The philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antoninus says: “Our life is what our thoughts make it”. To change the mindset of your clients, you must understand the experiences that have had an impact on their personalities, and here lies the importance of exploring their values and beliefs.

Amateur coaches make a change in the client’s life, while professional coaches change their personality. So, when you assist your clients to understand their core values and change what they believe in, then you would make them see what they were incapable of seeing, and you will ensure that they won’t return to their previous nature after receiving your coaching. This is the distinct feature of true transformation. But before you can reform your client’s values and beliefs, you must understand how they were formed in the first place.

Values and beliefs, how are they formed?

Understanding the human brain is essential for grasping the client’s mentality, behavior, and decisions.

The human brain is constantly changing due to the experiences we go through, and our mental state in a situation is a direct reflection of those experiences. With each new experience, physical changes occur in the brain, leading to the formation of new neural connections or new neurons.

In the same way, since no two people have ever been through the same conditions in terms of their upbringing, nutrition, education, culture and environment, no two people have the same beliefs, habits, values, and personalities. Knowing this as a coach helps you understand why no two clients are alike and also make you realize the importance of understanding their life experiences.

This is not limited only to the experience your client went through, but it also relates to how they interpret what’s happening. We interpret our experiences and make choices that make us feel better, and we perceive the world in a way that makes us overcome a certain situation. If our brain realized that a certain perception of the world would help us overcome a certain situation, it would keep selecting this perception among others. And each time our brain chooses this perception, the neural pathway and neural connections get stronger, which increases their strength.  Thus,  we are constantly analyzing what has worked in the past to predict what might work in the present or the future. It is this pattern of actions and outcomes that shapes our beliefs and guides our decisions.

What is a Belief?

A belief is something your clients believe that is true without any sufficient evidence. They think it is what they ought to be, where their beliefs determine how they act, feel, and make meaning of the world around them.

The human mind is a tool that formulates meanings and constantly forms new beliefs. This means that you shape your beliefs and then they shape you. We consciously or unconsciously acquire most of our childhood beliefs from our parents, friends, families, and culture. And since most of them were shaped during our developmental years, we hardly understand them, and we spend most of our lives searching for validating experiences; therefore, your role as a coach is to delve deep into your clients’ nature to help them understand that their behaviors are governed by a deep-rooted belief about something.

Beliefs may benefit your clients or they may harm them:

Although beliefs are designed to keep us safe, not all of them lead to success. There are two types of beliefs:

1. Restrictive beliefs: 

These beliefs prevent your clients from fully expressing themselves, for example, when your client was a child, they used to see their parents struggle to make a living, and both of them worked for hours every day without achieving any tangible results. Therefore, when they grow up, they will believe that no matter how hard they work, they will face a difficulty in making money, and there is another restrictive belief that holds people back which is: “I am not good enough”.

2. Enabling beliefs: 

These beliefs help your clients make the best out of their potential in life.

For example, your client’s father is despotic, where they get angry every time your client tries to give an opinion, so your client would form a belief that “opinions are important”, and since they are entrepreneurs, they would always allow their employees to express their opinions freely.

Helping your clients to renew their set of restrictive beliefs and replace them with more valid ones is one of the best things that you can do as a coach.

You must know that beliefs are not set in stone, but they are your client's real point of view based on an experience they have been through.

A 3-step process to enable a new belief:

1. Determine the reason of the belief:

Most likely, awareness is the first step toward change. When you help your clients determine a certain pattern of thinking which has been restricting them, then you are giving them awareness, and when you create a challenge towards their beliefs, then you are showing them new potential. Furthermore, when you discover the origins of this way of thinking- whether it originated from their parents, environment, or childhood experiences- you are raising their awareness.

2. Reframing belief to make the unfamiliar familiar:

After making your clients more aware of their beliefs, your next goal is to transform their restrictive beliefs into enabling ones. Now, our brain loves safe, familiar things; This is why your clients are constantly postponing giving up their current beliefs. Here comes your role to help them get out of their comfort zone by familiarizing the challenges they face through powerful self-affirmations, changing their environment, or repetitive procedures. 

3. Solidifying the new belief:

To make sure that your clients won’t go back to their old ways, you need to solidify the newly received information, here you must assist them perceive their new reality and create a system that enables them to act in line with their new beliefs. By simply following this three-step process, you can change the way your clients view their lives.

What are values?

While beliefs are what your clients think they are supposed to be, values are in fact what they wish to be. Clients cherish these values and think that they are essential to them; That is why these values direct their judgments and decision-making process.

Just like beliefs, values are formed at an early stage based on personal experiences, observing the people and the situations around, and other environmental factors. So, making decisions based on values brings balance, joy, and peace to your clients, and helps them live a life that is perfectly aligned with who they are.

Learn about your clients’ values:

As a coach, when you help your clients define their values, you give them a roadmap that guides them toward a meaningful life.

Values are generally categorized into three subtypes:

  1. Personal values: They define who your client is, what they want, and why they think this way.
  2. Social values: They govern their social relationships and personal bonds with others.
  3. Universal values: They affect their spiritual ideas, cultural norms, and general acceptance of life experiences.

Personal Values Assessment (PVA) is a straightforward measure of determining your client's core values and personal belief system.

6 Questions were asked to the client to determine their values:

  1. What are the most important qualities that contributed to your success?
  2. How do you want people to remember you after you leave the room?
  3. What do you love most about your job?
  4. What is the most rewarding feeling you give to others?
  5. What are the qualities you are most proud of?
  6. What do other people say you are good at?

Most people you coach have difficulty making important life decisions, but by discovering their values, you will help them live a life based not on what they should be, but on what they want.

How to coach using beliefs and values?

Always offer coaching that detects values and reforms beliefs. Each coaching session is an opportunity for you to remind your client of what is important to them (their  values) and what stands in their way (their restrictive beliefs), so in the nest coaching session, when one of your clients poses a problem, instead of immediately jumping to offering solutions, dig deep inside of them and ask: “How important is solving this problem to you now? Why do you care about solving it so much?” This will help you get a hold of their core values. Then ask  them: “what gets in your way? What is stopping you from fulfilling your desires?” This will help you extract their buried beliefs, and here lies the power of coaching; Coaching for exploring values and beliefs is one of the most powerful ways to achieve lasting transformation, not just temporary change.