It takes diligent practice and experience to become a successful life coach. And the deeper you understand your client, the easier it is for you to help guide them in attaining their goals. A deeper understanding of your client will arm you with the insights needed to come up with powerful questions—questions that will help your client to make the most of the coaching sessions.
This is where the Wheel of Life comes in handy. The Wheel of Life is one of the most powerful coaching tools available. In fact, any reputable life coach training program will include it as a prerequisite tool. Here is a step-wise approach to using the Wheel of Life with your clients.
Step One: Determining Your Client’s Priorities
Start by helping your client to determine their most important priorities in life. You want the client to be sure of what matters most to them. This could be family, friendship, career, finances, or any other area. This ties in closely to their roles in society, so you may also want to ask them about the roles they think matter most to them, such as spouse, parent, sibling, teacher, manager, pastor, business owner, etc.
For example, if your client happens to mention that being the leader of his business is one of the most important things to him, then you know that business and career is one of the areas you need to be focusing on. If another client tells you that being a godly mother is most important, then you should recognize that family is one of the areas you will be focusing on.
It is not uncommon to have a client who doesn’t understand their most important priorities; anything and everything can seem like it’s a priority! However, your client wants to figure out how to prioritize his priorities. For instance, if family and career priorities clash, how does your client decide which one is the most important?
After discussing and coming up with a list of the most important priorities for your client, you can then go ahead and list them on the Wheel of Life. Here is an example of a priority list:
- Health and well-being
- Personal Development
Step Two: Discover Priorities
After your client decides on their priorities, take time to revisit each item and ask the client questions like, “What do you think is missing in this particular area of your life?” You can use a scale of 0-5 to help them rate their satisfaction in a certain area. Here is a sample question you can use:
On a scale of 0-5 (zero being least satisfied and 5 being most satisfied), what is your level of satisfaction in this area of life?
If you wish, you can use the 0-10 scale, but the 0-5 scale is usually easier to use. That’s because the client can more easily pinpoint their area of satisfaction with greater accuracy without having to think too deeply about which number to assign. This rating is important because it will help you and the client to identify which areas to focus on. As well, since all these priorities are interrelated, improvement in one area will impact the other area positively.
Once each area has been rated, take time to ask powerful questions for each bullet item.
For instance, under health, you can ask:
- How are you doing health-wise?
- Do you get enough time for rest and recreational activities?
- In which areas do you feel you need to improve immediately?
- How will you start taking better care of yourself?
Breaking down each section with such questions will help the client come up with helpful action steps that can steer them in the right direction. If you have limited time in the life coach session, concentrate on a couple of the items, then give your client some homework to complete at their own pace.
Step Three: A Way Forward
After working through step one and step two, you will have developed some better understanding of your client. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to come up with an action plan that can help your client to optimize each area of life. This is where goal-setting comes in. The easiest way of doing this would be to start by reviewing the entries your client has made on the Wheel of Life, then asking some thought-provoking questions. Here are some sample questions:
- Which area do you feel the most motivated to start working on right away?
- Which are some of the changes that you can make in this area?
- What do you need to do in this area in order to get it to a 4/5 rating instead of a 2/5?
- What are the goals you have in this area?
After you have helped your client to establish actionable goals, you can help them to prioritize those same goals. It is most effective to start with a goal that will have the greatest impact on all the other areas of life. For instance, if one of their goals is to improve their relationship with God, this will also inspire them to be better spouses, parents, workers, etc.
Starting with a goal that will have a great impact on the other areas of life will inspire your client to pursue the other less impactful goals in the future.
The life coach training you take will probably advise you to use the Wheel of Life in either your first or second session with your client. This is important because your client will typically come into the first coaching session feeling lost and confused. It is very important to help them realize you will offer them meaningful help from the very first interactions you have with them, which is why using the Wheel of Life tool is highly recommended when starting the coaching journey.
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