Are you feeling stuck? How coaching can help

One of the most common reasons people seek coaching is because they are feeling stuck. This sense of stuckness can be experienced as a minor discomfort or a major discombobulation! Stuckness comes in many forms – perhaps there is a barrier or blockage to attaining a goal, perhaps you feel trapped in a situation, perhaps you are stuck in a repeating pattern or perhaps there is a sense of stagnation where you are keeping the status quo out of apathy, comfort or even fear of the unknown. 


Coaches often face clients who are stuck so are well versed in how to get you unstuck. To take away some of the mystery involved, this is one coach’s approach to getting their clients unstuck.

First, the coach asks you which of the above forms of stuckness you are experiencing and explores with you what might be behind your sense of stuckness. Depending on the driver, the approach may differ.

Here are four common drivers that can make you feel stuck and how coaching can help you get beyond these.

1. Patterns of unhelpful thinking

Unhelpful thinking is something we all do from time to time but sometimes it can take over and become really stifling, locking us into an unhealthy negative cycle. There are many patterns of unhelpful thinking – some examples are catastrophising, over-generalising, jumping to conclusions, “should” statements or self-limiting beliefs. 

Coaching can help you identify this thinking by reflecting back on what you are saying and highlighting any assumptions you might be making. Examining the narrative of your inner voice is key here and together you might seek evidence to support or refute any unhelpful claims. This process can help a new more realistic and helpful perspective to emerge. Techniques from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help reframe what you see, hear and interpret so that your thinking becomes an enabler rather than a blocker.

2. Your perspective is too narrow or unclear

Widening your perspective is useful to view a situation differently. This can involve expanding the view to consider all the stakeholders of a situation. Merely discussing a situation with someone removed and neutral can help gain a new perspective. Coaches will often encourage your own self-examination – looking at the same situation with a different focus – wearing a different hat or sitting in the shoes of a different player – even role-playing can change your own view dramatically. 

If clarity of perspective is the central issue, often reconnecting with your core values and beliefs can help you figure out the best next step. A lack of clarity can often manifest as an inability to make a decision. Most coaches are equipped with decision-making tools which can prompt several different ways of viewing the same decision and often this involves expanding out the options. 

3. Lack of resources

Sometimes we believe a goal is unachievable due to a lack of resources. Coaching can help you to look again at this lack of resources and see whether another approach is possible. Coaching can generate creative thinking so you see a different pathway to your goal. Simply breaking a goal into smaller achievable steps can help you move forward.

4. Natural process

Sometimes being stuck is a phase, so is a very natural part of a life transition. Understanding where you are in a natural life cycle might help you understand your feeling of stuckness and normalise what you are experiencing. 

So there are many ways a coach can help – by facilitating self-discovery, changing your perspective or even injecting some dynamism or creativity into your thinking.

Much of what makes coaching a success is the space it gives you to think through your own situation. Merely articulating your situation to another can be enough to get you to see it differently. Coaches offer a safe space for you to focus on your situation. They listen deeply to what you are saying and often reflect back on what they hear. The whole process prompts personal reflection, and a concentrated focus and holds you accountable for the part you are playing in the stuckness.

If you are getting support but still feel stuck then remember not every coach will fit your needs – so make sure you identify a coach that is the right fit for you. Most coaches will offer a free no obligation chemistry meeting upfront for you to sense whether you are a good fit or not. I would urge you to try this.

As a coach, I find it hugely rewarding when clients shift from a state of inertia to one of pure dynamism. So if you are stuck, don’t lose hope, give coaching a try. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15
Written by Tessa Dodwell, (BSc in Psychology, MA in Coaching and mentoring)
Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15

Tessa has held several coaching roles over the last 10 years and now has her own business. Tessa gains immense satisfaction from supporting individuals to maximise their potential and is an expert in major life transformations when many people experience this sense of stuckness.

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