Coaching Tools 101: 3 New Ways to Use the Wheel of Life in Career, Executive or Business Coaching!

The Wheel of Life can be customised to an individual client's situation in a surprising number of ways. In this article we look at using the Wheel in Career, Executive or Business coaching (although other niches will also find these tips helpful). To learn everything you need to know about this powerful coaching tool read: The Complete Guide to the Wheel of Life.

1. Use the Wheel of Life to Make a Decision

The decision in question can be choosing between a number of options or a simpler "Yes" or "No" decision.

Examples of when to use:  Use when a client is looking at a number of new career options. Also good for considering whether to accept a promotion or move jobs, and when a client needs to make a business decision.

  1. Write out each option on a piece of paper.
    • TIP: If it's a "Yes" or "No" decision then these are the two options.
  2. Take the first option and using the standard Wheel of Life Categories give the option 1 point for every wheel category that is improved or helped by that decision.
    • TIP: You can make it more 'decisive' by allowing clients to score 0.5 points for a little improvement, 1 point for  improved and 2 for significantly improved.
  3. Repeat this process for each option and see how the scores compare.
  4. Discuss the scores with your client, the differences, how they FEEL about each decision when they consider how it will impact their life as a WHOLE.
  5. Ask if their gut feeling aligns with the highest scoring option. If not, why do they think that is?
  6. What action/s could they take now? Are they ready to make their decision? Do they need to do more research? Talk to family or an expert? Ponder this new information?
  7. Make an action plan! If they're ready to make a decision, they'll need an action plan. And if they're not? They'll STILL need an action plan.
    • TIP: Make sure they commit to at least one action!

2. Use the Wheel of Life to Help People Get Positive after a Career or Business Disappointment

Examples of when to use: Client has just had a disappointing appraisal or has been passed over for promotion or business opportunity, client is feeling tired and uninspired or is looking for new ways to move forwards.

We all know that the area for greatest improvement lies with our strengths (and not our weaknesses):

  1. Ask your client to label a blank wheel (free blank wheel here) with 8 Key Strengths of their Business or Careers.
    • TIP: Questions to ask include, "What is at the core of your success so far - what makes you or your business successful?", "What are your strengths and unique qualities?", "What are you particularly good at?" and, "When do you (or your business) shine?"
  2. Then ask them to score out of 10 how satisfied they are with each area. Consider how well are they using or demonstrating this quality right now.
  3. When complete, review the scores. Where are they using their strengths well? How can they do more of that? Where are they doing not so well?
    • TIP: Another area to explore could be whether their scores have something to do with the current situation.
  4. How could they raise their scores? Help your client brainstorm and come up with 5-10 actions to boost their scores and get positive!
  5. Make an action plan! Help your clients choose and commit to 1-3 actions to move forwards with.

    • TIP: Ask your client to commit to one action for that day to get them moving right away!

3. Use the Coaching Wheel to Gain Insight and Greater Understanding of a Difficult Situation at Work

This exercise can help people gain a greater awareness and move forwards from a difficult situation. This works especially well when it's a public issue and client is feeling influenced, pressured or judged by people around them.

Examples of when to use: A key employee has quit, your client has received bad press or a product has failed. Other ideas include when your client has had a disappointing appraisal or has been passed over for promotion or business opportunity. Finally, perhaps your client is feeling tired and uninspired or is looking for new ways to move forwards.

Help your client move forwards by connecting with, and valuing what THEY think, rather than what others think:

  1. Ask your client to take a blank wheel (free blank wheel here) and write at the top of the page: What I think about x (the current situation).
  2. Then ask them to label the wheel with 8 different answers. Questions to help your client can include, "What's important to ME here?", "What do I need to recognise?" and, "What am I not seeing about x (the situation)?".
  3. Next ask them to score out of 10 how important or significant each area/answer is to them.
  4. When complete, review the scores. What have they learned? What has been useful to acknowledge? What surprises are there?
  5. Then, looking at the high scores in particular, ask your client what they could they do? What actions could they take to move forwards?
  6. TIP: Make sure they commit to at least one action - as soon as possible!

So, I hope this has given you some new ideas as to how you can work with and use 'The Wheel of Life' in your Career, Business or Executive Coaching practice. Give them a try - they're wheely good!

Like this article about The Wheel of Life in Careers and Business? You'll love:

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, 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 2 business people in a meeting by Goodluz via Shutterstock


  1. Tinus

    These are really great suggestions! My mind is working overtime now to think of more ways to use the wheel, thank you for sparking this in me.

    • Emma-Louise

      That's great to hear Tinus! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! It is such a great tool and so flexible! You can also just use it for ANY problem on the spur of the moment in a session too. Enjoy! Warmly, EL


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