A Coaching Model Created by Stefan Lachmann
(Learn Coaching, GERMANY)
Keep the balance in life!
1 The background and scope
Coaching literature provides a tremendous amount of categorisations on the so called ‘areas of life’ of a human being. The idea is generally the same, i.e. to cluster the client’s goals and to keep focus on a specific topic or niche during the coaching sessions.
The Mind Map in Figure 1 shows an example of four clusters by popular coaches.
The Life-Equilibrium Model (LEM) follows a similar approach. It describes areas of life to provide orientation for the coach and client during the coaching session. Nonetheless, the coaching model goes one step further: The Life-Equilibrium Model itself follows the goal to visualize the degree of the client’s balance between the areas of life – and doing this constantly during his or her entire life.
Rather than starting each coaching session from the very beginning, the Life-Equilibrium Model supports identifying drawbacks and / or imbalances consciously and to tackle those through a coaching on the client’s own initiative. Hence, the Life-Equilibrium Model is a constant companion on the journey of life; allowing self-reflection with the aim to keep balance in life.
2 The purpose
The purpose of the Life-Equilibrium Model is to provide a kind of ‘map’ for the client to visualize potentially complex coaching topics in regards to the mechanics of life, the areas of life and the individual elements of life in a simple way.
In addition, the Life-Equilibrium Model shall become a constant companion for people to allow a conscious self-reflection on the degree of balance in his or her life. The model thereby shall create an awareness of potential imbalances and allow the person to get engaged with a coach to mitigate such challenges.
Thus, the Life-Equilibrium Model shall help unfolding a human being with pleasure and passion by keeping balance and harmony in life.
3 The areas of application
The Life-Equilibrium Model can be used as an introduction into a coaching session. In this regard, the model can initially serve as a guide to identify the area to work on; just like the models do mentioned in Figure 1.
In addition, the Life-Equilibrium Model is used as a trigger for self-reflection. The symbol of a ‘snowflake’ (see Chapter 4) serves as a visual anchor that supports people in their self-reflection and to identify possible drawbacks and / or imbalances. The awareness of such deviations may trigger the desire for positive changes that can be addressed in a coaching journey.
Finally, the Life-Equilibrium Model offers a structure for people’s own life in order to visualize complex relationships in their life on the map (the snowflake) and to get engaged in establishing a balance again.
4 The composition
In a nutshell: The Life-Equilibrium Model consists of three axis with six poles divided in two perspectives of the world. The shape of a snowflake serves as an analogy to visualize the
Life-Equilibrium Model and is therefore used as a symbol.
The Life-Equilibrium Model is described in the following chapters.
4.1 Three axis: The mechanics of life
The mechanics of life consist of three components:
In our journey of life these three components are essential. If we ignore at least one of these components, we would risk getting off the road and establishing an imbalance in our life. It is just like in the following metaphor:
Life is like a journey. Imagine the journey of a ship: The ship needs to be robust and requires proper equipment. Hence, it must be continuously maintained in order to be seaworthy at all times (health). In addition, the ship requires a power unit so that it can start its journey. The shape of the power unit is irrelevant, i.e. it does not matter whether it is a sailing boat or a motor ship – as long as it has power to move on (motivation). Finally, the ship requires as destination for its journey. The destination does not necessarily have to be a different port or an island – it may simply be a discovery mission as well. In any case, the ship needs to set a course and follow it in order to achieve its destiny (direction).
A human being is like a ship and requires the same components on his or her journey. The three axes therefore describe the mechanics of life, i.e. the components necessary to survive.
4.2 Six Pole: Areas of life
Each of the three axes described has two poles. These poles are not to be understood as extreme opposites, i.e. they are not contrary. Instead, the two respective poles are interdependent (see Chapter 18.104.22.168). The poles are understood as the ‘Areas of life’ in the
Life-Equilibrium model and are associated to the axes as followed:
Axis: Health Poles: ‘Body’ and ‘Soul’
Axis: Motivation Poles: ‘Belongings’ and ‘Values’
Axis: Direction Poles: ‘Private Life’ and ‘Professional Life’
Figure 3 shows the allocation of poles to the axis. Afterwards, the areas of life are described in a bit more detail.
The area of life ‘Soul’ includes all aspects of mental health. This includes all areas of perception, feelings and emotions, mental health, such as a strong memory, as well as the response to experience and memories.
Drawbacks in this area of life include e.g. traumas, fears, financial worries, guilt, etc.
The area of life ‘Body’ includes all aspects of physical health. These include, among others, all aspects of fitness and nutrition, body care and wellness activities as well as the healthy functioning of the body.
Drawbacks in this area of life include, e.g. obesity, tooth grinding, allergies, physical stress, etc.
The area of life ‘Values’ deals with all aspects of personal attitudes. It therefore involves the individual hierarchy of values and follows-up on the question: What is important in the individuals’ life and what is stimulating him or her?
Powerful questions therefore can be: What provides you with joy? Who is important in your life? What stimulates you best?
Drawbacks in this area of life can arise through behaviours that are not consistent with the inner values of the client, such as ignoring a person he or she really loves, or to deal with things the client does not like etc.
The area of life ‘Belongings’ includes all material objects that someone owns.
Examples include a house, a car, furniture, a wristwatch, comic collections or simply money, with which the individual can buy something in life.
Drawbacks in this area of life include debts and financial constraints, i.e. the lack of financial resources to afford things that someone would like to own.
The area of life ‘Private Life’ includes all aspects that are outside of the professional life.
This includes, e.g. family, sports activities, hobbies, friends and all kinds of recreational activities.
Drawbacks in this area of life include, e.g. problems in the family or with friends and lack of time for the own hobby.
The area of life ‘Professional Life’ covers all aspects of professional development.
This includes, among others trainings, continuing education, relationships with colleagues and career opportunities.
Drawbacks in this area of life include the undesired unemployment, stagnation on the career ladder, the lack of training and an inadequate salary.
Every area of life is affected by various elements, which can be represented in the individual Life-Equilibrium Model. This creates an individual ‘map’ for each human being which enables self-reflection. Just like in a Mind Map, the elements of life are scattered around its according area of life. Figure 4 shows an example.
The elements of life may simply represent the current area of interest of someones’ life or elements to keep focus on for his or her own development.
4.3 Two worlds: Perspectives of life
The six areas of life of the Life-Equilibrium Model can be divided into two worlds: the ‘inner world’ (perspective of how I see myself), and the ‘outside world’ (perspective of how people see me). The inner world consists of ‘Soul’, ‘Values’ and ‘Private Life’, and the outside world consists of ‘Body’, ‘Belongings’ and ‘Professional Life’.
In this context, the ‘inner world’ means that the areas totally focus on the individual whereas the ‘outside world’ is more strongly influenced by the social environment. For example, it would be easier for a person to drive a small car, as the person may consider it just being a commodity only (‘values’). However, colleagues in a company may laugh at the person as it may not be a proper status symbol. Hence, it is not uncommon that people drive a reputable limousine instead (‘belongings’). In this example, the motivational axis is imbalanced.
Although the two worlds are less important for the functioning of the Life-Equilibrium Model, they still allow an additional perspective for working with this coaching model.
Figure 5 shows the completed Life-Equilibrium Model. In the centre of the model is a kind of sun that symbolizes the ‘solar plexus’. Inside the ‘solar plexus’, the term ‘Qi’ [Chi] is located which refers to the energy of life. This will be described further in the following chapter.
5 Coaching application