3 Ways to Use the Wheel of Life in Evaluating Relationships


How to Use Wheel of Life in Relationships

The "Wheel of Life" may be 'old hat' to many of us, but it's endlessly flexible. Did you know that the categories we use on the Life Balance Wheel can be used to help make decisions on everything from life partners to new careers? And that a Blank Wheel can be used to help evaluate decisions?

IMPORTANT: These exercises are intended to be done with a client - on their own, to help them understand themselves and their relationships. These suggestions are not itended for use with two partners in a relationship - unless you are a marriage counsellor or similar and have training in this area! This is because there's a risk that if clients see how they have been scored by their partner, it will be upsetting or damaging to the relationship. And as coaches we're not trained to deal with these types of issues!

To learn everything you need to know about this powerful coaching tool read: The Complete Guide to the Wheel of Life.

Attractive couple portrait.Here are 3 Ways to Use The Wheel of Life in Evaluating Relationships:

1. Which qualities, that we wish for in a potential life partner, most positively impacts our life?

Often we look for qualities in a life partner, that in reality, don't add as much benefit to our lives as we believe. For example, how much does a person's hair colour or height truly matter? In this exercise a client learns which qualities in a life-partner could MOST improve their life overall - and which are perhaps more superficial. It can be a great exercise for someone who gets carried away looking for the "perfect" partner - and helps your client focus on more meaningful personal qualities.

Start by asking your client to list approximately 10 qualities they wish their ideal life partner to have. These can be anything at all - and the more honest the client is, the better this exercise works.

Next your client will score each of these qualities using the Wheel of Life Categories. Simply ask your client to give each of the 10 qualities a score of 1 for each Category on the Life Balance Wheel that is enhanced by that quality. Choose one "partner personal quality" to tally up at a time. Then total up the scores and discuss!

Example: Imagine a client has "Tall" or "Curvy" on their ideal life partner quality list. Using each of the wheel categories, ask your client, "Would a tall or curvy life partner enhance that area of your life?". So, would this enhance their Finances, their Career, their Personal Growth? After asking this question for all 8 categories on the wheel, "Tall" or "Curvy" might get a score of 1 - enhancing the "romance" part of their relationship.

Next, imagine, your client has the quality, "A good sense of humour". Using each of the wheel categories, ask your client, "Would a good sense of humour enhance that area of your life?". After comparing to the 8 wheel categories, a good sense of humour might score 5 and a half, improving fun, romance, friends and family, your home environment (a half-point for making home a more pleasant place to be), your health and maybe even your career if you have a lot of social events to go to!

What do you think the quality of "a good listener" might score? I think you might see where this exercise is going!

Follow-on Questions: After this exercise is complete, ask what do they notice? Did anything surprise them? As they look at the list of qualities they chose, what is missing from their list? What did they learn from doing this exercise? How might they change the way they evaluate people they meet in future?

In Summary: This is a potentially deep exercise, and helps a client prioritise the qualities they look for - or value - in a life partner. manMH900442939

2. Evaluating Current & Potential Relationships

Using a Blank Coaching Wheel (free), ask your client to label the page "Relationship Wheel" and then label the wheel segments with the 8-10 most important qualities they think a life-partner, friend or lover should have.

Life Wheel Exercise Scoring ExampleNext ask your client to consider their current or potential relationship partner. While thinking about this person, ask them to score out of 10 how they think that person rates against each of the qualities listed. Finally, ask your client to draw a line representing the scores on the wheel.

Follow-on Questions: After this exercise is complete ask, what do they notice? Are the scores higher or lower than expected? Are they surprised? If their HEAD was to make a decision about their relationship with this person, what would they do next? What about if their HEART was to make a decision? What qualities and factors are missing from their Relationship Wheel categories? What did they learn from doing this exercise? What action steps might they take next?

In Summary: Whilst decisions of the heart shouldn't be made solely with the 'head' or analytical left-brain, sometimes a little left-brained analysis can help us see what we're missing - whether it's that someone deserves a first (or second!) chance, or that we need to move on...

3. Discover How Energising and Draining The Top 8 People In Your Life Really Are

NOTE: You'll need 2 different colour pens for this exercise!

womanMP900442640cropAsk your client to label a Blank Coaching Wheel with the 8 people they spend most of their time with.

Using the first pen colour, ask them to score everyone on their wheel for "How energising is this person out of 10?" (where 0 is not at all energising and 10 is highly energising).

Then, using a different colour pen, ask your client to score everyone on their wheel for "How draining is this person out of 10?" (where 0 is not at all draining and 10 is highly draining).

Tip: The thing to focus on here is, HOW energised or drained they feel after spending time with each person.

Follow-on Questions: What do they notice? What surprises are there? Is anyone both a drainer and an energiser? What does that feel like for them? You could also look at what % of their time they currently spend with each person. For the energising people you could ask how they could spend MORE time with them? And for the drainers you could ask how they could spend less time – or change the way they spend time with them.

I hope you liked these 3 different ways to use the Wheel of Life Template to evaluate, consider and help make decisions about our relationships. Remember that these exercises can be used with our romantic relationships, but can also be used with our friends, family and co-workers to gain a deeper understanding of the impact on our lives.

If you liked this article about the Wheel of Life and Relationships, 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 >>


  1. Rebecca

    Thanks so much Emma-Louise. You inspired me to use it differently with one of my clients and we created a new wheel called "significant other". I then asked my client to label the new wheel with 8 of the most important things that she needs/wants from a significant other (she doesn't have one right now). This new way of looking at it shifted her thinking completely!!!

    Thank you so much.


    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Rebecca, I am SO glad you found that helpful! The Wheel is such a fabulous and flexible tool. And it takes good questioning and coaching to make it work! Great job! Warmly, Emma-Louise

    • Ragesh

      Rebecca your comment was helpful in motivating me to do the same. Thanks to you and Emma.


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