I took some time to explore various areas that would be important for a balanced wellness wheel. I came up with categories of:
- Spiritual: participating in spiritual activities
- Social: which includes relationships, intellectual conversations, and networking
- Emotional: openly expressing thoughts, feelings, and being able to deal with them appropriately
- Physical: proper nutrition, sleep, and movement
- Environmental: safe and comfortable surroundings and resources available
- Financial: getting basic needs met, and being comfortable living within their means
- Goals and Aspirations: having desires, hopes, short and long term attainable aspirations and goals
I decided to include these seven categories because it takes a look at the whole person. I could have made more categories, but I decided to lump them into a broader framework so that the wheel did not look so intimidating to the client. This helped to look at integrating the individual’s multiple dimensions of what was meaningful, positive, and purposeful in their life. It also looked at what other areas that were impacting them in a negative way. The categories encouraged the client to explore their health and wellness in a different light. This allowed the ability for the individual to see what was working or not working for them. These categories can be intimately interconnected. I felt it was important to include the Goals and Aspiration category because it is important to have dreams, hopes, desires, and goals for growth. Without these, it may be more of a struggle to find a fuller and deeper meaning of health and wellness.
I was able to ask many questions after the client had finished the wellness wheel. I asked questions such as:
- What is important to you?
- Where would you like to see change happen? How can you see a change in this area? What might this look like when change starts to happen?
- What are you feeling as you look at your wellness wheel? Is there a good balance in your life? What are other options you can try?
- Ranking your priorities, where are your highest and where are your lowest priorities?
- What would you like to work on first? Is that where you are spending most of your time? Does your health cause you to focus on that area more?
- What strengths do you see in the wellness wheel? How can you capitalize on that?
Many other questions evolved as the client would share more information. Her answers would take my questions in another direction where the client demonstrated deeper processing.
It was interesting, that my client immediately reported that her wheel “had a flat tire”. This brought on “AHA” moments for the client. The client discovered some positive areas, areas that she had been neglecting, and others that were not a priority for her. There were also areas that she was not ready to deal with. She reported that she struggled significantly emotionally, socially, and environmentally. All of these areas she expressed the desire to change. The client reported she was able to make some goals for herself, but could never follow through with any of them. The client reported that “Everything has gotten in the way”.
Some of the insights that I was able to elicit from the client were that she reported that she is alone, depressed, has no support, is medically fragile, stuck, trapped, and can’t move forward. She also reported that she is financially bound to others who do not care for her. I was able to realize she was overwhelmed with her whole situation. There is a definite feeling of emptiness. We discussed the wellness wheel, broke down what is most important to her, and established a few measurable short term goals. With powerful questioning, the client came up with small attainable steps. This created a positive turning point for her in the process.
I continue to learn from each and every person that I work with regarding the wellness wheel. It is important to remember that the things that I feel are important are not always what is important to the client. Each individual has a unique journey, and I need to respect that. It is not a cookie cutter approach. It is listening deeply, being fully present, demonstrating mindfulness and caring for the client. This is not easy, as I would love to give ideas and advice, set goals for them, and push them down the right path. I also have to make sure I am in a good place personally and professionally when I am working with an individual. It is about the client’s needs and not what I need.
I will continue to utilize the wellness wheel, as this is a powerful tool. The wellness wheel is a great place to start. It allows me to initiate conversations that lead to a more in-depth perspective of my client’s overall health and well-being. It is a great tool to use powerful questioning to help the client move forward. The wellness wheel helps the client see what is really going on, and to be able to take charge of their behaviors and issues.
In reflection, I feel that the wellness wheel brings together both the client and coach in a way that is beneficial and meaningful. It can create a powerful partnership and set the stage to empower the client for growth and movement within their life.