Coaching Questions 101: 7 Questions to Identify Values with Your Client!

I believe that helping our clients understand themselves and what drives them is one of the most important services we provide for our clients. Values work is therefore an essential coaching tool in every coach's toolbox.

Below are 7 questions to identify values with your clients:

We'd also love to hear your questions and include them as a resource for other coaches. So, if you comment with your questions below, we'll add them to the list! 

  1. Ask your client to review their week. What did they go out of their way to do and not do? (Eg. If they picked up litter they may have a value of community or respect)
  2. Ask your client to consider times when they have got angry/upset/irritated (look for a value not being met)
  3. Ask your client about times when they have been really happy? (look for the values that are being met)
  4. If your client could only take 3 THINGS into a difficult, possibly dangerous situation, which are the things they absolutely must have? *
  5. What is your client's favourite animal and why? *
  6. What is your client's favourite activity and why? *
  7. Who does your client admire? What about them do they admire? *

* For Questions 4-7 keep asking, "What's special about that?" until you get to a value.

And remember, we'd love to include YOUR questions to identify values in this list - just comment below!

You may also like our other resources on Values and Values Identification:

  1. *Free* Coaching Tool - 89 Value Examples - to share with your clients.
  2. How to PRIORITISE a Client's Values - a powerful, tried and tested method.
  3. How to IDENTIFY a Client's Values - a simple 3 step process
  4. List of 73 Top SAMPLE Values - to help you and your clients get started!
Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>


  1. Gladys Kartin

    I have a question to contribute that I have used often with clients. If you could be any object in a room, what would you be? To expand this question, I would also ask, if you could be anything outdoors in any setting, what would you be?

    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Gladys, thank-you for those questions! Love them 🙂 And then I guess you would get into asking why, what was so important about those objects to get to the values! Thank-you, warmly, Emma-Louise

  2. Rick Ruppenthal

    Love #2 as it does open a conversation to go deeper.

    Number 5 is similar to what I use call, Metaphorically Speaking. It is where I would ask the client, "if you were..." country; article of clothing; animal; song; food, "it would be?"

    And then go into the because or why. It also brings out the strengths and possible weaknesses.

    Prior to doing this I usually, if I have not sensed it before ask them if they are willing to play a bit and be creative.


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