What Happens When We Don’t Share The Values of Our Clients

We cannot see eye to eye with everyone. Sometimes, we disagree with the opinions or thoughts of our clients. But what happens when we fundamentally disagree with their values and beliefs? How do we continue to see them in the best light even when we don’t align?

Episode Transcript

 
[00:00:00] Kim Ades: Hello, hello, My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast with my co-host, Ferne Kotlyar, who happens to be my awesome, amazing and incredible daughter. Ferne, welcome!

[00:00:23] Ferne Kotlyar: Wow, your intros just keep getting kinder and kinder. Thank you! [Laughs] 

[00:00:28] Kim Ades: How are you today? 

[00:00:29] Ferne Kotlyar: I'm okay. How are you? 

[00:00:32] Kim Ades: I'm good, I'm good. It is actually Friday today and so, I'm looking forward to the weekend and having some time to just get ready for next week, and chill out a bit, use the gym, use the sauna, you know, just have a bit of a weekend. How about you? 

[00:00:53] Ferne Kotlyar: Sounds lovely. Well, I've got lots of work to do and I have to catch up, so it's a working weekend for me, unfortunately. 

[00:01:01] Kim Ades: Well, I think we need to share with the audience your amazing success. 

[00:01:04] Ferne Kotlyar: [Lightly chuckles] 

[00:01:05] Kim Ades: The recent amazing success you had. You just won an award. You wanna share with people exactly what that award was and what it's for and what it means?

[00:01:14] Ferne Kotlyar: So it was the Alvin Singh TAing Award of Excellence, which is for teaching assistants. So I TAed online last year. So TAing means, basically, to run labs and tutorials. So like you get a small group of students and you do breakout sessions with them. So you run the labs and you do like discussion sessions, basically.

And last year they were all online, and because it was converted online, I taught biology and it was super boring, so I basically converted the classes into something more exciting. I asked them questions, ran competitions, made activities for every single class. And yeah, I won this award for being a TA that follows in the footsteps of Alvin Singh, who was an incredible teaching assistant and mentor for students. 

[00:02:11] Kim Ades: Amazing. Well, I think it's super awesome. I think it shows your passion, your dedication, your ingenuity, your creativity when it comes to teaching people. I'm super proud. 

[00:02:25] Ferne Kotlyar: Thanks! 

[00:02:27] Kim Ades: Congratulations on and off the podcast. 

[00:02:30] Ferne Kotlyar: Thank you. [Chuckles] 

[00:02:32] Kim Ades: So what do you wanna talk about today?

[00:02:34] Ferne Kotlyar: So today, I had a question. So when you coach, you coach a whole bunch of different people. All the time you get different personalities, different takes. And while they're all highly driven, they may have different perspectives than you. 

Different political perspectives, different opinions on certain matters, and while it shouldn't get in the way of your coaching, sometimes you fundamentally disagree with the opinion of your client, how do you deal with that? How do you continue to see them in the best light? 

[00:03:08] Kim Ades: Yeah. So I mean, it's actually come up quite recently that kind of situation where my beliefs and my client's beliefs aren't exactly aligned, right? We don't share the same beliefs. It comes from our upbringing, our background, our thoughts about religion, the role of religion in our lives, and all of that kind of stuff. We're not aligned on a personal level. 

But my job isn't to believe what my client believes, my job isn't to use my beliefs as the standard. My beliefs are my beliefs. That's it. My job is to ensure that a person's beliefs are healthy for them. My job is to make sure that a person lives in alignment with their beliefs, that their beliefs allow them to live a life of ease, peace, exhilaration, and joy. That's my job. 

[00:04:11] Ferne Kotlyar: Just in terms of living in alignment with their beliefs, don't you often say that beliefs get in people's way? 

[00:04:21] Kim Ades: Yes. 

[00:04:23] Ferne Kotlyar: Do you wanna clarify what beliefs you're talking about? Is that their values? Is that like their beliefs on everything?

[00:04:29] Kim Ades: Yeah. You're doing a good job in making a distinction between beliefs and values because there is a distinction. But if I have a certain set of values, my beliefs need to be consistent with those values. right? And so, if I have a certain set of values, and those values are like immovable, unshakeable, those are my values. But now, I behave in ways that aren't aligned with those values, that's a problem. Right? So now I have to ask, "are those really your values or did they come from somewhere else?" 

[00:05:12] Ferne Kotlyar: Or not... "Do your beliefs align and maybe you should shift your beliefs?" 

[00:05:17] Kim Ades: Well, but sometimes our beliefs lead us to our values, right? So sometimes our beliefs run us down, sometimes our beliefs cause problems for us, but sometimes our beliefs are healthy for us.

So, for example, a healthy belief might be "I deserve to have a great relationship with my husband". It's a good belief, right? That makes me work on my relationship, that makes me put effort, that makes me express kindness and love and compassion, and that also makes me express to my husband that this is what I'm looking for in a relationship.

And so it allows us to come to terms, it allows us to communicate and it allows me to be in a relationship where I'm treated well as opposed to treated poorly. So those beliefs allow me to set a standard for myself and live in those standards, and that's great. Some beliefs are useful, right? 

So for example, another belief might be "I believe I have the capacity to build a great business". That's a good belief, right? That's a useful belief. But if my belief is "Oh, I have no experience. I'm not smart enough. I don't know enough people, I'm not well networked. I'm uncomfortable, I don't have confidence". Whatever all those things are, those things will get in the way. Right? 

[00:06:47] Ferne Kotlyar: So it's a bit like chicken and egg in the sense that your beliefs may lead to your values, but your values may lead to your beliefs. 

[00:06:54] Kim Ades: Yeah, they're interrelated. They're integrated, right? They're very much aligned. 

[00:07:01] Ferne Kotlyar: At least we would want them to be. 

[00:07:03] Kim Ades: Right. They're not aligned, they're connected. That's the better word. They come together. They don't exist separately from one another. So, a lot of times people have values but don't behave according to their values. So for example, a person might believe that it's very important to be honest.

Honesty is a very high value of theirs. But they may cheat on their income taxes, or they might not always be honest in their marriage, or they might not be honest with their employees. So now we see a bit of a clash. 

So, my job is to make sure that if a person has a set of values, like honesty, for example, if that's your value, but you're behaving in ways that clash with that value, then my job is to understand the beliefs that cause this person to not be able to live according to their values. Sometimes people have values that aren't easy for a person to live up to.

[00:08:27] Ferne Kotlyar: Like what? 

[00:08:29] Kim Ades: Like, for example, my value is "I have to be the best at everything". Like, we had a conversation-- 

[00:08:37] Ferne Kotlyar: Is that a value? Or... 

[00:08:39] Kim Ades: What is it? 

[00:08:41] Ferne Kotlyar: Belief? 

[00:08:42] Kim Ades: I don't think it's a belief. It's a value too. "I value being the best". That's a value of mine, right? So it was like conversation we had about tennis, and I said "Hey, is it okay to suck at some things?" And you weren't happy with that because it fundamentally clashes with your values. 

Do you see what I'm saying? But that value, that belief, again, we're getting a little caught up in language, but that thinking about needing to be the best at everything doesn't always serve you. Does that make sense?

[00:09:18] Ferne Kotlyar: I think so. So how would you go-- 

[00:09:20] Kim Ades: So my job isn't to judge whether or not that's a good value. My job is to judge whether or not the value or the belief is useful for you, you in particular, right? Is it something you can live up to or is it something that makes you miserable? Is it something that creates happiness for you or is it something where you use it to beat yourself?

[00:09:49] Ferne Kotlyar: So-- 

[00:09:50] Kim Ades: Are you forcing yourself to live in a world that is not reflective of your character? And again, tennis isn't a great example there, but could be something else, right? 

[00:10:06] Ferne Kotlyar: So let's work with an example. What if it's something you fundamentally disagree with? Like a value of... I don't know, doing everything for God or something like that.

[00:10:20] Kim Ades: Yeah 

[00:10:22] Ferne Kotlyar: How would you work with that if you don't-- 

[00:10:25] Kim Ades: So I'll give you another example. Some people believe that God, whoever they think that God is, is there to judge their actions, and there's a punishment aspect of God, right? God punishes you. I don't believe that. I believe that God is loving. If there's a God, that God is loving. God wants you to live a happy life, God wants you to live a life where you're true to yourself. 

So let's take another example. Let's say you're gay, but your religion says that being gay is a terrible, horrible, awful thing. So now you stuff it away and you're like "Well, I can't do that. I can't be gay, I can't live-- I can't be true to myself because of my religion". Well, so for me, as a coach, that creates a problem for me because I see a person suffering because they're not able to be who they really are, they're denying themselves. 

[00:11:28] Ferne Kotlyar: So how would you go about talking about that if you don't even agree with their values?

[00:11:35] Kim Ades: Yeah, I mean, for me, I always try to push for a person being true to who they are, because if you're not true to who you are, that's not sustainable. And so you find yourself living a life at odds with yourself all the time. 

[00:11:51] Ferne Kotlyar: Okay, and how do you know who you are? 

[00:11:55] Kim Ades: If you know you're gay, you're gay, right? Like, we see people-- 

[00:11:59] Ferne Kotlyar: Well, I mean, people question it. People may not know. Or even with respect to something bigger, like you could be a teacher and you could be a million other things, but does that define you? 

[00:12:16] Kim Ades: No, no, no. I'm not talking about what you do, I'm talking about who you are. 

[00:12:20] Ferne Kotlyar: But that's what I'm asking. How do you know who you are? 

[00:12:23] Kim Ades: Well, you know who you are by looking at your tendencies. You know who you are-- like we spoke to Denim and we know who you are by looking at the tendencies that are repetitive, that you're always leaning towards, your nature.

[00:12:43] Ferne Kotlyar: For example? 

[00:12:44] Kim Ades: For example... Boy, you're giving me a hard one here. 

[00:12:50] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles] 

[00:12:51] Kim Ades: [Chuckles] For example, again, going back to being gay. If my nature is to be attracted to women, I'm attracted to women. Period. That's just the way it is. That's my nature. There's nothing I can do about it, that's just the way it is.

I mean, I could pretend I don't, I could deny it. But what happens is when we deny our nature, it bubbles up and it comes to hit us and then, the thing we're denying, the thing we stuff down, the thing we push away, comes back harder, stronger, and in full force, and causes us to feel worse, right? Causes a greater level of cognitive dissonance than if we were to accept who we were, right? 

So when we live with cognitive dissonance, we experience a great deal of pain. When we deny who we really are, that only goes for so long till we can't take it anymore. It causes a lot of internal struggle, internal conflict.

So my job is to try to reduce internal conflict. And we could reduce internal conflict about anything. We could reduce internal conflict with regards to a relationship. We can reduce internal conflict about the work we do and the people we do it with. We could reduce internal conflict about what we think we should do.

But when it comes to who we are inside, it's harder to reduce internal conflict when a person is choosing to deny, right? So we either help them accept who they are, embrace who they are, love who they are, or then we say "Okay, so if these are your values..." right? Again, going with the gay example is a good one, if you are gay, but your faith says that that's wrong, you have a choice to make. And if you're going with your faith, how can you live with it peacefully. 

[00:15:03] Ferne Kotlyar: But is it so black and white? You have to choose between like faith and who you are? Or is there some sort of middle ground? 

[00:15:10] Kim Ades: For some people they have to choose. I mean, if you're gay and your faith says you're not allowed to be gay-- 

[00:15:16] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, but why can't you have--

[00:15:18] Kim Ades: Black and white. 

[00:15:19] Ferne Kotlyar: Well, you can have like reformed diversion of that faith where they believe-- 

[00:15:23] Kim Ades: But then that's not your faith. 

[00:15:26] Ferne Kotlyar: Why not? Like, let's say you're Christian, for example, and super religious version of it, but you can go to a reformed church who accepts and believes everybody is welcome. 

[00:15:41] Kim Ades: Yeah, so they would have to revisit their own faith. They would have to-- 

[00:15:47] Ferne Kotlyar: But revisiting isn't denouncing it. 

[00:15:50] Kim Ades: For them it might be. For them it might be. And so, that's an option. But that requires them to look at their faith and say "as it is, it doesn't work for me. As it is". And for some people they refuse to do that. Refuse, Absolutely refuse. 

[00:16:18] Ferne Kotlyar: So in the case of being gay, how would you-- 

[00:16:21] Kim Ades: So as a coach, I have to accept... 

[00:16:26] Ferne Kotlyar: Their refusal. 

[00:16:27] Kim Ades: ...their refusal. 

[00:16:29] Ferne Kotlyar: And how do you do that? 

[00:16:31] Kim Ades: I say "Okay, my job isn't to share your beliefs or your values. My job is to make sure you're living a healthy life. My job is to make sure you are thriving with whatever decisions you make. So if this is the decision you're making, let's figure out how to help you thrive with this decision. Let's figure out how to turn it into the best experience you can, even if I think it's less than ideal". 

[00:17:00] Ferne Kotlyar: Interesting. 

[00:17:01] Kim Ades: Right? So it's their values, it's their life, they get to choose. I don't choose for them. My beliefs and values cannot override those of my clients, even if I don't share those beliefs. 

[00:17:16] Ferne Kotlyar: Interesting. 

[00:17:17] Kim Ades: It's challenging sometimes. 

[00:17:19] Ferne Kotlyar: I imagine so. 

[00:17:20] Kim Ades: But for me, what I need to do is I need to kind of put a stake in the ground and say "Okay, I am for this client. I am on this client's side, even if I don't always agree with their choices. I am a hundred thousand percent for this client and I must respect their choices". 

[00:17:44] Ferne Kotlyar: That's tough, but I think the right way to go. 

[00:17:47] Kim Ades: It's very tough. It's very, very tough. But on the one hand it's tough because I can see the suffering in front of me.

[00:17:57] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah. 

[00:17:57] Kim Ades: I could see the torment, I could see the cognitive dissonance. I could see the internal friction. And I just wanna put that at ease. I want a person to live at peace with themselves. But those are not my choices to make. 

[00:18:14] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you for sharing. 

[00:18:18] Kim Ades: Interesting subject, right?

[00:18:20] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely. 

[00:18:22] Kim Ades: Thank you for asking the questions. It was an interesting conversation. If any of you out there are struggling with something, if there's something going on that's causing you internal friction or cognitive dissonance or if you have some values and your behaviors aren't necessarily lining up with those values, please reach out to us. Please consider coaching. 

Coaching is a life changing experience. Reach out to us. Come to frameofmindcoaching.com, set up some time to talk. I'd be happy to talk to you and hear about your story and discuss things. And even if I don't agree, I will be on your team, on your side and for you 100%. Ferne, thank you for joining us. 

[00:19:12] Ferne Kotlyar: Thank you for having me. 

[00:19:14] Kim Ades: How do they reach you if they want to... 

[00:19:15] Ferne Kotlyar: Please email me. 

[00:19:17] Kim Ades: ...send you... 

[00:19:19] Ferne Kotlyar: Topics. Yeah, please email me. So that's Fernekotlyar@live.com. 

[00:19:27] Kim Ades: And you can reach me. It's Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. We will see you next week. Have a good one!

[00:19:34] Ferne Kotlyar: Bye! 

[00:19:34] Kim Ades: Bye!

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