Kevin Cottam is a leadership coach, inspirational speaker, and author. He is also a former elite figure skater, choreographer, and director of the 1988 Calgary Olympic Closing Ceremonies. Today he leverages his real-life research to grow and encourage leaders to lead masterfully with a deeper awareness of themselves and their organization.   

by Emma Aasa

Hi Kevin, what is your story with Point of Value? 

Kevin: I became a certified facilitator for Point of Value in 2005, which has become a driving force and change-maker in my leadership coaching. Once people realize their values and go through them, suddenly, the light starts to go off on the way they see the rest of their lives, actions, and relationships. 

I’m very invested in value work. I often hear phrases like “Well, it doesn’t work with my values,” and then I ask, “Well, what are they?” And they’ll say the same as everyone else: trust, honesty, loyalty. But these people often don’t know the expansiveness of their values. And that’s where you need to go deep-diving to find them. And when you do this, an instrument such as Point of Value is useful. And the provocation is, why not go deep-diving? What would that do for you as an individual, and what would it do for others? What would it do for your conversations? What if it would help you discover the fullness of who you are and what the situation is asking for?

You have done a lot of travelling and living in different parts of the world. Has it impacted your work as a leadership coach?

Kevin: It has dramatically expanded my viewpoint. My understanding of individuals, cultures, of human capacity. My aspects of values have also widened. I spent time with Maasai in Kenya, Berbers and other tribes in Sahara in Southern Morocco and with Bushmen and the Himba in Namibia. Their whole being is interconnected, not only with nature and animals but also with the stars, environment, and community. All of this, to them, is interconnected, and so are their values. Even though the nomads live more simplistic lifes, the urban society has become too complex. Therefore, we can’t even see the forest for the trees. But they see the woods, and they see all these things in their simplicity. 

Can you share something you like about Point of Value?

Kevin: One thing I love about Point of Value is something I call de-transforming the soup. Imagine that your values are swimming in a cream soup inside of you. And in that soup, you have no idea what’s in it. Maybe you taste something, but you can’t distinguish what it is. So, we’re doing a reverse transformation; we’re taking the broccoli, the cumin, the carrots, the potatoes, or perhaps the alphabet macaroni – we’re taking all the ingredients out and pinpointing them. Now you can see them and experience them. And that’s what we’re doing with values. We are transfixing them and shining a light on them.

“Once people realize their values and go through them, suddenly, the light starts to go off on the way they see the rest of their lives, actions, and relationships.”

“I often hear phrases like “Well, it doesn’t work with my values,” and then I ask, “Well, what are they?” And they’ll say the same as everyone else: trust, honesty, loyalty. But these people often don’t know the expansiveness of their values.”