Coaching Tools 101: The Balance and Self-Care Toolkit - How and When to Use These Tools!

Relaxed Coach using Balance& Self-Care Tools on Sofa with Laptop

We live in a society that rewards us for achievement, qualifications, status and success. Many people work themselves extremely hard to get there - ignoring what their bodies and minds are telling them. But what's the point of success, a great career - if you're always stressed, overwhelmed, don't see your family and friends (or are grumpy/tired when you do see them)?

This article about our Balance & Self-Care Tools and Toolkit was written in answer to a request for more information on how to use our toolkits more effectively. These articles are also helpful if you're looking for a coaching process to follow, want to create a Coaching Program or workshop or perhaps simply want some new coaching tool ideas for your toolkit!

So, welcome to your Balance & Self-Care Toolkit Guide! We want you to LOVE your coaching tools, so this guide is part of a series to help you use our Toolkits more effectively. We describe each tool in the toolkit, its purpose, how and when to use it, give additional tips AND identify which tools work in coaching sessions, as homework, in workshops or teleseminars and group coaching!

NOTE: Please be aware this is a long article, jam-packed with information about the tools in the Goal-Setting Toolkit. And it's also neatly structured with lots of headings so it's easy to scan too.

SECTION 1: Assess Your Clients' Current Balance & Self-Care

  • TOOL 1) The Wheel of Life Template
  • TOOL 2)  Self-Care Quiz
  • TOOL 3)  Are You Sitting TOO Comfortably?  Comfort Zone Exercise

SECTION 2: What Are Your Clients' Specific Self-Care Needs?

  • TOOL 4)  My Energy Zappers Coaching Exercise
  • TOOL 5)  Detox Your Toxic Relationships Exercise!
  • TOOL 6)  Self-Care & Needs Review Exercise!

SECTION 3: Taking Action & Setting Boundaries

  • TOOL 7)  The Power of No! Workbook

SECTION 4: Wrapping Up

  • TOOL 8)  Letting Go Coaching Exercise

SECTION 1: Assess Your Clients' Current  Balance & Self-Care Levels

Wheel of Life Template for Balance & Self-Care Toolkit Page 1TOOL 1) *Free* The Wheel of Life Template

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: The Wheel of Life gives a wonderful visual representation of how balanced a client's life is across 8 key areas. Each segment on the wheel is scored according to how satisfied your client is in each segment/area of their life - raising awareness, and providing the opportunity to make change. In additions this exercise will help clarify priorities for goal-setting, allowing the client to plan so that their life is closer to their definition of balance.

Note: This tool is a bonus - included from our FREE Coaching Tools! To learn everything you need to know about this powerful coaching tool read: The Complete Guide to the Wheel of Life.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Ask your client to review the 8 areas on the Wheel of Life. Do they like the category labels? If not, they can rename them and/or split the categories below to make them more meaningful:
    i.    Family & Friends (can be split to give a score to each)
    ii.    Partner/Significant Other/Romance
    iii.    Career
    iv.    Finances
    v.    Health (can be split into emotional/mental and physical/fitness/nutrition)
    vi.    Physical Environment/Home (can be split into work and home environments)
    vii.    Fun/Recreation/Leisure
    viii.    Personal Growth/Learning/Self-development
    Other examples of areas your client might like to add to the wheel and score could include; spiritual wellbeing, service, leadership, integrity, achievement or community.
  2. Now ask your client to think about what success feels like for each area.
  3. Then ask them to rank their level of satisfaction with each area of their life by drawing a line across each segment, placing a value between 1 (very dissatisfied) and 10 (fully satisfied) against each area to show how satisfied they are currently with these elements in their life.
    Tip: Use the example wheel in the bottom right to show them how to score/draw the line.
  4. The new perimeter of the circle represents their "Wheel of Life". A great question to start reviewing their wheel is to ask them, "So is your wheel of life a bumpy ride?"
  5. Now, looking at the wheel,  here are some questions to ask and take the exercise deeper:
    •    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?
    •    Which of these elements would you most like to improve?
    •    How could you make space for these changes?
    •    Can you effect the necessary changes on your own?
    •    What help and cooperation from others might you need?
    •    What would make that a score of 10?
    •    What would a score of 10 look like?

When: Use at any time in a coaching relationship for a quick life satisfaction and balance tune-up. This is an especially good tool to use with prospects and new clients.

Use This Tool:

•    In Session*
•    Homework*
•    Workshops*
•    Teleseminars*
•    Group Coaching*

* This tool is a fabulous all-round exercise!


  1. This is an excellent tool to use regularly to track your clients' progress! Learn more about how to do this in our article: A Simple 3 Step Process to Measure Progress Towards ANY Coaching Goal!
  2. Once the initial scores have been given, 3 easy follow-on activities are:
    i.    Brainstorming and identifying actions to raise their satisfaction scores in each segment (or in the segments that score the lowest)
    ii.    Using the segment names and scores as a prompt to explore what a full and balanced life would look like - for each wheel segment.
    iii.    Using the scores which the client is most dissatisfied with - or would most like to improve - to brainstorm goals and next steps.

TOOL 2) Self-Care QuizSelf-Care Quiz

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: This quiz is intended as a thought-starter around some very practical self-care measures - physical appearance, health, physical environment, time management, energy levels, emotional needs and more.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Review the instructions at the top of the form.
  2. Ask your client to complete the quiz and add up their answers to come up with a score.
  3. Then coach them around their results. How did it feel to complete the quiz? What did they notice? What surprised them? What have they learned about how they take care of themselves?
  4. Finally, what actions/next steps might they want to take?

When: This coaching tool can be completed at any time. If your client has come to you to improve their self-care and/or life-balance it can be a great tool to complete early on to help them get a quick overview as to how much care they are currently taking of themselves.

Use This Tool:

•    In Session         (Review results, but don't waste time completing this quiz in session)
•    Homework*
•    Workshops*
•    Teleseminars
•    Group Coaching*

* This tool is great as an easy piece of fun homework, and in group coaching where clients can discuss and compare answers.

Tip: This may just seem a simple quiz - but it packs a punch! So be sure to dig deeper around any No's the client may have ticked.

TOOL 3) Are You Sitting TOO Comfortably? Comfort Zone ExerciseComfort Zone Coaching Exercise

Especially Good For: All types of clients, but especially useful with unmotivated or workaholic/relentlessly busy clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: Where is your client on the "Comfort Continuum"? This tool provides an excellent springboard for your clients to slow down and do less, or speed up and take action - and for you to discuss discomfort being a necessary part of growth.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Review the instructions at the top of the form.
  2.  Ask your client to answer the questions and then use their gut-feeling or instinct to put an X and mark where they are on the "Comfort Continuum".
  3.  The next step for your client is to ponder, "Is this where I want to be?"
  4.  And finally, this exercise wraps up with asking what action your client will take as a result of this new learning - including an action they could take now (or by the end of the day).

When: This coaching exercise can be used with a client at any time but, as with the Self-Care Quiz and Wheel of Life, it's great to use at the start of a coaching relationship to give the client an overall awareness of how comfortable and stuck, or uncomfortable they might be.

Use This Tool:

•    In Session
•    Homework*  (This tool makes a great piece of contemplative homework)
•    Workshops*1
•    Teleseminars*
•    Group Coaching*1

*1 In Workshops or Group Coaching, you can draw the "Comfort Continuum" on a whiteboard or flipchart and ask workshop attendees to each put an X to mark where they are. Then discuss the similarities and differences and what they  mean for each of us, for our loved ones, for society.

Tip: This exercise can be very revealing for "Type A" personalities too. When I first completed this exercise I was in discomfort from rushing around, learning lots, doing too much. I realised I wanted to be MORE comfortable. Ironically being busy was my comfort zone! - and relaxing was uncomfortable for me...

Get Your Balance & Self-Care Toolkit here:

SECTION 2: What Are Your Clients' Specific Self-Care Needs?

In Section 1 your client got a sense of how balanced their life is and whether they're taking care of themselves or not. In Section 2, your clients get specific about what and who is draining them—and what their specific self-care needs might be.

TOOL 4) My Energy Zappers Coaching ExerciseEnergy Zappers Coaching Exercise

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: How can we love our life if we feel exhausted? So, what is zapping your clients' energy? What one thing particularly zaps their energy? This exercise is also a great introduction to the idea that mental and emotional drains have an impact too.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Ask your client to read the instructions at the top - which also give examples of potential energy zappers.
  2. You may like to share that there are 3 key types of drains:
    1) PHYSICAL Drains eg. a lack of sleep or tired & aching muscles
    2) MENTAL Drains eg. incomplete tasks, clutter, unmade decisions, an outdated wardrobe etc.
    3) EMOTIONAL Drains eg. long-standing arguments or 'situations', 'SHOULDS', yours or other people’s behaviours.
  3. Now coach them around their results. How did it feel to write out their energy zappers? What did they notice? What surprised them? What did they learn from completing this exercise?
  4. Finally, ask them what actions/next steps might they want to take?

When: This coaching exercise can be used at any time. Whip it out if your clients complains of being tired or drained.

Use This Tool:

•    In Session*     (great to use in session or for homework when a client
•    Homework*    complains of being tired or drained)
•    Workshops*1
•    Teleseminars*1
•    Group Coaching*1

*1 Excellent exploration exercise in workshops, teleseminars and group coaching: 1) Get people to brainstorm in groups a list of things that zap people's energy generally, 2) Then ask them to share these with the larger group (it's good for people to hear others' ideas and zappers!), 3)  Finally ask people to write down their own unique energy zappers on the worksheet.

Tip: Your clients' energy zappers are things they might like to start saying "No" to in their lives.

TOOL 5) Detox Your Toxic Relationships Exercise!Detox Toxic Relationships Coaching Exercise

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: WHO we spend our time with has a significant impact on our lives - some relationships uplift and inspire us and others are downright draining. This is about bringing awareness to, and being intentional with, whom we spend our time. It’s a great exercise to do with all our clients – and in our own lives too.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Review the instructions with your client.
  2. Ask your client to make a list of the 20 people you spend most of your time with.
  3. Now ask your client to give everyone on the list a score by asking: "How do I generally feel after spending time with this person?" Score each person on a scale from +5 to -5 (where a + leaves you feeling good and a – leaves you feeling somehow less).
  4. Now review the scores. Great questions to ask include:
    • Are there any surprises?
    • What are the scores for the people you spend most of your time with?
    • Are you generally spending more time with the "pluses" or "minuses"?
    • How much time are you spending with the high scoring +4s and +5s on your list?
    • What about the draining -4s or -5s?
    • What other patterns do you notice?
  5. Now decide on next steps:
    • First, consider the "plus" relationships. How could your client spend more time with them? If you don’t have any +4s and +5s on your list, who can you think of who could fill that slot? How else could you find and develop +4 and +5 relationships?
    • Then, consider the "minus" relationships. In theory, these are people to try and spend less time with - but any healthy relationship has rough patches and it’s not necessarily the right thing to discard someone simply because times get tough. You could ask if there a wound or grievance that needs to be brought into the open and discussed? Where are they giving their power away? Who has your client outgrown – is it time to let go and move on? And finally, for "minus" relationships your client may still want or need, how can your client change HOW they spend time with them so they still feel good about themselves?
    • Lastly, consider your most important relationships. Does your client need to shift things around to spend more time with those who are most important?

When: This tool can be used at any time, but it's probably best NOT used too early in the coaching relationship. There are other tools that are better used before this one to lay the path for the learning and action that may follow this exercise. It's ideal to be used as part of a life balance and self-care assessment. Here your client gains an understanding of how they are currently taking care of their relationships - and how those relationships take care of them.

Uses For This Tool:

•    In Session         (This tool is probably best given as homework,
•    Homework*       then reviewed in depth in session)
•    Teleseminars

NOTE: Avoid this exercise in workshops/group coaching - as there may be people on your clients' lists who are also present in the workshop and may be upset by how they are scored.


  1. Remind your client that we can't change others' behaviour (only our own). So, how could they behave, spend less time or spend time differently with people to boost their relationships?
  2. I do hope you try this exercise out on yourself! It's one of my favourite coaching tools and gives us an empowering way to review our relationships - including partners, colleagues, friends and family – and make conscious, powerful choices that leave us feeling better about ourselves and our lives.
  3. Finally, it may be worth mentioning that as we work on and change ourselves, we may notice people reacting to us differently, or that we see people differently. This is all a normal part of our growth. We may need to make a decision whether we still want these people in our lives - and if so, how.

TOOL 6) Self-Care & Needs Review Exercise!Self-Care and Needs Coaching Form

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: Knowing ourselves and our needs is essential to living a balanced life. This exercise asks people to give a score out of 10 to various universal needs and how we could raise our score. Where do your clients need to take better care of themselves? Use this exercise to get an insight into what's preventing your client from feeling happy and at peace with themselves.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Review the instructions at the top of the form with your client.
  2. If in session, ask your client to complete the scoring first, noting that It's important for your clients to give a first gut or instinctual score.
  3. Now ask your clients to write down what they need/could do to raise that score against each item.
  4. Then ask your clients to review and answer the questions at the bottom of the page.
  5. Coach them around their results. What surprises were there? You could also ask them some additional questions to go deeper following on from this exercise like:
    • How would I like to spend more time?
    • Where would I like to spend less time?
    • What is most important to me right now in life?
    • In the morning I want to look forward to:
    • In the evening I want to look forward to:
    • If I could have more fun in my life I would:

When: This coaching tool works well at any time—as a way of getting an overview of our clients' needs and how/whether they are being met.

Uses For This Tool:

•    In Session
•    Homework*
•    Workshops*
•    Teleseminars*
•    Group Coaching*

Tip: Remind them to NOT think too much about their answers, but instead to write down whatever 'pops' into their mind for the best results.

Get Your Balance & Self-Care Toolkit here:

SECTION 3: Taking Action & Setting Boundaries

TOOL 7) The Power of No! WorkbookLearn to Say No Coaching Exercise 3D Cover Image

Especially Good For: People who would like more time for themselves and their needs - or who would like to be more assertive.

Description and Purpose of Tool: This mini-workbook has 4 juicy pages. Until our clients learn to say "No" they will continue to be stressed and overwhelmed - and their goals and priorities will suffer! Use this workbook to help your clients understand where they need to say "No" more, how their beliefs could be getting in the way, what THEIR priorities are (so they can be clear on why they need to say "No"). Finally, they create a personalised 3 step action plan to say "No" when they need to!

Steps and How to Use:

  1. This workbook has been designed so your client simply works through the 7 sections in order.
  2. If using in session, pick just one of the 7 sections to work with at a time, then asking questions to delve deeper like, "What do you notice?", "What could you do differently?", "How does that make you feel?", "What are you resisting?" and "What unique obstacles do you have?"
  3. If giving this as homework, give one page at a time. Be sure to include the Appendix with tips and techniques (page 4) when you give them page 3 (where they pick actions to move forwards with).
  4. Finally, review their actions! What steps will they take going forwards to say "No" more?

When: This tool can be used at any time, but it's probably best used later in the coaching relationship - unless the client has specifically expressed a wish to learn this skill or build confidence and assertiveness.

Use This Tool:

•    In Session              (Pick just one of the seven sections at a time to avoid overwhelm)
•    Homework            (Give one page at a time to avoid overwhelm)
•    Workshops*1
•    Teleseminars*
•    Group Coaching*  (Pick just one of the seven sections at a time for group discussion)

*1  Use this FABULOUS tool "as is" to base a workshop or teleseminar around:

  • Sections 1-3 are ideal for brainstorming out loud or in smaller groups of 3-4 people.
  • Sections 4 and 5 can be completed solo.
  • Each question in section 6 could be brainstormed before being individually completed.
  • Finally ask each participant to complete the "taking action" in section 7 using the Appendix of Tips and Techniques to support them.
  • An additional activity could be to brainstorm tips and techniques for saying "No" with the larger group BEFORE handing out the Appendix to help them.

SECTION 4: Wrapping Up

What better way to wrap up a Balance & Self-Care program than to look at what needs to be "let go"? Now it's time for a cleansing "release".

TOOL 8) Letting Go Coaching ExerciseLetting Go Coaching Exercise

Especially Good For: All types of clients. But especially where you may notice patterns of bearing grudges, holding onto the past, or resisting change.

Description and Purpose of Tool: People often hang onto things which cloud their minds and drain them of energy - preventing them from moving forwards. This coaching exercise also explores WHY they're holding on and the benefits of NOT letting go.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Review the instructions with your client.
  2. Then ask your client to make a list of 10 things they might need (or want) to let go of.
  3. Once they've done that, ask them to consider how they benefit by "holding on" to each item. This is what you may know as the "secondary gain" - what they gain by staying exactly as they are.
  4. Now review and discuss the client's responses. Great questions to ask include:
    • Are there any surprises?
    • How do you feel as you review your list? How would it feel to let go of ALL of these items?
    • Which items are you ready to set free?
    • Where are you willing to loosen your grip?
    • What are you NOT ready to let go of yet?
    • If there was a pattern or theme that stopped you from letting go, what would it be?
  5. Finally, what actions or next steps will you take following your learnings from this exercise?

When: This coaching tool works standalone and can be used any time, but is especially helpful with forgiveness issues (self and others) and to wrap-up a period of coaching.

Uses For This Tool:

•    In Session
•    Homework*
•    Workshops*
•    Teleseminars*
•    Group Coaching*      (When a client finds it challenging to let go, an established group with trust
- and different perspectives - may be more likely to succeed!)

Tip: This coaching exercise is also a perfect way to start a discussion around forgiveness – whether of self or others.

In Summary

There are 8 Life Balance and Self-Care Tools in this toolkit and this guide was written to help you use this toolkit more effectively. The tools, tips and sequence above are suggestions only - it all depends on you and your client - so dance in the moment, have fun and play with your tools!

Get Your Balance & Self-Care Toolkit here:

You may also find these articles helpful for your client to find balance/self-care:

  1. De-Stress Series: 10 Easy Ways to Help Your Clients (and You!) Find The Calm You Need
  2. De-Stress Series: Relax Your Clients in Under 5 Minutes with these Guided Meditation Scripts
  3. Reflective Journaling Exercise for Stress Release & Authentic Wellbeing

And you may also find these tools helpful for your client to find balance/self-care:

  1. 3 Month Vision Worksheet - Use the life area headings in this exercise and ask your clients to write out what a balanced life would like in 3 months.
  2. *FREE* Tolerations - What is your client tolerating that is draining them of energy?
  3. Daily Success Habits - Set up daily habits that help your clients take better care of themselves so that they have more a more balanced life - and more energy.
  4. NOT To-Do List Exercise! - What could your client NOT do that would give them more balance?
  5. *FREE* The Effects of STRESS & Warning Signs! - A simple one page mini-poster to help your clients understand the biological effects of stress - and help them identify their warning signs.
Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

Image of Relaxed Coach on Sofa by Potstock via Shutterstock


  1. Jennifer Gray

    Just wanted to say thank you. As a new Life Coach. Your website assists me with the tools and information that I need to be a successful Life Coach, it keeps me organized and helps me saves time. It's a valuable tool. Thank you.

    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Jennifer, Thank-you for your kind words! We work hard to offer lots of free helpful stuff as well as the paid tools and resources 🙂 So glad you enjoy and appreciate them! Warmly, Emma-Louise


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