by Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird

Wheel of life – a coaching tool

The wheel of life is a coaching tool that can bring perspective, clarity and balance, and can be a significant help in raising the coachee’s awareness.

It is often easy to focus only on those things that we like to do or those things that we are under urgent pressure to do. The result can be that we do not achieve the other things that might be equally important to our success (in life or specifically at work). Examples might be:

  • Balancing work with our life outside work
  • Balancing and paying attention to the different facets of our role in work.

The idea is a simple one and the figure below relates to a work–life balance application. The same tool can be applied to a number of different coaching areas and certainly to the different facets of a job.

The coaching wheel

The segments of the wheel can be defined in whatever way is appropriate to the topic. In fact, you could ask the coachee to label the segments. There do not even need to be eight.

Once the segments are labelled, you explain that the centre of the wheel is 0 and the outside of the wheel is 10, where 0 means that you are not at all happy with this element and 10 means you are exactly where you need to be with it. You ask the coachee to rate where they are now on each segment and to draw a line across that segment, and fill in the resulting triangle. This provides a very visual indication of where the coachee is in terms of balance and what their priorities should be.

The next step is to ask the coachee to pick two or three initial priorities (segments) and where they would like to be in relation to each segment in an agreed period of time. They can mark another line in a different colour to indicate this.

Th final stage is to focus on planning one or two actions that will proactively improve their balance in the chosen segments.

By way of example, an individual’s completed wheel might end up looking like this, where the filled-in area represents where they are. Looking at the wheel it is usually very simple to work out where the priorities are.

The coaching wheel filled in