The Wellness Wheel

The Wellness Wheel

Wellness

Wellness.

More than ever before, we hear about this concept in the media, in conversations at Starbucks or on Zoom, and in our workplaces. Wellness is currently a hot topic, but what is Wellness?

When we think of Wellness, we often think of well-being, wholeness, and balanced health. We think of a self-awareness that causes us to be at peace with ourselves, the world around us, and a focus on health is that complete and holistic.

So how can we define “Wellness”?

“Wellness is a multi-dimensional state of being describing the existence of positive health in an individual as exemplified by quality of life and a sense of well-being.”

Charles B. Corbin of Arizona State University

I like to think of Wellness as an active process of living a fully engaged life at every level of being. It is becoming aware of, and then making healthy choices toward a healthier state of life.

The starting point for Wellness is empowerment and agency: the idea that personal growth, change and improvement, even incremental, is always possible. Being fully engaged and aware means that we continuously seek more insight about how we can grow and evolve.

Healthy choices involve considering a variety of options and selecting those in our best holistic interest. Success is determined by each individual, and is not so much a destination, but an ongoing journey. And like any journey, there are peaks and valleys, along with twists and turns.

Before we dive into the concept of The Wellness Wheel, let’s explore 3 basic thoughts:

1. Wellness Making Sense (and Dollars)!

According to recent research by the Government of Ontario, in “The Business Case for a Healthy Workplace”, the Government of Ontario summarized the following data around Organizational ROI for Workplace Well-being Programs:

  • BC Hydro has a wellness program that had been running for 10 years and they calculated that for every $1 spent on their organization’s wellness program, the company saved an estimated of $3,
  • Telus in British Columbia saved $3 for every $1 spent on corporate health initiatives,
  • Citibank calculated there was a $4.56 USD return for or every $1 USD the company spent on its comprehensive health program,
  • Coors Brewing Company calculated that their company saved a staggering $6.15 for every $1 spent on a fitness program,
  • The University of Michigan estimates a return of $ 1.5-2.5 USD for every $1 USD spent on workplace health programs,
  • Dupont estimated that for every $1 USD spent on a company health promotion program, the company ended up saving $2.05 USD on disability (Health and Safety Ontario, 2017).

2. Wellness Is Not Going Away

Health care spending and a focus on Wellness will only continue to grow:

  • According to Statista, in 2018, health care spending in the United States reached 16.9% of total GDP. 
  • Health care spending accounted for 12.2% of the GDP of Switzerland, 11.2% of the GDP of France, 11.2% of Germany, 11% of Sweden, 10.9% of Japan, 10.7% of Canada, 9.8% of the U.K., 9.3% of Australia, and 8.1% of South Korea.

3. Coaches Need to Coach Wellness to Properly Care for Their Clients

The time of being a one-dimensional coach focused only on coaching one thing is probably over, simply because Wellness is so pervasive. We cannot coach in a one-dimensional fashion because people are not one-dimensional.

People are complex and complicated, and often require a multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary approach to their healing, personal growth, and change.  In order to properly care for our clients, let’s pack the tool of Wellness packed into our toolkit.

With the explosion of the Wellness market, and the complexity of the issues facing our clients, coaching Wellness is a “must”.

Here is a simple process for Coaching Wellness using the concept of The Wellness Wheel…

In essence, The Wellness Wheel is a picture that describes the 8 Pillars of Life. Life is not one component, but many parts woven together, each one at a differing level of importance at different times. Understanding the different Pillars of The Wellness Wheel, and when to focus on one Pillar or another is critical to our success in coaching our clients. These are not listed in order of importance but are all inter-connected.

8 Pillars of Life
The 8 Pillars of Life

In coaching sessions, I will ask my client to Self-Assess, using this tool. On the image, using a scale of 0-5, I ask them to give themselves a score in terms of their Wellness in each area of life. With “5” representing consistent, abundant health, and “0” representing the opposite end of that spectrum, I ask them to represent themselves honestly and objectively, knowing that coaching is a safe space to do so.

The Wellness Wheel – The 8 Pillars of Life

1. Relational Wellness – How You Connect

Relational Wellness and how we connect with others is critical to our own sense of health and well-being. Several years ago, the UCLA did a study of people and discovered that we need between 8-10 meaningful touches per day to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Over and over again, research confirms that both our physical and mental health, along with our actual longevity, is connected to our relationships with others.  No wonder so many people feel like they are missing something!

Relational Wellness speaks to healthy conflict resolution, social intelligence, effective communication skills, and the capacity to be truly intimate.  It is also the ability to be alone and to be comfortable with that. As coaches, we focus on the Relational Wellness of our clients, and partner with them, using coaching tools and other teaching resources, to move towards healthy relationships.

2. Mental Wellness – What You Think

There can be no doubt that where the mind goes, the man or woman follows. We are what we think and become the product of the thoughts we consistently believe and embrace. Effective coaches work with clients down to the detail of their daily thought life and teach clients how to think healthy thoughts consistently which will empower and inspire them.

Coaches partner with clients to help them create a Mental Support System; a system of thoughts and beliefs which support them in their dreams and aspirations, rather than hinder them.

3. Emotional Wellness – How You Feel

Emotions are not so much thermostats, as they are thermometers. Our emotions are generally not primary, but secondary. They are not root causes in and of themselves, but often symptomatic of underlying issues. If I have an emotional challenge such as depression or discouragement or anxiety, it is often not the real issue but an indicator of a deeper issue. However, the way we feel has a huge impact on our level of motivation, actions, behaviours, and thus results.

Effective coaches take time to coach emotional management, emotional intelligence, time management, relaxation, and healthy thinking, which leads to healthy emotions.

4. Physical Wellness – How You Honour Your Temple

Our body is our temple.  It is our dwelling place and our home. We are responsible to take care of it, and to treat it with respect and tenderness. If we do this, we will generally have healthy outcomes which will enable us to lead a fruitful life. As effective coaches, we coach clients towards Physical Wellness, tackling issues such as regular sleep, healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and self-care.

5. Spiritual Wellness – Who You Are and What You Do (Values)

The best measure of your spirituality is not the church, mosque, temple or synagogue you frequent (or don’t). The best measure of your spirituality is how you treat others. It is walking with integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion. Respect. Kindness. Caring. Thoughtfulness. Gratitude. Having a healthy sense of purpose. Selflessness. It is also taking time for personal reflection, meditation or prayer.

As coaches we highlight the importance of values and spirituality – and encourage our clients to live integral to their own spirituality. We hold them accountable to authentic spirituality and treating people as they themselves long to be treated. As the Dalai Lama says:

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples or complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

6. Professional & Business Wellness – How You Perform

Professional Wellness is far more than the money you make or the title you hold.  It is a sense of living congruent and in alignment with your “LIFEFIT”: your unique combination of gifts, abilities, passion, education, training and life experience that makes “you”, you. It is being fully yourself and making money as you do, with efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity.

Effective coaches work with their clients around Professional & Business Wellness and High Performance, which is generally an outgrowth of healthy self-awareness and authenticity.

7. Financial Wellness – What You Have

Sometimes in our desire to be non-materialistic, we discount the importance of money and having things. However, there can be no doubt that Financial Wellness is an important part of our overall Wellness. The key is having the right definition of Financial Wellness. Financial Wellness is not a certain number of zeros in your bank account or driving a certain type of car. It is abundance. True abundance is having enough for you and for those you love, and also, being able to contribute to the needs of others.

Effective coaches work with their clients to weed out unhealthy habits of excessive debt and poor money management choices, and to promote healthy choices of quality stewardship, saving and investment, building assets, and planning for the future.

8. Community or Contribution Wellness – What You Give Back

In the end, none of us are independent and solo operators.  We all operate in and as part of community. Giving back to that community, along with receiving from, are critical. Truly, this is the circle of life. Listening to others moves us closer, and helps us become more whole, more healthy, and more holistic. Not listening creates fragmentation and disconnection, which is the root of suffering.

In essence, Wellness is a process in which you make decisions that will better your life.  There are several Pillars of Life to consider when we look at Wellness.  Wellness is more than feeling good and keeping disease out of your life. It is also the way that you approach each day, and what you are doing proactively to stay healthy in every way.

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love.  Live as if this is all there is.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

Wow! What a great motto for living and coaching! Coach Wellness. We cannot coach in a one-dimensional fashion because people are not one-dimensional. Pack the tool of Wellness into our toolkit. Use The Wellness Wheel to make coaching Wellness clear and simple.

Wellness Wheel
The Wellness Wheel

Abe Brown is an Entrepreneur, High-Performance Leadership Coach, Speaker, Executive, and Best-Selling Author.  He has been called the Coach’s Coach, and is the President of the Certified Coaches Federation, the President of Momentum Coaching, and the CEO of Wellness Innovate.  The Certified Coaches Federation has trained and certified over 14,000 Life and Executive Coaches in the last 14 years.  Abe does Leadership and Executive Coaching, and works with organizations around strategic planning, leadership and culture, workplace well-being, and cultivating fully engaged employees.  His mantra is to Live, Lead, Serve, and Matter.

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