Postgraduate Dissertation

Unearthing Valu-abl-es: How coaching can enable a coachee to identify their personal values


The pace of change from the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) (Bennett and Lemoine, 2014) of an increasingly connected world creates disquiet, exacerbated for some by virus led losses and lockdowns. Perhaps as a result, there is increased desire to find meaning in life in internet searches, therapy, and coaching. Third generation coaching, created at the same time as VUCA, enables this through a focus on meaning and values. Through the 20th century, social psychologists (Allport, 1928; Rokeach, 1973) found values to be drivers of behaviour, creators of motivation, and a learning support. Most of those writing in the two most recent compendiums on coaching (Bachkirova, Spence and Drake, 2017b; Cox, Bachkirova and Clutterbuck, 2018) recommend their use – yet there is little guidance as to how values can be found, and few people seem to know their own. This study used a constructivist philosophy combined with grounded theory methodology to explain how coaching can enable personal values identification. Through the experiences of nine coachees and five coaches a theory is proposed which identifies the deep work required to unearth values from the subconscious. Carried out by a guide with first-hand experience of their own values identification, in a safe focussed space, the work sits somewhere along the coaching to therapy continuum. The research highlights development needs for coaches and proposes further research on the use of flow in coaching, and how trust is created in the dyad.

Links to resources

The full text of these resource are only available to Oxford Brookes staff and students. Please login to RADAR if you are a student or member of staff


Wells, Gavin


Rights Holders: Wells, Gavin
Supervisors: Iordanou, Ioanna

Oxford Brookes departments

Oxford Brookes Business School

Degree programme

MA Coaching and Mentoring Practice



© Wells, Gavin
Published by Oxford Brookes University
All rights reserved