Workbook Overview & How to Identify Personal Values Exercise in 5 Steps!

Coach sat at desk with Personal Values Workbook and Laptop

Identifying personal values is an important part of our clients' journeys towards authenticity, meaning/fulfilment and self-esteem. This Values Identification Workbook has 5 pages of activities to give your clients a very personal prioritised list of their Top 10 Core Personal Values using a tried and tested process! Values Identification Workbook 3D image

I prefer a free-form approach for people to identify their personal or life values rather than choosing from a list (although there are times when using a sample list of values can be helpful).

Instead I like people to take their time—each step perhaps a week or two apart—and given as homework to bring to our next session. Once the client has finished they have a list of 10 powerful core values which we can go back to again and again during the coaching.

But that's not all! My favourite part of the values process is the prioritisation, which really gets clients challenging assumptions about the way they think they SHOULD be, as opposed to what REALLY matters to them...

While taking a few weeks over this may seem a long way round to get to a list of life or personal values, what's really valuable about doing it this way is that they get to use THEIR own words and insights. This method allows clients to focus on what's really important to them. It derives their values from their passions and interests, instead of picking values from a list of words or going straight to 'SHOULD Value' words - like honesty and respect - where people will often choose values expected of them.

This Personal Values Identification Workbook uses a Multi-Step Process.

You can give the client the whole workbook at once for them to do on their own timetable, or you can give them one step (page) at a time to work through their values in stages.

The 5 Step Process inside this Personal Values Workbook

Values Identification Workbook Page 3Step 1: Life Experience Review

Asks your clients to think about what they loved, liked, tolerated and disliked at various stages of their life. It's a great way to kick-start their thought processes looking for important themes, positive values, and where values might NOT be being met!

Step 2: Brainstorming Personal Values

Values Identification Workbook Page 4Asks your clients to brainstorm the question, "What's important to me in life?" writing down anything and everything (including non-value words like reading, gardening, my dog). The write down whatever pops into their mind - and these non-value words are important as they relate to a true passion or interest.

Step 2b: Brainstorming Values Wrap-up

Anything your client can DO or HAVE is probably not a value. So to wrap-up Step 2, your clients are asked to eliminate the free-form words and get to the value underneath. They review each item and if it's something they can DO or HAVE they ask themselves, "What does that give me?" until they get to the value underneath. Eg. Travel could be Adventure or Learning, Colour could be Beauty, Food could be Fun or Community.

Values Identification Workbook Page 5Step 3: Review and Condense Values

Asks your client to narrow down their brainstormed list to a top 10, grouping and combining words together in a line using slashes eg. Integrity/honesty/trust/loyalty - making sure to put the most important words at the front.

Step 4: Prioritise Personal Values

Values Identification Workbook Page 6In my experience, this is the most powerful and challenging part of the values process. This workbook uses a particular method to prioritise asking them to compare pairs of values. Clients are asked to choose between having - value (A), and NOT value (B)  OR  having value (B), and not value (A) for the rest of their lives. This is very different to asking which value they prefer as it really forces them to think about which values could not be lived without.

Try it yourself: Would you rather have Happiness for the rest of your life but no Integrity, OR Integrity but no Happiness? It really makes you think...

Values Identification Workbook Page 7Step 5: Review and Wrap-up

Finally, this workbook asks questions to see what your client has learned and how they could align their lives more with their personal values going forwards!

When to use this Personal Values Workbook?

This core coaching exercise provides a client's Top 10 Personal Values. When we start out with a client, it's helpful for both coach and client to know what a client's core values are. Personal values are helpful in many ways, like when:

  • Decisions need to be made. Use personal values to help clients reflect on their choices and make decisions that align with who they are.
  • Our Inner Critic and "Shoulds" raise their heads. Our personal values can help us take the right decision and behave congruently, even when our inner critic is afraid.
  • For extra motivation when we self-sabotage. Personal values can be a great reminder of what matters most. When you self-sabotage, which values are you not meeting?
  • Also use when setting goals. How are our clients' actions and choices aligning with their core values?

Get your Personal Values Identification Exercise & Workbook here >>

In Summary

As a coach, your client's list of Top 10 Prioritised Core Personal Values provides fabulous context and juiciness for our coaching.

Our values show who we are. And when we align ourselves and our actions with our values—we're being truly authentic. We'll have more motivation, more integrity and feel better about ourselves: powerful stuff!

And if you liked reading about this Values Process and Workbook, you may also like:

Values are just one of many coaching tools in our toolbox. Learn more about what coaching tools are, when to use them and how they can help in our Complete Guide to Coaching Tools here >>

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, 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 >>

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