How is your Rickter Scale?

How is your Rickter Scale?
Daniel Cochlin, The Journal. Originally published August 2005

A small plastic board has become one of the most unique and effective ways of encouraging people to improve their lives. Daniel Cochlin found out how.

L-R icNewcastle Daniel Cochlin with Rick Hutchinson

L-R icNewcastle Daniel Cochlin with Rick Hutchinson

In an age where self-help books, lifestyle gurus and feng shui are all the rage, any newfangled product which claims to give people a helping hand in life is often viewed with suspicion. But a North East firm has come up with a new entry on the market which they claim is the best and most unique method of dealing with people’s problems.

The Rickter Scale is a coloured chart with ten categories – including employment, relationships and happiness – each numbered one to ten. Clients are then asked how they grade each topic, and their answers are talked through by experts. The Scale, designed by North due Rick Hutchinson and Keith Stead 13 years ago, allows people to discover their own aims and aspirations without being told what they are. And the model seems to be working. There are now 8500 practitioners in the UK, 78% of Connexions branches use the scale with jobseekers and Keith has just opened a sister company in Australia.

That said, I have to admit to misgivings about baring my soul to a total stranger on personal issues just using a plastic chart.

Rick explained the Rickter Scale’s effectiveness:

“It works because it is people’s own responses which are evaluated and they begin to realise what their own goals are”

This turned out to be true.

Even in a busy Durham café, I found myself staring at the board and opening up to Rick without a hint of embarrassment.

Rick then took me back through the answers and asked if there were times in my life when the numbers were higher or lower – which for almost all there were – and what number I wanted each one to be. Through some more gentle coaxing, I suddenly realised the board had mapped out where I see my life going – and had thrown up some goals I had not realised I was striving for.

Rick told me:

“With a client, I would then ask a series of more detailed questions on the aspects they were concerned about, and then offer support such as offering doctor’s appointments or careers advice. My conclusion about you is that I can see how far you have came in recent years and your values, and how your happiness is affected by factors like work, money and relationships. Money isn’t a huge issue for you – it’s important, but not as much as happiness or friendships – and it seems that humour is a big part of your day to day life and a way of dealing with problems.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.