The Wheel of Life coaching tool is an essential tool for personal and professional development. It is a visual representation of different areas of life that helps individuals to identify areas that need improvement and set goals for achieving balance and fulfillment. This guide will provide an in-depth understanding of the tool and its applications in coaching. It should be a mainstay in your coaching repertoire. Using this in conjunction with your session notes will help you grow trust with your clients and help them meet their goals.
Understanding the Wheel of Life
The Wheel of Life is a circle divided into 8 sections, each slice of the "pie" on the diagram represents a different aspect of life, such as career, health, and social relationships. Clients are given the wheel and asked to rate their satisfaction level in each area on a scale of 1-10. The scores are then plotted on the wheel, creating a visual representation of the individual's life balance.
The sections of the wheel of life are as follows but can certainly be modified based on your individual coaching program or your coaching needs:
Applying the Tool in Coaching
The Wheel of Life is a powerful coaching tool for personal development and goal setting because you, as a coach, can immediately deploy it to help clients identify areas of their lives that need improvement. Moreover, this can really help with the process of helping your clients set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals for achieving balance and personal/professional fulfillment in their lives.
Since this tool is such a high-level exercise, it should really be used early on in the coaching process (during session 1, if possible) to help identify pain points. The added benefit of this tool is that is a forcing mechanism for clients to think about aspects that they are not necessarily vocalizing with you. This brings about new areas of opportunity to work with your clients to help them meet their goals.
The tool can also be used to track progress and celebrate successes. By regularly reassessing the satisfaction levels in each area of life, individuals can see the impact of their efforts and make adjustments as needed.
Tips for Using the Wheel of Life
- Be honest with yourself when rating your satisfaction levels. The tool can only be effective if it reflects your true feelings.
- Use the tool as a starting point for setting goals, not the end goal itself.
- Be specific when setting goals. Instead of something vague like "I want to be happier," encourage your clients to set a goal to "Spend 30 minutes each day doing something that makes me happy."
- Use the tool regularly to track progress and celebrate successes. This is extremely important to showing progress and retaining clients or even using as case studies to win new coaching clients.
- While the printable wheel of life template can be done in a physical setting, feel free to use use online scheduling software to conduct a session where you can run through the exercise digitally.
The Wheel of Life Exercise: Instructions for the Coach
- This exercise raises a client's awareness and allows the client to plan a life that is more satisfying and closer to their definition of balance. It also helps clarify priorities for goal-setting.
- Balance is personal and unique to each individual—what may be satisfying or balanced for some may be stressful or boring for others.
- Balance should be assessed over time. A regular check-in (eg. with this exercise) can highlight useful patterns and help your clients learn even more about themselves. You can do this with them, or recommend they do it for themselves.
- Another option is for your client to ask someone who knows them well to complete the scores for them (sometimes it's helpful to see an outside perception of your life 'balance'). Important: This must be someone they trust and whose opinion they value—remember that others may have hidden agendas.
How to Set up the Wheel of Life Exercise
- Ask your client to review the 7 categories on their Wheel of Life. You can always add categories based on your expertise. For example, as an executive coach you may want to dial The categories should together create a view of a balanced life for them. If necessary they can split category segments to add in something that is missing, or re-label an area to make it more meaningful for them. Examples of changes are:
- Family: Can be defined as "Family and Friends" or "Relationship" or even segmented into a new category
- Career: This can be changed to "Leadership", "Work", "Business" etc.
- Finances: Change the category name to "Money", "Financial Stability" or "Financial Wellbeing".
- Physical: could be split or changed to "Emotional", "Physical", "Fitness", or "Wellbeing".
- Home Environment: The category could split or change to "Work Environment" for career or business clients.
- Social: The category name could change to "Recreation".
- Spiritual: could change to "Devotion", "Universal Alignment", or "Harmony".
How to Conduct the Wheel of Life Assessment
- Ensure that your client is in a self-aware frame of mind that allows them to think deeply and critically
- Ask your client to think about what success or satisfaction would feel like for each slice of the circle.
- Now ask them to gauge and score their level of satisfaction with each area of their life by drawing a line across each segment. Ask them to place a value between 1 (very dissatisfied) and 10 (fully satisfied) against each area to show how satisfied they are currently with each category in their life.
- The new perimeter of the circle represents their Wheel of Life.
- Now, looking at the wheel here are some great questions to ask your client to take the exercise deeper:
Coaching Follow-up Questions
- Are there any surprises for you?
- How do you feel about your life as you look at your Wheel?
- How do you currently spend time in these areas? How would you like to spend time in these areas?
- What would make that a score of 10?
- How do you think you could get to a score of 10?
- Which of these categories would you most like to improve?
- How could you make space for these changes in your life?
- What help and support might you need from others to make changes and be more satisfied with your life?
- What change should you make first? And what change do you want to make first?
- If there was one key action you could take that would begin to bring everything into balance, what would it be?
Taking action - the final step. To wrap-up the exercise ask your client to identify one action for each area, and then pick 1-3 actions to get started. You could also ask them to choose the 3 areas they most want to work on and identify an action for each. TIP: If your client is extremely busy or stressed try asking, "What is the smallest step you could take to get started?" Use these action items as guideposts for future sessions
Incorporate this exercise into your coaching packages to deepen your coach/client relationship and use it as a tool to get new clients. Bonsai is an all-in-one client management platform that can help you with your invoicing, proposals, contracts and coaching crm needs. Sign up today and get a free 7-day trial.