Coaching Skills For Leaders

Decoding the Power of Values: Their Impact on Personal and Professional Decision-Making

September 15, 2023 Neil Thubron and Jana Hendrickson
Coaching Skills For Leaders
Decoding the Power of Values: Their Impact on Personal and Professional Decision-Making
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine understanding your underlying values so well, they become your guiding compass in life and business. That's exactly what we're unpacking today. We'll take you through the profound impact values have on decision-making, behavior, and goal-setting. You'll also find out how tools like value assessment worksheets can amplify your understanding of your personal values. And if you've ever been torn between parenting and pursuing other interests, we'll delve into how values shape such vital decisions.

Now shifting gears from personal to interpersonal, we're going to dive deep into the world of values in relationships and leadership roles. Ever wondered how to strengthen personal and professional relationships? Clarity about our values may be the answer! We'll show you how these can build trust and foster connection. But it doesn't stop there - understanding the values of your clients, customers, and competitors could be the key to a competitive edge in business. Tune in, and let's decode the power of values together!

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Coaching Skills for Leaders podcast with Yana Henderson and Neil Thubberon. The purpose of the podcast is to help leaders anywhere develop their coaching skills to transform the lives of those they lead as well as their own. Welcome to another episode of Coaching Skills for Leaders with Yana and Neil. Hope everyone is well today and teed up ready for another fantastic episode with us we're going to talk about. What are we talking about today, Yana?

Speaker 2:

We are talking about values. Woohoo. Who doesn't like a good conversation about values? Values in the sense of you know, really working and living life, where you live into your own values as well as values as they show up in your team, in your organization, how you're leading your teams and organization with your own values. So we're going to talk about it in a few different ways and angles. And, yeah, I just really wanted to dive into this topic because it seems to be that it's always this nice to have thing, you know to know one's values, but really nobody really knows how to get there, how to find them, what they are. So we've identified that this could be a great topic for everybody to listen to.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think it is a great topic. I'm really pleased you suggested it the other day because I kind of was thinking about values and coaching skills and how the two connect. And then it occurred to me that you know, we all have values, whether we've written them down or not, whether we know what they are or not. We all have values that guide our behavior, guide our thinking, guide our decision making. You know we all have values that make us do the certain things we do, and maybe sometimes it would be helpful to uncover those for us individually, but to help us, but also, if we uncover those that might help how we then lead as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely, and I think it's exactly what I'm just pointing to, which is that a lot of the times, we may not even know what the values are, and what's even more interesting is when we have very little clarity as to whether our values are actually aligned with our goals. Right, so it seems that that would be a great one. To start, we want to find out, okay, well, what are our values and what values would we have to have in order to create the goals that we would like to create? All right, yeah, mm, mm, hmm, weg.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, honestly, I've never, in a coaching session, one-to-one with someone, worked on what their individual values are. Maybe I should have done. I've certainly worked with teams on what their values are, but have you ever worked with an individual on what their values are? And how did you go about it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes this comes up because they sense a feeling of being out of alignment with themselves. It may not show up as, like hey, jana, I really want to discover what my values are. That's very rarely how this goes, but it's more about really looking at. Why isn't something feeling good? Why is this decision making so hard? Why is it not happening what we're looking to accomplish, even in the simplest way?

Speaker 2:

If we're looking to have a life where we have a really healthy and strong body I'm thinking of somebody sitting opposite me right now then we would have to value health, vitality and strength and fitness and longevity those types of things that would allow us to align our behaviors with the goals that we're actually trying to accomplish. And so sometimes this comes up with an individual. Usually, I feel like the old school methods of coaching have some form of values assessment tool, whether it's a long table of values suggested on a piece of paper that we go through in circle, like the ones that speak to us most, or whether it's a digital kind of value assessment, or whether it's values cards that come out of a pack that we sort of rank by priority. But usually it starts with the individual looking at okay, well, what is it that? I, how I make decisions, what's truly important to me? You know, you could even, I think, look at someone and how they and where they spend their money to identify what's truly important to them right.

Speaker 2:

And so it does come up and I think, most recently, one of the more beautiful and, I think, helpful ways of looking at values I found came from the research and storyteller, bernadette Brown, who was doing this big segment in her book Dare to Lead, on Living Into your Values. Right, and I love there were a couple of questions there where she's saying you know, really, as you're looking at this list of values, you could literally go on Google and say you know, print me a list of values that I could have. And there's, you know, on her sheet there's about 50 of them or maybe more, and there's things such as, you know, achievement, altruism, ambition, faith, family freedom, fun, loyalty, leisure, kindness, you know, service, security, travel, trust. You know, I mean, you name it whatever.

Speaker 2:

Parenting, you know, is one of the ones that came out for me when I did this exercise, because it really determines who I be in my daily life. You know how I show up, what I prioritize, and the questions that she asked on her worksheet, which is available online, was something for us to all really dig a bit more deeply into our values. For example, does this define me? Is this who I am at my best? Is this a filter that I use to make hard decisions, and this is really how I landed on.

Speaker 2:

For example, if parenting is being one of my key values right now, because it really fundamentally frames every decision I make, will this thing that I'm about to do align with my values or not? For example, recently I had the opportunity to go to a retreat in Costa Rica, and I ended up not going with my leadership development group because it would violate my strong, strong held values for parenting, especially since I still have a little one that's nursing and they're not sleep trained, they're not sleeping independently from me, and so I felt that it was a huge disruption to my family if I was gone for a week to Costa Rica. And so it's not always the things we would like to be. Our values, philanthropy, being of service Now it's really what are we basing our decision making on, and so sometimes they may not be aligned with what we actually want to accomplish.

Speaker 1:

What's the? What do you think? It sounds to me a little bit like values are heavily linked to identity in what you just described.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, I would think so. Yeah, think about an athlete, right and how, what would they value and what makes them show up the way that they do. I think if we think of ourselves as an athlete, as a Christian, as an entrepreneur, we will hold values that are in line with that, that are influencing our behaviors, right, and so I think it's very, very clear that they are linked, because it's almost like we go from identity to value, to behavior, to result.

Speaker 1:

So uncovering someone's values for a leader would help identify their identity. And then what would how to support that person in the best way, or how to influence that person in the best way as well, or create the best environment for them to thrive in? Yes, absolutely. And it's interesting. I wonder if you could just as a leader, I wonder if you could just sit down with an individual and say what are your values?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, I wonder what that would bring up, you know, because I can imagine that there's that's a bit of a blind spot for most people, that they wouldn't have it clear oh, this is my value, this and this and this. But I think you know there are definitely ways for a leader to sit down with somebody to uncover them right and to be like, hey, I wonder, you know what kind of things are important to you at work? You know what kind of things are important to you in life at home? There, I think there are just less intrusive questions or ways to uncover them what are your values? Because people may not know, you know, might put people on the back foot a little bit.

Speaker 1:

It's interesting I heard a phrase a while back and I think it's probably true is we get frustrated with people or angry with people when they don't meet our values or expectations? And so there's an indication of what values you might have is if someone not following through or not doing something professionally or not turning up on time Absolutely. And that frustrates you. That might be an indicator as to what your values are Absolutely, and also what someone else's values are if they get frustrated with you.

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm, yeah, for sure, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

It's a really good idea and really I think the reason why I felt like this was important for our listeners to think about was because it can impact our work life so positively when we do know what the values are, how we can bring our own values into the team.

Speaker 2:

It's very empowering, great. I was just listening to a podcast recently where it was highlighted that really the organization's success took off massively when they changed from having company values to the leader identifying their own values and bringing those into the company, because it really was like the footprint of a soul kind of got laid out in the company and everybody could be inspired by that leadership. Then, and oftentimes, actually once this makes me chuckle a little bit, because it's now about six years ago I went and did a values-based team exercise workshop for a couple of days at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, and I think even then it was really about helping to draw out the values for the team so they would have something to live by, and it was such hard work for individuals to figure out what that would be for the team, because of course, it's different for every individual, right? So then how do you get them to align into something together.

Speaker 1:

Actually I find, because I do a lot of values workshops with teams and that's one of the most powerful things I think people can do, because, you're right, people do have lots of different views of what their values are, and the exercise I do is I just get a big wall with Post-it, post-it notes, right down all their values, slap it on the wall and then they work out how they can group all those together and come up with four or five values that they're going to focus on as a team and hold themselves accountable to them. So normally I get them to sign it on a football or a t-shirt and something that goes in the office, in the front of the office. The challenge is you can come up with values as a company. I think leaders coming up with values is important I'll tell you why in a second, because I've just had an experience with this recently and then sharing those values.

Speaker 1:

I think a team coming up with values if you think of a rugby team, the New Zealand rugby team has a fantastic set of values that they sit in the locker room after the match and they hold themselves accountable. Did we, were we competitive? Did we work as a team? Did we support each other, so they will hold themselves accountable. The British Army has a set of values that they review at the end of every operation. Did we follow our values?

Speaker 1:

So values are powerful if you live them, if you check in with them all the time. They're not powerful in a workplace environment or, to be honest, any environment If you just write them down, stick them on the bottom of your signature on your email and I stand up in front of you and say what are your company values? No one has any idea. So I think that having values and then living them, holding people to account to them, is really, really important.

Speaker 1:

And then when it comes to the leader, so here's an interesting question for you and for other people listening to this as a leader, you've determined what your set of values are and you've written down five or six values that you know are important to you in the way you live your life and the way you want to lead your team. How would you feel about sharing that with your team? How would you feel about sharing your values with your team, or your boss even, or your peer group? I wonder what that would feel like to do that. What do you think? Do you think a leader should share them?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely I would.

Speaker 2:

Yes, because I think it gives insight into what truly matters.

Speaker 2:

I think it makes the leader seem more human, more approachable, somewhat.

Speaker 2:

It's a vulnerable thing to share, right, one's own values, but I think imagine the depth of the relationship and how that could be increased by way of just simply knowing what your value and being respectful of one another's values, right? So in my case, a family and parenting is a huge value to me and you say to me Yana, it's okay, we can do the podcast recording at this, and this time I know it's going to be bedtime at this time for you and you're involved in putting the girls to sleep Then I would feel seen and heard and understood. Right, there's something of value there to be gained. And likewise, in the business context, I feel like if, if I know that you know high quality of delivery is so important to you it's like one of your key values is to be top notch in your delivery, and I will support your efforts in creating top notch documentation, you know, presentation slides or whatever I could do for you then you will also feel like this is a valuable relationship, right.

Speaker 1:

I totally agree.

Speaker 2:

And.

Speaker 1:

I had this actually happen yesterday morning where one of my coaching clients said look, he's just starting a new job in a new business and said he'd written down all these values on a piece of paper, on a PowerPoint for me. And I said are you going to share that with your team? So I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about that. Absolutely should, because what harms are going to do for them to know that you value learning, you value balance in your life, you value relationship. What's the worst that can happen?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what was the person worried about, do you think?

Speaker 1:

Being too vulnerable, being too open and they might kind of take that and blinding this guy's a bit open with his feelings and his emotions.

Speaker 2:

That's also a cultural thing, right, like some people might feel more comfortable, some people less comfortable, but this is, I think, leaning into your edge kind of situation for a leader right, where actually the piece of vulnerability might yield massively positive results to somebody surprised.

Speaker 1:

In my view as a leader, if you can be clear on your values and there's a couple of points I'll make on this, actually, which I did yesterday as well so, if you can be clear on your values, you can share with your team all it's going to do is accelerate your relationship with them. Agreed, it's the only thing it can do, because they're going to find out anyway, because you can't hide your values, because it's who you are. Yeah, right, the other thing is, when you're explaining what your values are, don't be too vague with them. Everybody writes down honesty. What does honesty mean to you when you're talking about that as a value? Because honesty might mean to someone well, no one's going to steal from me today. It might mean that you're honest with your opinion, but maybe it means not too honest. Now, don't tell me every thought you've got coming out of your brain. Maybe filter that a little bit. It's like integrity is always a value that comes up. Well, what does integrity mean?

Speaker 2:

And why does it matter? Right, like, what is it about it really that it matters? Yeah?

Speaker 1:

And that's the key right. So the word is important, but the explanation behind the word and what that means to the person saying it when they're explaining their values is just as important. It's not more important.

Speaker 2:

And I think the way to uncover a little bit more into that and looking at how we can translate that and how it actually does translate in our lives, is to look at what are the behaviors that are going with or supporting that value? Right, and so that you know, when you say integrity, well, what does that mean? You know, like, what are behaviors that are supposed to go with that value, or are you doing them? Or are there maybe slippery behaviors that are outside of that value? Right, and so you might find it easier to even look at it experientially and look at, okay, well, when I was living my best life, or when I was like really living my best work life, especially, what was it that I was being true to? Right, what kind of values was I being really really aligned with? And the other piece that I was thinking of earlier, when you were talking about the team's pieces and the company's values what if we knew the values of our clients and competitors? You know, what could that unlock for us too?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, love that.

Speaker 2:

Because when you think about that, you know from your corporate career. What would you say? What might become possible when we know the values of our clients or customers and or competitors.

Speaker 1:

Great, great, great question.

Speaker 1:

So from a customer point of view, wow, I mean, if you do their values, then you kind of know that what they're individually and as an organization, then it kind of helps you work out the language you need to use, the way you need to position things, how you can make sure you're aligned with them and to make sure you don't completely drop a grenade in the relationship because you do something that is out of line with their values.

Speaker 1:

So, and to be honest, I know what the value statements are of some of the companies I've worked with, but I'm not sure I've ever tried to align a you know my sales conversations or working with them in that way. Competitors are an interesting one, because my the reason I smiled as you said that for those who were listening I was smiling was because my view of competitors is that their values are very low, much lower than mine, because they're, you know, they're going to do things that it's not going to help the customer, they're going to undercut, they're going to lie, they're going to cheat, they're going to, and that's probably not true, but that's the view I have of their values. Well, I know it's not true because I know some of them really well now, and I know that their values are just as high as they're competing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, just helps to rationalize it that way, doesn't it Sometimes? But yeah, I mean, you know, that may still help us to, you know, create a competitive advantage, right to create some form of distinction. And you know how we're being uniquely different compared to competitor when we know their values. I feel like there's a lot of power to be harnessed from at least having the awareness and you know, you might work with a, with a customer, for a while and you may know their values that are on the website, but you can also tell from how they're operating what they're actually valuing, you know. So it's maybe a bit of attunement between what they say that are their values versus what you know are the lived values. You know say, for example, you know if a company will always pay on time, you know then you'd know that there is, there's something there about accuracy and loyalty, dependency. You know the reliability, something around that that is lived value, as opposed to the company that you know will never pay on time, like whenever the invoices do.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you always have chased them, and so when they have integrity on their website, you wonder what that means to them.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, Exactly, and it's a great way to open the conversation. Be like hey, you know, I noticed this and this, and then I noticed your values. I wonder if you may want some support.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there's some poking conversations and I think you know so. So kind of rounding this conversation with why is so, why is it relevant for leaders and why talk about it in coaching skills for leaders? Because, and the way I see it is that uncovering your own values and uncovering your team's values, or individuals in your team, or your peers values, is just another insight, another tool that you've got available to you to help you, help them, agreed.

Speaker 2:

That's it.

Speaker 1:

That's it, yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's it. That's all that needs to be said. So I hope you walk away inspired listeners and have had some new little light bulb moments that make you think a little differently about how you can use this kind of coaching skill for your environment that you work in, either for yourself or your own business, or for your teams and customers. We would love to hear from you how this has impacted you and what you've decided to do with it, and otherwise, we are looking forward to speaking with you next time, hearing hearing from you and having you listen in again to coaching skills for leaders podcast with Neil and Yana. Have a great day.

Speaker 1:

Cheers. Thank you for listening to coaching skills for leaders podcast with Yana and Neil. If you found the conversation useful, please share with your colleagues and friends. Please also leave us a rating and a review and if you would like to connect with us directly to discuss your own or your business needs, you will find our contact details in the show notes below.

Uncovering Values
Values in Relationships and Leadership