What is important to me? What do I value?

Coaching Questions (Theme #1)

Richard McLean
2 min readNov 11, 2022

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I’m training to become an accredited coach.

As I do more coaching, I find people wanting to explore big questions (eg relating to their career).

To help people in their explorations, I have found it helpful to break down these big questions and to come at them from different angles.

People have told me that they’ve found this approach helpful. And so I’m sharing the questions I’ve used, because if you make things open, you make things better.

I’m intending for this short post to be the first in a series, where I group questions by the big themes I’ve had people want to explore in coaching.

A picture of the question: ‘What’s important to you?’
Source: https://davidamerland.com/seo-blog/1250-the-things-we-value-and-what-they-mean.html

Here are questions I’ve used when someone is wanting to explore what is important to them, what they value:

  1. What are you deeply passionate about?
  2. Deep down what matters for you?
  3. What did you love doing or love thinking about when you were a child?
  4. What activities do you do in your spare time that make you happy or give you a great sense of wellbeing?
  5. What sort of organisation do you want to work for?
  6. What do you want to do for the next 20 years?
  7. What relationships do you want to build?
  8. What topics do you get most animated about when you talk about them? (eg you get either really excited or angry when you talk about them)
  9. What do you want your life to be about?
  10. During which activities do you feel most alive?
  11. Who do you most admire or look up to? Write down six people you admire, who are role models or valued connections for you. Note what you admire or value about these people.

(HT Susan David for questions 2, 7, 9, and 10)

Perhaps you have other questions you like to use on this theme?
If so, I’d love to hear what they are.

Note the intent with these questions is not to stack them together in a string of questions, one immediately after the other. (Asking a flurry of questions doesn’t give the other person the space to process and respond.) I have either shared them in advance of a coaching session, so the coachee can explore them in their own time and at their own pace, or used them as a palette to select from in a coaching session, not needing to use them all and asking only one at a time, in order to give the other person time to think and react.

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Richard McLean

Chief of staff @ElsevierConnect (Academic & Government group). Mainly writing about getting from A to B, teams, & digital product stuff. Personal account.

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