Coaches use many tools in their sessions. Some of these require just using the client’s imagination, while others might require some additional visual aids – mainly pen and paper.
One of the most famous tools is the wheel of life coaching tool. This is one of the most simple and effective tools in the coach’s tool box, and because of that, it is one I love very much. The wheel of life shows the balance in the client’s life and checks how satisfied he is with the current state of affairs as reflected from the wheel.
The wheel of life usually paints a picture of one’s life from high altitude and shows what
areas in our life are given most of our time and energy. In some cases, these areas are not the areas where we really want to spend our efforts and time on.
Another big advantage of the wheel of life is that it’s so simple that you can use it for yourself, and see if there are places which you have neglected, or want to improve to have a richer, fuller life. After you fill in the points on the wheel and connect them, the picture that is reflected can give you a very good starting point on the areas you want to shift your energy on, to have these improved.
What is it all about?
The classic wheel of life is divided into eight sections that together describe a way to look at your entire life. The classic eight sections are:
- Family and friends
- significant other/romance
- fun and recreation
- Personal growth
- Physical environment
These sections can be changed and adjusted according to what the client and the coach decide on (and if you perform the exercise yourself, you can, of course, choose which sections best represent your life). For example, the friends and family section can be broken up into two separate sections or another section can be added like “Children”.
The wheel of life measures the satisfaction from each area on the day it is filled. It is a snapshot taken at this moment. It is not supposed to show how each area has been in the past, and it is not a report card that you score the various areas on how well you performed in them. All it does is show what do you think and are you satisfied with each area NOW.
How to use the wheel of life
The way to use the wheel of life is simple:
1.Rate the level of satisfaction on each section of your life where zero means not satisfied and 10 means highly satisfied (10 means it’s so good, you can’t possibly imagine how it can get better. I’ve never seen anyone rate anything as 10 yet 🙂 ).
2. After each section is rated, connect the dots to form an inner wheel. After you have completed forming the inner wheel, you can ask yourself the following question: “If this wheel was a tire in my car, How bumpy would the ride be?”
3. Decide on an area you like to improve or want to raise the rating for. In a coaching session, the coach usually asks the client to focus on one area he wants to improve, and then continues by asking powerful questions to start moving the client forward in thought. If you do the exercise yourself, you can start by asking yourself powerful questions to get the imaginative juices flowing.
Other versions of the exercise
All though the most classic version of the exercise is the most common, the principals of the exercise can be applied to specific aspects of our life and still have the impact of showing us the balance of each section of that aspect.
We can apply the principals to our work, our relationships with other people, our managerial skills, and many other aspects as well.
You can find some nice ideas for other versions in the interactive wheel here.
I personally prefer and mostly use the classic version when I coach. I find that it is very easy to understand, and by taking complex thoughts and simplifying them to specific sections, where the client can then rate them, we can usually gain a new perspective on topics where the client thought he understood well and didn’t bother to inspect deeper.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, one of the big advantages, in my opinion, of the wheel of life is that you can do it by yourself on your own life, to start gaining clarity as to where most of your energy goes. This gives an excellent starting point if you are trying to figure out where most of you time is spent, and if your current life direction is heading the way you want it to go.
As always If you have any interesting stories, questions, remarks or if you think I have it all wrong, make yourself heard in the comments below.