The Quickest Way To Amazing Breakthroughs With Your Clients

Even since I concluded my Life Coach training back in early 2005, I have known of the critical importance of core values.

However, it wasn’t until a year or so later that I realized they were much more important and a far greater tool to use as a coach than I had fully realized.

I was working with an attorney who had come to me wanting help in creating a better work life/balance. He was already very successful, earned great money, and was on the path to becoming a partner within three to five years.

The flip side was that he was working about 100 hours per week because that was what was expected for anybody aspiring to become a partner.

The reality is that there are only 168 hours in a week and, unless you are extremely lucky, you are going to need about 50 of those for sleep.

That meant my client had about 18 hours per week to spend on everything not work-related.

Less than 3 hours per day for personal hygiene, relaxing, eating, exercise, spending family time—not to mention dealing with any of the unexpected things that life has a tendency to throw at us from time to time—is taking things to a ridiculous and untenable extreme.

I can remember thinking as we did the intake session, “How on earth are we going to square this circle? This is one of the few people on earth who could genuinely claim there aren’t enough hours in the day!”

During the following session we got into core values, and the result of the process was that his number one value was “Family,” and his number two core value was “Health.”

I stood up and started to write the values down on my whiteboard, and all of a sudden he started laughing.

I turned around and (as is the case with me when I hear somebody laughing) started to do so myself. Only I had no idea what we were laughing at, unless it was my handwriting.

I managed to ask him what he was laughing at, and he told me, “I don’t really want to be a partner, do I?”

I responded, “I don’t know, what makes you say that?” He pointed to the whiteboard and said, “My wife and kids are the most important thing in the world to me, and my health is a close second, so why would I risk both of those chasing a job that will just entail more work, more stress and spending less time with my family?”

He went on to tell me that he could easily scale his work back to 60 to 70 hours per week if he was happy to stay as an associate.

And if this was frowned upon or not allowed, his resume would get him a job at any small law firm where he could work on his own terms. He was even talking about starting his own practice.

He stood up with a big grin on his face, thrust out his hand, and said, “I think we’re done here.” He was right, we were—and he even refused to let me refund the money for the unused sessions he’d booked.

I have had similar breakthroughs with clients many times over the last decade or more and the power the exercise can yield never fails to amaze me.

At the very least it helps you coach the client more effectively and at the best it can provide stunning breakthroughs that lead to very happy clients and more referrals.

This Saturday 16th at 11am EST myself and Karl are running a FREE webinar on Core Values to show you how they can help you become successful in your Life Coaching practice.

We will also conduct a Q & A session at the end so if there are any areas you’re not sure of you will have the ability to delve a little deeper.

Space are limited and you can sign up here.


  1. Hi Tim,
    Working with you (part of the first ever Coach the Life Coach group) a few years back made me realize and embrace the importance of values. I have used it with almost all of my coaching clients. I am currently working on my psychotherapy license and still use the Core Values (slightly modified) process with my psychotherapy clients. Great Value!

  2. Looking forward to this Tim! You’ve done the Values work on me, and I have since used it with everyone I have worked with. Really want to learn to go even deeper with it…

    you know SOMEONE always has to ask- will this be recorded 🙂 ?

    • Tim Brownson

      Probably not Gregg, the reason being last time we said we were recording hardly anybody showed up for the actual call!

  3. A great example of the importance of core values Tim! I have had many similar experiences. It’s amazing how many of us are oblivious to the fact that a clash of core values and lifestyle is what’s causing stress.

    • Tim Brownson

      Yep, it took me 10 years to realize that my value of ‘integrity’ was at total odds with working in big ticket sales.

  4. Juanma Nogueiro

    Hi Tim, great post!
    If we only think a little bit more about what we really want from life, we could save lots of time, suffering and money! The point is noticing if what we think we want it is what we really want.
    Our values define us, they make us what we are. We can try to run from ourselves; but, at the end, there is no way out. As a salsa song says, “If you were born to be a hammer, nails will fall on you.