Wheels of fortune

A fun and simple conversation starter that can help you to reflect on many different things. You can use it to discuss:

  • life goals
  • career goals
  • personal priorities
  • relationships

#lifegoals #stuck #career 

How does it work?

It’s ideally a game for two people, but you can adapt it freely – be playful!

One person sets up a scenario using toy cars (or pictures of cars, or pieces of paper with cars on, or anything that could be used to represent a car… whatever. Imagination lies at the heart of playful coaching).

The other person asks them a series of questions, designed to tease out thoughts about their goals and priorities.

What do I need?

  • a number of toy cars (6-8), as different as possible
  • a table

The game

Each car is going to represent one aspect of the scenario. Let’s imagine that one of you – we’ll call her Jane – wants to reflect on her life goals. Jane might choose these cars:

  • a limousine could represent wealth
  • a pick-up truck – work
  • off-road 4-wheel drive – fun
  • estate car – family
  • camper van – relationships
  • racing car – exercise
  • sports car – status
  • Police car – moral or ethical position
  • Lady Penelope Pink Rolls-Royce (top of the picture!) – the fantasy life that Jane wants to lead…

Let Jane choose the cars herself and take time to discuss what the cars represent, and in what way – this can be a wonderful insight into her thinking and her attitudes.

The table becomes the race track and Jane places each car on the table to represent her current satisfaction level – to the left for low, to the right for high (assuming the cars are driving left to right!).

Further cars are added according to the needs of the game. 

Be playful!

Questions, questions, questions

The key to this exercise is listening. In most conversations, we listen in order to respond – but not in coaching conversations. Try instead to listen deeper -listen in order to understand.

If you’re the one asking the questions, be patient. Leave silences. Don’t assume. Don’t project your own wishes and values.


Why? Because experience shows that ‘why?’ causes people to get defensive, to put up barriers, and to get confrontational. ‘How?’, ‘what?’, ‘where?’ and ‘when?’ are your friends.

Ninja level questioning means avoiding any question that starts with a verb. ‘Can you…?’, ‘do you…?’, ‘have you…?’ questions can be answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’, which rarely moves the conversation on. ‘How?’, ‘what?’, ‘where?’ and ‘when?’ questions need a sentence to be answered.

Try these questions, in this order, to start the conversation. Try not to interrupt Jane, and especially don’t try to insert your own opinions or anecdotes!

  1. look at the layout of the cars. What strikes you?
  2. what was in your mind as you placed them?
  3. where would you like the cars to be?
  4. tell me more about… (pick one of the cars)
  5. which car would you like to turbocharge?!
  6. what would change if you did that?
  7. which car would you most like to move?
  8. what’s getting in the way of moving it?
  9. when are you going to start moving that cars?
  10. what’s the smallest action you can take to start moving that car?

Other thoughts

  • what in this scenario is in Jane’s control?
  • can she influence what she can’t control?
  • which car does Jane want to win right now?
  • what did the race track look like 5 years ago?
  • what would Jane want it to look like in 5 years’ time?
  • is Jane actually the driver of each car? Is there any car in which she feels like she’s the passenger?