Life Coaching Insights
The Wheel of Life and Coaching
As a life coach I work to reveal more choices for my clients than they often believe they have. To do this it is essential to build a balanced partnership based on trust and ask questions to provoke insights, enable self discovery and generate actions.
A useful structure to consider a clients current position is the Wheel of Life. This looks at 8 major dimensions in life and helps to pinpoint specific issues.
The areas considered are:
- Relationships – with intimate others and a wider circle of friends and other people
- Physical environment
- Personal development and growth
- Leisure, fun and recreation
Using the dimensions helps to articulate and explore key issues as perceived by a client based on their beliefs and values.
An example in the Health dimension might be “I can’t stop smoking” or in the Personal Development dimension “I am no good at maths”
Whenever I hear the “I can’t” statements I work to help the client reposition the statements to (for example) “right now I believe that I can’t stop smoking”. Or “as things are now I believe that I am not very good at maths”
This opens up possibilities and choices for the future and highlights that it is just a current, self limiting belief being used and not a fact.
It can move the focus to more reflective options such as what will it take to stop smoking or what will it take to develop my mathematical skills.
I find that What Will It Take thinking opens up more fertile ground for being resourceful to achieve change.
A reflective question :
What will it take to nurture, develop or use a gift or talent you have that you are not using now
Socrates famously observed that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” The implication is that we have to go deep if we want to give our lives a sense of meaning and purpose.
These things do not emerge without some measure of contemplation. So finding moments of silence, both short and long, becomes an important spiritual discipline. There we can learn to release our fears and to approach others with gratitude. There, in the absence of noise, we can learn the truth about ourselves and about our place in the family of things.
“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once noted in a sermon, “but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit.”
A model that considers levels of gratification can provide some insights:
Level 1: Immediate Gratification.
We all know about this one. “You’re worth it! Get it now! Why wait, you deserve it.” The benefit to Level 1 happiness is that it usually works … for a while. When the good feelings wear off, though, we can often find ourselves emptier than before. If we’re honest, we usually “live” at Level 1 when we are trying to feel better about ourselves or to avoid or subdue our fears. It’s a pretty shallow happiness.
Level 2: Gratification through Achievement.
This one is less self-centered than Level 1. We are using our talents to achieve goals, to accomplish something good. There will be some short-term gain and we can experience a sense of success. If we remain here, though, we might become fearful of failure, isolated, jealous, and cynical. Happiness becomes something to be worked at endlessly. After years of this, the burden can become overwhelming.
Level 3: Gratification through Contribution.
In this level we take our eyes off ourselves and begin serving others, helping to meet their needs. The benefits of this kind of living can far outweigh more self-centered tendencies. We begin to see ourselves as part of a community, able to make a real difference in the lives of others. Our own happiness increases as we stop grasping for it.
Level 4: Transcendent Gratification.
At this level we are living for a purpose that is larger than us, something truly worthy of a life, worthy of our life. We seek the happiness and joy of others by giving our energy to justice, peace, beauty, love. We are living for something that will outlast us, something that will contribute to many, many lives, not simply our own.
From this perspective it is “Transcendent” because it gets us in touch with that which is beyond us. You may notice that those who are happiest become the kind of people that naturally use their signature strengths, in a virtuous fashion to make a contribution.
It is sometimes observed that people who gain power, control and money in their business lives think this will make them happy. Many of them will tell you it’s an illusion.
Could it could just be that those who don’t see it as an illusion haven’t thought about it ?
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