This first session focuses entirely on a values exploration. Doing this in a dedicated manner, reserving any “tactical” goals and next steps for session two, serves two main purposes:

  • It helps develop strong rapport, with you in a listening role and the client getting an opportunity to explore aspects of themselves that they know, but may not have explored verbally before. Get curious! For each value you discuss, ask follow-up questions.

  • By laying out their values compass, you create a shorthand for the guiding principles that will help inform decisions throughout the coaching engagement. You can also apply these values as a lens throughout the engagement to get a sense for when the client is making choices in line with these values, and when they may be in conflict with them

I often tell people at the start of this session: “This session will be the most abstract, but will help set the foundation for everything we do from here. Don’t worry; we will dig-in to your specific goals and get down to brass tacks starting next week.”

Start by asking, “Did any insights come up for you when you filled out the Discovery Doc?” Then let them know you also reviewed the document and pulled out key themes. In today’s session, you will throw out a theme and ask them a few follow-up questions to elaborate. You are in the role of an investigative reporter here, looking into exactly what makes your client tick and what ingredients help them feel most fulfilled in life and work.

Coach Preparation

  • Prior to the session, read their Discovery Doc and make a note of any key phrases, themes, or values that stand-out—at least 8-10 key themes.  

Session Format

  • Pull out one key theme at a time from your list, and ask follow-up questions. For example, “I could tell from several of your answers that creativity is important to you. What is important to you about that?”

  • After they give an initial response, ask a few follow-up questions:

    • What else?

    • What does your ideal version of this look like?

    • What excites you most about XYZ?

    • How does this play a role in your work today?

  • For homework, you will ask the client to do some follow-up reflection on this preliminary list, making their values their own and internalizing them by renaming and prioritizing them.


CR: Values Session Homework

Modify and send this after your first session.

Hi {Name},

I loved learning more about all of your values and what makes you tick! Below are the homework assignments I mentioned for you to work on between now and our next session.

Feel free to put any of your homework notes at the bottom of our shared doc—that way everything we do together will be in the same place.

Let me know if you have any questions between now and when we talk next!

{Your Name}



HW1: Create value chains for each of your values (word association) — bold the word or phrase that best represents each value set.

Example: Personal Growth / reading / learning / feeling inspired / inspiring others / sharing / recommending resources to friends / meeting interesting people / attending classes / challenging myself / evolving / learning new ways to improve and appreciate my life.

HW2: Write each value on a post-it note, stack rank them (in order of importance). Work on this throughout the week (usually doesn't happen in just one day, but it might!)

HW3: Rate how much you are currently living in accordance with each value, on a scale of 1-10

Optional - HW4: Bring your values to life: write them down or make a digital image or Pinterest board