Happy Spot

A wildly flexible and adaptive exercise to look at underlying trends in the coachee’s life.

Easily adaptable to bring insights into decision-making.

#lifegoals #decisionmaking #stuck #pastpresentfuture

When does it work?

  • when the coachee feels that they’re stuck – that things aren’t getting better
  • help in making complex decisions
  • assessing progress


  • a large wall or whiteboard
  • Post-it notes of at least two different colours


Draw a red spot on a Post-it note and place it in the middle of the wall. That’s the Happy Spot – the ideal place where the coachee would want to be.

Look at all the contributing factors in the ecosystem of this issue. This could be

  • the attitudes of friends, colleagues, family
  • access to resources
  • the different factors that make up the ecosystem
  • different parts of the coachee’s life (in the example in the photo, I’m looking at different parts of my writing career)

Place a Post-it note IN THE SAME COLOUR to represent all those different aspects, as near to or as far away from the Happy Spot as the coachee rates their satisfaction with that aspect.

  • using different colour pens to show different categories can be useful

Take a step back and discuss with the coachee the layout. How much of the system is near the Happy Spot? Does that reflect the coachee’s feelings?

Next ask the coachee to consider their life 5 years ago. How did they feel then?

Take a pile of Post-it notes OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR and consider all the aspects that are already on the wall. Place a Post-it note in the new colour to represent how the coachee felt about the issue five years ago.

Again, take a step back and compare. Does the new colour have more or fewer notes near the Happy Spot?


  • consider how many of the notes could be moved. How much agency does the client have to move one of the notes closer to the Happy Spot?
  • is there an overall trend?
  • is there one thing holding back the progress of the other notes?

This game is easily adapted to decision making.

This time, have an imaginary line down the wall (or use a corner). Factors in the coachee’s decision are placed on the wall. Depending on how important a factor this is, place the Post-it note near to or as far away from the line.

  • to the left, negative factors (or reasons not to make that decision), to the right, positive ones
  • near to means ‘very important’, far away is ‘trivial’

Step back and analyse the number of factors on the wall.

  • what factors could the coachee change? Can the notes be moved?
  • does what the coachee sees represent their gut feelings? Why not?

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