How to Use The Wheel of Life Coaching Tool
What is the Wheel of Life in coaching and what does it do?
The Wheel of Life is a useful coaching tool that is used to examine how balanced we are across different spheres or roles in life. It is a great way to get an overall feel for how content we are and identify key areas for growth. It is particularly helpful for people concerned about achieving a work-life balance.
The philosophy behind the process is that life is connected and we should aspire to have balance across all the areas of our existence. Therefore it is not so much ‘work-life balance’ but recognising work as being an integral part of life, and therefore having a more holistic approach to how we attain contentment.
If we feel we are failing in one section of our lives, then it will have an adverse effect on our overall wellbeing and happiness. In other words, if we let our friendships or health deteriorate it is likely to have a negative impact on our work performance or our relationship with our significant other.
It is worth noting that the coaching application of the Wheel of Life can include a spiritual application but is different from the Buddhist Wheel of Life. The latter represents the cycle of reincarnation; birth, death and rebirth.
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”Dolly Parton
How do you fill out the Wheel of Life?
The ‘wheel’ is a circle, usually broken down into eight segments (but can be up to 12), where each segment or spoke represents an aspect of life. In each segment, you score yourself 0-10, with 0 being at the centre of the wheel and 10 being at the outside of the circle. Reaching the outer edge of the circle or wheel represents being completely content in that zone.
Once you have scored each section you can quickly see where you believe you are falling short of your own ideal situation. This gives focus and helps to prioritise where a change is going to have the greatest positive impact. The biggest gaps in scores indicate the greatest discontent and prompt the question: how can I increase my score in that area of life? By answering that question one can set goals to improve that aspect of life.
Free Wheel of Life Template
Here is an example template that you can copy and use:
Examining Life Roles
One way of using the Wheel of Life is to examine the most important roles that you play in life and measure your performance or contentment in each one. Roles might include:
- Team Member
- Community Member
- Sports Person/Games Player
- Steward of Finance/Environment/Resources
This list is not exhaustive and it is important to pick the roles that are most relevant and important to you.
Steps for using roles in the Wheel of Life:
- Start with a blank wheel and then add in your most important roles.
- Score each one and reflect on which areas you need to work on most.
- Set time-bound goals to improve in that area
- At the end of the set time period revisit the wheel and re-score yourself to measure progress.
Segments of Life
Another way to use the Wheel of Life is to think about aspects rather than roles in life. These generally include:
- Life Planning/Management/Financial Security/Money
- Personal Growth/Development/Learning
You can follow the same steps, as used for roles in the previous section but replacing the roles with the 8 key areas using the words that resonate most with you.
Questions to help with the Wheel of Life
To help delve deeper into how you are doing at each spoke of the wheel or in each segment you can consider the following questions. You could rate each one on a 0 to 10 scale and then take an average to get your overall score for each section:
1. Family/Relationship/Romance/Significant other
- How would you rate your romance, intimacy and quality time with your spouse/partner/significant other?
- What score would you give the quality and quantity of your time and communication with your closest family members?
- How would you rate your relationship with your children and/or parents?
- How content are you with your relationships with your extended family?
- How would you rate the quality of your home environment?
- How would you score the breadth and depth of friendships that you enjoy?
- Do you feel like you have sufficient quality time with your most important friends?
- How would rate the time you have to socialise and make new friends and connections?
- What value would you give to the support you get from friends and your community?
- How would you score your contribution to your community and the environment?
- How would you rate the quality of your eating habits and diet?
- How content are you with your health and fitness?
- How would you rate the quality and quantity of your sleep?
- How would you score your emotional health and mental wellbeing?
- How would you rate your impact on the environment?
4. Life Planning/Management/Financial Security/Money
- How financially secure do you feel on a scale of 0-10?
- How would you rate your ability to set and keep to a budget?
- How free of debt are you? (10 being completely free of debt)
- How would you rate the quality of your savings, investments and pension to support you in the future?
- How would you score yourself in terms of financial independence or freedom?
- How happy and fulfilled do you feel in your career or vocation?
- How content are you with the hours you work?
- How would you rate your ability to prioritise and manage your time?
- How effective and skilled would you say that you are in your job?
- How content are you with your work prospects, progression or promotion?
- How aligned do you feel to an overall vision, purpose and direction for your life?
- How aligned would you say you are – in thought, word and deed – to your moral values and principles?
- How content are you with the time you have off-line for personal reflection, prayer or meditation?
- How happy are you with the legacy you are building and will leave behind?
- How accountable do you feel for your spiritual or moral direction?
- How would you rate the quality of time you have each week for leisure and recreation?
- Are you content with your ability to pursue your passions or hobbies?
- How would you rate the time you have for fun and laughter?
- Do you feel you are getting enough holiday or vacation time?
- How energised do you feel?
8. Personal Growth/Learning/Development
- How would you rate your continued education and personal development?
- Are you content with the time you have for reading, listening and learning?
- How self-aware would you say that you are?
- How content are you with your opportunity to develop existing strengths and learn new skills?
- How effective would you say you are in setting and achieving personal goals?
When you have filled it out it will look something like the example in the picture below.
Have a look at your scores. If you have an area or even just one particular question with a low score then that is a great place to focus on. Ask yourself: how could I increase this score by one? What would it look and feel like to be at that higher score and how could I get there? Then you can set yourself your specific goal to close the gap.
Wheel of Life Free Downloadable Tool
To make it even easier you can download this Excel spreadsheet template that has all the questions on the first worksheet. When you put in the scores it will automatically calculate your average score and populate a Wheel of Life (or Web of Life) on the second worksheet tab.
Well done and good luck!
Life balance, like forming new habits, does not happen overnight. But, taking the time to examine your life with a tool such as the Wheel of Life provides an excellent start.