When coaching a client, you are bound to run into topics and areas that are complex or complicated. For example, you may have a client who is struggling with a morning routine. They want to do creative work in their early morning hours, but they also know that exercising early in the day ensures that they are more likely to be physically active. They have core values tied to their creative work and to prioritizing wellness and health.

What can they do when those values seem to contradict one another?

Alternatively, you may have a client who says that they value something, but their actions are communicating the exact opposite. For example, they might say that they want their family or children to be their top priority, but then they continue to take on work projects that keep them working late at the office at nights and over the weekend. This leads to less time for them to spend with their family.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, it can sometimes be easier for a coach who is in a more objective position to identify these kinds of tensions. Coaches play an important role in pointing out contradictions and mis-alignments, but always from a perspective of curiosity and non-judgment. Some powerful questions that can help with this might include:

  • What is the relationship between that choice and your core value of X?
  • What does X value want to say to Y value? And Y value to X value?
  • What core values are represented in that action?
  • What tensions can you identify in this situation?

Exploring tensions can offer breakthroughs for clients who are trying to strengthen the alignment between their values and their actions.