Coaching Tools 101: 10 Great Life Visioning Exercises & Ideas!

Client looking to the future with a telescope for Life Vision Exercises

3 Goal-Setting Tools and 7 Life Vision Exercise Ideas!

I get a lot of questions from coaches who want to help their clients with life planning or life visioning exercises. Often people—and their coaches—are looking for a catch-all tool, workbook, visualisation or some other technique to help their clients.

Which is great, but there are endless life vision exercises and ways to come up with a life plan. Maybe that's why we sometimes feel overwhelmed and need help.

So in this article I share 10 of my favourite goal-setting tools and exercise ideas for discovering your life vision.

First, let's get clear about why people might want a life vision

Have you heard the saying: If you don't know what you want, you'll end up with what you get? This sums up why it's so important to have a life vision!

And there are two key ways a life vision helps when working with our clients and with setting goals:

  1. DIRECTION: When we have a life vision, it gives us something to work towards. It gives us clarity, so we can go through our days knowing we're working towards what we want—and what's truly important to us. This clarity of direction helps us make the right decisions and choices—for us.
  2. INSPIRATION: A life vision should be inspirational. If your client's life vision is ho-hum, they're not going to want to do anything about it. Our life vision should align with our values, and be inspiring so that we WANT to take action towards it. The purpose of a life vision exercise or plan is to create a desirable future that helps us to focus our lives - and inspire us to take action towards it.

Here are 3 Life Visioning Exercises I always use with my Clients

These 3 life vision exercises are a series of 3 simple, yet powerful one-page life vision exercises to help clients connect with themselves and what they truly want from life.

1) Rocking Chair Life Vision Exercise

Rocking Chair Life Vision Exercise is a writing or journaling exercise where they imagine being 90, happy, healthy and look back over their life and what they have achieved. This gives a broad life vision—and points to key life values which can be helpful when helping to identify a client's values.

Please Note: Our Rocking Chair and 2 Other Life Vision Exercises tool offers two other life vision exercise options you can offer your clients: the retirement party and a celebratory newspaper article.

2) The Get Perspective Life Vision Exercise

This Get Perspective Vision Exercise asks them to detail where they want to be in 10 years, then 5, 2, 1 and 3 months time. The exercise deliberately works back from 10 years to the present day—this way they really get a sense of what they need to do NOW to make their 10 year goals happen.

3) The 3 Month Vision Worksheet

This 3 Month Vision Worksheet exercise asks people to consider where they would like to be in 3 months time in key life areas (eg. Personal Life, Home and Family, Health and Well-being, Career). It then asks for obstacles, who they need to be to achieve these goals.

And I always use these life visioning exercises in the above order.

When you do these 3 life vision exercises in the sequence above (from far into the future, then finishing up with their next 3 months) you get a broad overview of the vision our clients have for their life. AND then it brings people right back to the present day/immediate future.

This helps them focus on what they need NOW to do to get moving in the next 3 months that fits beautifully into the overall vision they have for their life. And there is plenty of scope for additional coaching, homework (or homefun) around each of the exercises.

Curious about Coaching Exercises in general? Check out our Complete Guide to Coaching Tools here (with examples) >>

And here are 7 Other Great Life Vision Exercises & Ideas

I have used all of these life vision exercises at some point. It depends on the client, what they enjoy and where they are at in their lives.

  1. The Eulogy Question: What would your client want said about them in their eulogy—or at their funeral/memorial service? What would they want written on their tombstone?
  2. The Ideal Day: Ask clients to write about their "Ideal Day". They should start their "Ideal Day" from the moment they wake up—and write out what they'd like their day to be like. What would they do? How would they feel? Who would they see? What are they working towards? And so on.
  3. Meet your Future Self: You could do a creative visualisation exercise where you talk them through meeting their future self and explore the life, relationships, environment etc. their future self is living. Just type "future self visualization script" into your internet search bar for lots of ideas!
  4. The Magic Wand Question. If your client had a magic wand, what life would they create for themselves? What would they do in the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and then 25 years? Introducing "magic" frees people to imagine without limiting beliefs and fears!
  5. The Wheel of Life. You could also simply use a Wheel of Life as a life visioning exercise! Simply ask your client what they'd like their life to look like in each of the key areas. Then ask them to make a list of what they want in each of the wheel segments. To learn everything you need to know about this powerful coaching tool read: The Complete Guide to the Wheel of Life.
  6. Step to it! Why not devote a whole session to your client's life visioning and make this experience even more memorable by turning the exercise into something 'physical' they can do. How?
    • Ask your client to label and then put pieces of paper on the floor representing the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and then 25 years.
    • Get them to step on each piece of paper in sequence, close their eyes and then ask them questions. What do they see/feel/hear? Who is there with them? Where are they? What do they love about it?
    • Use the categories from the Wheel of Life to ask what is going on in different areas of their life.
    • As they answer all these questions, make notes for them. Then at the end give these to your clients!
    • Also, (if they are interested) give them homework to summarise and write this up in their own words.
  7. Create a Vision Board: Suggest your client creates a Vision Board for what they want from their life. This could be for the next year, 5/10/20 years—or the rest of their lives. Ask your client what time period they would like to create a vision board around.

Top Tip: The more your clients write, the more life vision exercises they do, the more information and detail they will get. And the more rich and detailed their life vision is, the more inspiring it will be.

Click to see the Goal-Setting Toolkit

Wrap-up

Like I said, there are endless ways to help people create a strategic life vision. Take an idea, play with it. Get creative and have fun with one of these exercises!

... life never calms down long enough for us to wait until tomorrow to start living the lives we deserve. Sarah Ban Breathnach

If you liked this article on life vision exercises you may also like:

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 Kindness.com. 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 Client with telescope representing life vision exercises by ESB Professional via Shutterstock

Image of Person next to boulder by sasint via Pixabay

10 Comments

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Mary! THANK-you. Life Vision is such a personal area and there are SO many different ways of going about it. I'm very glad you found the article useful. Keep up all YOUR good work.
      Warmly, EL

      Reply
  1. Abe Green

    I appreciated the DIRECTION and INSPIRATION lines. I was curious about the exercises linked to above, but most of the links don't go to the exercises that are described. Can someone please update these?

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Abe, thank-you for your comment. I checked the links in the article, and they all go to the exercises that are described. Could you clarify if there was a particular link issue or lack of clarity? Thanks, warmly, Emma-Louise

      Reply
  2. Nima

    I am in awe of - and so grateful for - the value you guys provide on this site. Thank you so much for everything you share! I have found SO many things on your site that have been super helpful in my coaching practice. You're truly amazing!!!

    Reply

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