The Critical Ingredient of Values in Executive Coaching

Contributed article in our professional development series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

If you could only take ten of your most important Values with you to a desert island, what would they be? That powerful question was prompted during an exercise in a class I was attending at the Coaches Training Institute, one of the lead coach training programs in the world. The entire exercise proved to be my “road to Damascus” moment with regards to my career coaching practice I was building. I realized that a happy, fulfilled and successful career is almost always going to be built around the cornerstone of honoring your most important values.

“Values” is an inherently loaded term, one that can often infer societally-defined morality. It’s not. Values are qualities that define a fulfilled life. When we honor our values in our life, we are fulfilling our internal sense of purpose. When I went through the exercise, I was asked to name all of the values that are important to me in my life. One way to coach on this topic is to ask a client to remember the best day of their life, and start naming all of the words that come to mind when describing that day. For me, it was my wedding. Values like “family,” “friendship,” “creativity” and even “Portola Valley” came out from that session. I then had to rank my top ten values based on the question of “which ones would you bring to a desert island,” which forced me to think about what I really can’t live without in my life. And then, the part that was simultaneously gratifying and personally painful: ranking each of the top ten values in terms of how well I am honoring these values in my life, right now.

This coaching exercise changed the trajectory of my career. My coach and I looked at the list, and I was pushed to consider how I could start immediately honoring values that were important to me but ranked low in terms of how much I was living by them. Then comes the homework: agreeing to actually take these actions and promising to let my coach know when I have done so. It’s the “being” (deepening my understanding of what values are important to me) and the “doing” (taking action to live those values in my life) combined together that make the Co-Active coaching method so powerful. From this exercise, I took immediate steps to move my career in a direction that is in alignment with my values, and the result has been me feeling better about my job than I ever have before.

Andrew Call Executive Coaching focuses on working with motivated, driven people in the Bay Area who are seeking to thrive in their professional lives. I help clients from all walks of life figure out what they want to do next in their careers and how to get there.  I’ve used this particular values-coaching exercise with clients and have seen them grow and develop into confident leaders. Knowing and honoring your values are the key to a fulfilling career – and life.

To learn more, visit my website:

About Me: I’m a Bay Area native, having grown up in Portola Valley. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2007 with a BA in Film and Digital Media. After college, I worked at Facebook in Community Operations for five years. After Facebook, I joined Uber, where I also worked in Community Operations & led a team of ten community support representatives. I currently work at Houzz in downtown Palo Alto. I graduated from the Coaches Training Institute in 2017, and have a passion for helping people thrive in their careers. I specialize in working with tech professionals, leaders in non-profit organizations, and physicians. To learn more, visit my website or just send me an email at

I’m also very passionate about volunteering and philanthropy. I’m on the Board of Directors at BayKids Studios, a non-profit that seeks to empower children facing medical challenges to express themselves through the art of filmmaking. When I’m not at Houzz or working with my coaching clients, you can find me watching old movies at the Stanford Theater, working on my fiction novel, playing tennis, running, or swimming.

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