There’s no work you and home you: just whole you

May 20, 2021 - 12 min read
Meet BetterUp's Whole Person Model

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Understand the ingredients for your success

Why and how a Whole Person approach helps you thrive

You're not alone — the creeping feeling that everything in our personal and professional lives is becoming more intertwined is indeed valid. Even before the pandemic, the lines between work and home were blurring, and creating balance was something many of us were struggling with daily

While fostering a clear separation between our working and personal time is a must for our sanity and well-being, dividing ourselves into two distinct personalities and identities — work self and personal self — can actually hold us back from success in the workplace.  

There's a variety of reasons we may wish to moderate how we show up at work — cultural norms, workplace dynamics, personal backgrounds, or even fear of appearing out of line with others. But despite our best efforts, come work time, we simply can't just turn off the traits that influence how we build and maintain relationships, relate to others, or deal with our emotions.

In fact, by obscuring from our workplaces the fundamental ways we think and act, we actually limit our ability to lead, collaborate, and inspire others. Research shows1 that when we bring our whole selves to work every day — all the good stuff that makes us us — we're more creative and perform better. But how do we identify and cultivate the right mindsets and behaviors that will positively contribute to this success?

BetterUp data2 shows that there are key behaviors and mindsets from other areas of our lives that lead to improved and sustained performance given we have the individualized support to improve them. Whether it’s focus, self-awareness, or strategic planning, you can use our Whole Person Model (WPM) to help you better understand your specific areas of strength and opportunities for growth to inform a roadmap to success through coaching and personalized support. 

Let’s take a closer look at how the Whole Person Model works and how it can help you in your personal and professional life.

Understand the ingredients for your success

If you've ever taken a traditional leadership assessment or attended a corresponding one-off company-wide training, you've probably noticed that their broad scope creates a gap in addressing your needs. More often than not, these approaches to leadership development focus on general skills that we're told will drive our success at work, like listening, empathy, and persuasion. While these qualities are important, they aren’t exhaustive, nor do they account for the personal and complex drivers of what influences us daily.  

When we show up at work, we bring our complete selves, not just our work selves, so it's essential to make investments in thriving behaviors like rest and emotional regulation, too, which are proven to impact how we lead and interact with others and the quality of our work.

Take rest, for example — it's not typically measured on assessments, but it plays an important role in our success. Studies show that 40% of people in corporate jobs get less than 6 hours of sleep a night and that even missing one night of sleep leads to decreased innovation. 

Rest is just one of many thriving examples that illustrate how an investment in our home lives can impact us at work.

BetterUp has gathered billions of data points from others like you to help us understand the behaviors that lead to thriving as a person and inspiring as a leader.


Our Whole Person Model was developed by a team of 8 PhDs and 3 MAs with expertise in psychology and leadership, drawing from literature in management science, organizational psychology, and positive psychology. In addition, the WPM was reviewed by members of BetterUp’s Science Board — including the father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, PhD

Most assessments and training only address just one facet of your work, but BetterUp’s Whole Person Model (WPM) and Assessment help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of your strengths and areas for growth in your personal and professional life. The WPM was specifically designed to reflect behaviors that:

  • We can change
  • Directly or indirectly impact others, and 
  • Are linked to individual well-being, effective performance, collaboration, and leadership

BetterUp’s Whole Person Model accounts for mindsets, behaviors, and outcomes that drive your success at work.


The Whole Person Model has three core components:

  1. Mindsets - which are goals, beliefs, and emotions that motivate us to achieve an optimal state of working (e.g., growth mindset, optimism, self-awareness).  
  2. Behaviors - which help enable us to act on our full potential. Starting from a place of strength, we can focus on building and improving behaviors that are lacking. Behaviors fall under two categories:
    • Thriving Behaviors - investments across our personal and work life that support our thriving across cognitive, emotional, social, and physical dimensions (e.g., rest, focus, strategic planning, and emotional regulation).
    • Inspiring Behaviors - these help us to empower others to perform at their best, whether you’re a manager or not (e.g., motivating others, guiding others, and including others).
  1. Outcomes - the beneficial results that come from positive mindsets and behaviors (e.g., resilience, productivity, performance, engagement, job satisfaction).

Rather than uncovering static, fixed qualities, the WPM helps you receive and act upon regular pulse insights that you can use to drive long-lasting behavior change.

Why and how a Whole Person approach helps you thrive

The Whole Person Model is all about you. Your results are personalized and ensure that your corresponding developmental journey focuses on supporting your individual goals. With the results of your WPM Assessment, BetterUp Coaches will work to help you identify, understand, and own your strengths so you feel empowered to reach your full potential.

Here's how it works:

Assessments that help you understand your strengths 

Getting started with BetterUp means first taking the Whole Person Assessment. This 15-20 minute exercise is an engaging way to help measure your key mindsets, behaviors, and outcomes while boosting awareness of strengths and opportunities for further development. 

From the information that you share in your Whole Person Assessment, BetterUp personalizes your experience with unique Coach match suggestions (with 97% accuracy), content aligned to your needs and goals, and various coaching engagements to meet you where you’re at.

Don't worry, we'll never share your personal data with anyone, not even your employer. Your company will only have access to aggregated data, which helps them understand the impact and growth of BetterUp at your organization. This insight is key for your leaders to further invest in ways to support your growth and development.

"My results woke me up. My lowest scores were in self-compassion, resilience, and authenticity. I realized that I spent so much time prioritizing my ‘corporate skills’ that I neglected some of my most ‘human skills’ … and it was affecting how I show up both at work and at home”

BetterUp Member

Seamless onramp to coaching

The Whole Person Assessment provides a jumping-off point for the coaching relationship. The personalized results help you and your Coach customize learning and set focused goals with a plan for growth and development — whether it's to increase focus, strengthen communication skills, learn to manage stress, and more. You decide what’s most important to your needs and work to set an actionable path to accomplishing your goals.

"Amazing first session! Already unpacking actionable steps to reach my goals!”

BetterUp Member

Helpful ways to sustain your progress

Unlike other assessments or one-off training, the Whole Person Model is continuous and evolving, which provides you with opportunities to check in and adapt to your goals along the coaching journey.

Track progress on your goals and even loop in your manager when necessary.

Periodic assessments occur every four months to help you track progress over time, and 360° feedback allows you to gather the necessary input you need from your colleagues, direct reports, or supervisors on key leadership behaviors that you’re working toward improving.

"Picture me, week over week, working to become a more patient, calm, clear, understanding, wise version of myself in partnership with my Coach.”

BetterUp Member

Unlock your potential

Whether you’re looking to be more productive and resilient, lead thriving teams, feel a stronger sense of belonging and inclusion, or be a more effective leader, understanding how you show up in all aspects of your life plays a significant role in achieving those goals. Learn more about how an assessment paired with coaching and personalized support can help you find your focus, know your purpose, and live with confidence.

1 Debebe & Reinert, 2014; Wright & Cropanzano, 2000
BetterUp Labs member data, 2021languishing-webinar-cta

Published May 20, 2021

Adam Wood

Sr. Content Marketing Manager

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