The key elements of coaching are listening, incisive questions, reflections and hard work.
Sometimes exercises can be a good way of forcing the thinking process. We can spend days, years, lives saying the right thing, but do we really believe them/mean it? By working with your coach as a sparring partners, you allow yourself time to reflect on and decide which values really mean something to you and are core to everything you do in your life.
One of these exercises is known as the GAPS grid. It looks at the gap between your perception of your abilities and your core values and compares it to how others see your abilities and what matters to other people.
There is usually a gap and this can be worked on simply in terms of learning new skills, reporting in a different way or, more dramatically, by changing jobs if your core values are not compatible with those of the organisation.