Life Coaching Skills to Achieve a Balanced Life: Try These Exercises Recommended by Professional Life Coaches
Many people enter life coaching programs desiring greater life balance. Clients often express a yearning to pursue personal goals or enjoy more family time but feel stymied because of work demands and other responsibilities. Life coaches work with these clients to assess their current life balance status, help them set goals, and motivate them to take action. While there are many benefits to being part of a life coaching program, these exercises can be practiced without the services of a life coach.
Two Life Coaching Tools to Assess Life Balance
Chicago Life coaches use many methods to gauge life balance status. Two common tools are the life balance wheel and the time tracking diary. The life balance wheel is a circle divided into eight wedges representing common life areas such as career, relationships, finances, hobbies, etc. Consideration is given to how much attention is devoted to each life area. The spokes of the wheel are numbered from 0-10, with 0 being at the center of the wheel and 10 placed at the outer edge. Dots are placed on the appropriate numbers, with 0 representing no attention and 10 representing a great deal of attention. When all areas have been assessed, the dots are connected to provide an image reflective of the current life balance status.
The time tracking diary is a tracking system where all activities are recorded over a specified number of days. The amount of time spent in each activity is recorded, and at the end of the predetermined time period the total time spent in each activity is tallied. This provides a clear picture of how time is spent. Many people are surprised to see how much time is spent engaged in time wasters such as internet surfing or watching television.
Visualize a Balanced Life
To visualize balance in life, relax and imagine an ideally balanced day. Feel the sense of ease and deep satisfaction. Picture the ideal work and home environments, a stress-free commute, and fulfilling leisure activities. Feel the emotions, and experience the sensory images. When the image is clear and feels real, go through the exercise again, this time writing down all the details and feelings. Be as specific as possible.
Set Life Balance Goals
To set goals that will help improve life balance, begin by reading through the balanced day exercise and compare it to the time tracking diary and life balance wheel used for the initial assessment. What needs to change to live that ideal day? Make a list of things that are not in alignment with the vision, such as chaotic mornings before work or evenings spent in volunteer activities. Don’t worry about how to make the changes yet, just write down everything that comes up.
When the list feels complete, choose 2-3 items from the list and use these as a focus. Select something that is achievable in a relatively short time to build momentum. Be clear and specific, writing each goal as if it were already accomplished, such as, “I play guitar for an hour every evening after work.”
Create an Action Plan for a Balanced Life
Life coaches recommend breaking goals down into specific, actionable measures. Think about the necessary steps to make the goal a reality. Using the example of playing guitar for an hour each evening, one possible action step might be cooking in large quantities on the weekend so meals can be microwaved during the week.
Depending on personal circumstances, other action steps to find an hour to play guitar after work might include cutting back on television viewing or hiring help for cleaning and yard work. Perform the action steps, and when a goal has been met, practice the new routine for a few weeks until it is a firmly established habit. Choose new goals at a comfortable pace.
Life Coaching Skills to Maintain Life Balance
When a client participates in a life coaching program, they learn that maintaining a balanced life is an ongoing process. Skills are introduced to help clients stay on track.
Some of the more helpful tools for maintaining life balance include living mindfully, journaling, and reassessing life balance with the life balance wheel or time tracking diary every few months. Libraries and the internet are packed with resources for those who need help with time management, organization, and other topics helpful in achieving and maintaining a more balanced life.
While a little imbalance in life is inevitable, it is possible to live with greater ease and less stress by practicing life coaching skills. By taking the time to assess life balance, visualizing a balanced life, creating an action plan to achieve life balance goals, and using the right tools, even those without a personal life coach can make confident strides towards a more balanced life.