The Wheel of Life

Author : Jennifer Pirtle

wheel of life header

19th November 2019

If you’ve been exposed to personal development or coaching of any form, you’ve probably heard of the ‘wheel of life’, the goal-setting tool that is often the mainstay of many professional coaches’ tool kits.

But what exactly is it? And why can it be such a useful tool for a life coach?

Origin of ‘The Wheel of Life’

While a ‘wheel of life’ is not a new concept (the Buddha is said to have used an eight-spoked wheel some 5,000 years ago as a tool to teach his students his lessons of enlightenment), the version used in personal development is less about mapping out a way of life and more about helping to identify areas of a client’s life that are out of balance.

Creation of the modern wheel of life is generally credited to self-improvement industry pioneer Paul Meyer, who founded Success Motivation International in the 1960s. At its most basic, the wheel serves as a visual representation of the eight areas of life that are most important to a person. These categories may vary slightly from individual to individual and are chosen by the client during the early stages of a coaching relationship.

Eight Areas for Improvement

Some of the most commonly used categories in the pie chart include health, career, money, family, friendships, spirituality, romantic relationships, and hobbies. As the wheel of life is inherently flexible, it can also be used to map out other aspects, for example, to identify areas in your life where you could practice more self-compassion, where you’re most stressed, or even to drill down on key aspects of your finances.

Take a look at the example below for a visual representation of how the wheel of life looks.

As the client, once you’ve identified the eight areas, you then arrange them as areas or spokes around a wheel and identify your current levels of satisfaction (on a scale of 1-10) in each category. You can then join up the dots to create a visual representation of your life at present to identify where you might increase those levels of satisfaction. Just as a wheel with a broken spoke or a jagged edge will not move smoothly or efficiently, so too with a life that is skewed heavily in one area.

A Useful Tool for Coaches

Whilst the wheel of life isn’t something that is explicitly taught on the Animas Diploma in Transformational Coaching, it can be a profoundly useful tool to help clients revise their priorities when life has gotten out of balance, and we see a number of Animas coaches use it in their initial interactions with clients. It can help highlight problems and areas to prioritise, such as if they are burnt out or suffering from workaholism, or generally being dissatisfied without fully understanding why.

Although wholeness is the goal, it might emerge, for example, that a client is focusing all of his or her attention on work, while neglecting leisure or family time. The disparity laid out visually by the wheel of life can make it easy to begin to set goals and create action steps for changing the picture of life. Going forward, the wheel can be used to check-in on and monitor progress, as well as reflecting back at the end of the coaching relationship to see how the individual’s satisfaction in each area has improved.

What Comes Next?

It is worth mentioning that the Wheel of Life, whilst being a potentially profound tool, is best seen as a starting point for any coaching relationship. Ultimately, it’s purpose is to help identify areas a coach and client may want to focus on. It is then up to the coach to facilitate the type of change that a client wishes to see (assuming this is something the coach feels he/she can help with). This is where a solid grounding in the core skills of being a life coach can be so invaluable.

The Animas life coaching course features a whole host of  tools, approaches and techniques that can allow a coach to work with various clients, challenges and situations. Ultimately, our course is about creating coaches that are adaptable, flexible and most of all passionate about what they do!  If you would like to find out more about Transformational Coaching, which is our unique approach to life coaching, then please feel free to check out our guide to transformational coaching!

If you’re the sort of person that prefers a more comprehensive and hands-on feel for the Animas approach to coaching, our course and what it is like to train with us, why not attend one of our free introductory days? We’d love to meet you!

Of course, if you can’t attend one of these days or would prefer to find out about our course and approach from the comfort of your home, please feel free to have a more detailed look at our life coaching course!

Categories: Working as a coach  

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