked by general life values, so getting beyond these reveals the true identity of a person.

Steven Covey refers to values being “maps in our heads“, or the way things should be.  We are often unaware we have them and assume the way we see things is they way they really are. Susan Jeffers makes an interesting reference to values as “establishing your priorities“, which is more in line with your overall goals, when making decisions in life. Larry Winget believes that our most important things in our life are the things we offer time. The more time we give to some thing ore action, the more important and valuable is for us.

A core-value is one that is relevant to all aspects of an individual’s life, not just in one life area such as career, money, or physical environment.

ü      From our values arise our behaviors

Our core values describe our reasons to behave as we do.

We often describe other people in terms of our value-system:

“I like her, she’s very honest.”

The values we hold reveal a great deal about the kind of people we are, and yet we often blindly adopt them from others, without considering whether they match our actions or not. To each value corresponds a type of behave.

ü      What we values determines the choices we make and the actions we take.

ü      Discovering their core-values, the clients, will gain a greater sense of motivation, meaning in life, satisfaction and abundance.

When we value something we want more of it in our life.

The more of what we value we get, the more satisfied we are.

The more satisfied we are, we’ll start to experience life as more meaningful.

Unfolding more meaning in our life, we generate more physical, mental, emotional, spiritual energy which drive us to a greater sense of motivation.

Robert Hartman said that ideally is to put a greater value on:

Others/self > things/task > system/ideas/concepts

ü      The very good reason we elicit our clients core-values is to understand the controlling factor behind their beliefs, behaviours and motivation. When a client is able to live their life and honour their values on a consistent basis, then life will be fulfilling for them.  They will continue to grow and develop.  

ü      Our core-values give us clear vision in our life.

A clear vision set the direction in our goals and values represent what’s going to get us there, creates emotional and spiritual energy. 

Core-values represent our framework which enables us to move in life.

Our purpose, core-values and vision represent our strategic focus on ourselves in order to make our life plan. So, core-values enable us to act and to make plans for the future: to set goals, objectives and actions.

When we live our values, we’ll become aligned with our true-self.

I think that alignment is a key principle to a fulfilling life.

In my opinion, before discovering our client’s core values, we must discover our own values. So, the question is: What are MY core values? Do they serve me and those around me? It is “a must” to find out the answer of this question because we, the coaches, are the first committed to our own growth – physical, intellectual, social-emotional, spiritual – and we know that the process of coaching involves modeling the behavior we hope that others will achieve.

We ourselves, are the constant in all our coaching relationships, issues, goals, clients, they are only the variables. Clarifying our core-values will make us more aware about who we are, allows us to know our strengths and weakness, we know how far we can go with our training and maturity. Eliciting our values enables us to know when our clients need assistance outside our capacity as coaches.  If we are uncertain of our competence, unsure of our ability, then our hesitation will be transmitted to those we are trying to coach. Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development, said that never to listen or take advices from a person who isn’t more prosperous than you. We can understand and coach better our clients when we are more aware of who we are, before asking the client to elicit and prioritize their values in order to find out their core values.  

ü      Examination and clarification of this standards and resulting choice can lead to either to a change in our behavior or to a change in our attitude towards ourselves.

ü      Clarifying the client’s core values undermine the work of the Saboteur, because action based on our values is more powerful than the Saboteur’s reasons for not taking action or other course of action.

ü      Values clarification increase self-awareness for us as coaches and for our clients as well.  As we become more self-aware, we are able to be more aware of others.

Our values, drives our operating system, determines our vision of life: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social and financial.

ü      Clarifying client’s core values gives them power and freedom over their own decisions.

Stephen Covey in his book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” talks about many people climbing the ladder of success and reaching the top, only to find it’s leaning up against the wrong wall!

A very important question is: “Is this action a habit or a choice?”

“It has been suggested that our behavior is 80 percent reaction and 20 percent action by choice…Naturally, as we recognize conditioning we have the opportunity to choose whether to accept it or change it. If we don’t recognize it, we remain a victim of it.”- John WhitmoreCoaching for performance

To clarify and choose our own rules of conduct rather than accept them as well-worn childhood habits gives an ultimate freedom and power over our decisions.  If we have learned that a certain action is “wrong/bad”, if we don’t examine the reason for ourselves, we might live our lives either obeying rules which are no longer relevant, or reacting against standards of behaviors merely because they have been formulated by someone else.  

A lot of stress, disruption, depression and sadness come from this lack of values in our lives. When you’re living someone else’s recipes of life we might be feeling useless, meaningless life.

When you are living your own values, it means that you move yourself consciously towards your goals that really matter for you and fully satisfy you. Right now, YOU are the one who directs you towards a fulfilling life and you start to enjoy the ride.  You’ll become aware of your qualities and your flaws.

ü      Knowing our core-values makes us have more effective communication. When we understand what makes individuals who they are, be it in a personal or professional setting, then we have the potential to be more effective when we communicate. When a manager in an organization understands the individuals in their team, then with experience they’ll be able to get the best out of them through the appropriate communication.

ü      Eliciting our core-values provides us focus for our lives

ü      Living our core-values minimize our prejudgmenet and improves our understanding of other people.We all see the world through our own psychological history, which determined our beliefs, attitudes and values.

When you are aware about what your qualities and flows are, you’ll know what’s your role in this world. You become peacefull, you will start to live your true-self which brings harmony and fulfillment.You’ll start to know to transform your flaws into qualities and the flows of others will stop bothering you.

“Values, however, do not drive a man; they do not push him, but rather pull him…Now, if I say man is pulled by values, what is implicitly referred to is the fact that there is always freedom involved: the freedom of man to make his choice….” – Viktor Frankl – Man’s search for meaning 

Our vulnerability arises from one of our greatest assets – our uniqueness as individuals. We see the world from our own perspective, based on what we believe is important. We pay attention to some things and leave others out. We see in different ways, using different tools. We often see the same things differently. Our decisions are uniquely our own and are based on our interpretations of what we perceive. These interpretations can differ. They can collide with those of others and they can be inaccurate“. Dr. Robert S. Hartman, the founder of Modern axiology.

In an information age, in which there it is a great competition for our affections and our values, it is very important to encourage our clients to find out their core values.

It is a changing world, where values appear to be changing more rapidly than ever before, there is a choice for all of us when we are confronted with different standards: we can cling to the values of yesterday, we can switch to “modern values”, or we can choose the standards by which we wish to live.

The idea of values clarification is not a wish to change old and treasured values because they are out of date and no longer relevant.

The intention of values clarification is to understand our reasons for holding certain values, so that then we can choose to adopt them as our own.  We will be in a position to defend our value-system when necessary, either to ourselves or to others, we feel that we are in charge with our destinies. Alternatively we can live our life bounded by rules such as “I should do this” or “I must do the other”.  We’ll feel helpless because we haven’t chosen these rules, and this helplessness leads us to anger against ourselves, family and system.  

So anger and guilt, could become an unhappy spiral without any changing result in behavior.

Servicing values which we deny in our actions reveal contradiction in the messages we’ve being given to those we come in contact with, in this way arise a blurred picture of us, both to ourselves and to others. Acting against automatic values leads to problems of guilt, when in a vague way we feel guilty about some act done or undone, without quite knowing why.

In an organization, focusing on core-values:

-attracts and retains talented people

-loyal customers

-empowers and improve teamwork

Knowing the client’s core-values is a solid foundation for an effective and powerful coaching relationship, determines the way we approach them as clients regarding a specific situation, increase self-awareness and motivation in their life and ours too, empowers the coaching process and raises the ability to see more opportunities, facilitates choice and fulfillment and represents a Catalyst for winning as a coach.

When a client knows his core-values and lives them everyday aligned with his beliefs and goals, he will have the sense of success and prosperous life which empowers him to take control of himself, and literally to become the change he wants to see in this world.

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