Hit A Career Wall? Use This Coaching Technique To Get Unstuck

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One of my clients was feeling stuck in his career. He was in his mid 30's and had been working as an employment lawyer for almost 10 years. But for the last four years, he had been dreaming about doing something else. Unfortunately, he had no idea what he wanted to do next and was afraid to make the wrong choice and waste more time in a job he wouldn't love.

When I asked him why he became a lawyer he said he did it because he thought it would be a good career path but admitted he didn't have a burning desire to be a lawyer. When I asked what other career paths he was considering he mentioned a few but immediately gave me reasons why it would be difficult to make a change.

I could sense in his voice that he was feeling down and was hesitant about his future prospects. He didn't seem to believe that it was possible for him to get what he wanted. His whole outlook on his career prospects seemed bleak. What was stopping him?


Every classic story has a hero, a victim, and a perpetrator as the main characters. The perpetrator causes all the problems, the victim suffers at the hands of the perpetrator, and the hero stops the perpetrator and saves the victim.

In the story of our lives, we play all three characters. Each character has a way of being and speaking that is distinct to each of us. For example, my perpetrator is the bad guy. He is mean and judgmental and constantly tells me that "I'm not good enough." My victim feels helpless and he says things like, "I can't do this" or I don't know what to do." My hero is confident and brave and walks around saying, "I got this" or "I can do this". During any given situation in my life, one of these characters is influencing how I feel, what I think, and what I say. The point is that I'm always coming from one of these empowering or disempowering perspectives. And by consciously choosing to come from a more powerful perspective I am able to make better decisions aligned with what I really want.

The way we see the problem is the problem
— Stephen Covey


In the case of my client, I could hear his perpetrator and victim loud and clear. All he could see were the challenges ahead of him which prevented him from taking any action. This left him trapped in his comfort zone of his old job even though he didn't want to be there anymore.

As his coach, I was also listening for the parts of his story where he embodied the Hero character. Even though he was struggling in the context of making a career change there were also moments in his life where he was decisive and had made bold moves just based on his intuition. Several years ago he had moved from Boston to Chicago without having a job lined up. He had just visited, loved the city, and felt it was important for his personal growth to leave his hometown and experience something new.

I asked him to tap into his Hero self again, the part of him that was able to make a bold decision without needing to have all the answers. When he did, his perspective shifted. Instead of seeing challenges, he saw what was possible if he started exploring a new career. He went from feeling scared that he would make a mistake to confident about being able to figure out his next steps.


As a coach, I'm trained to help people shift their perspectives so that they come from a more empowered place. I already know that the answers are within my clients. I just need to get them to a place where they can access those answers.

If you are feeling stuck, it is more than likely you are being influenced by your own Victim and Perpetrator. The trick is to be aware of what is going on and have the ability to step into the Hero role. It is easily one of the most effective coaching exercises I use to help my clients.

About the author

Mo Chanmugham, Esq., CPCC is a former attorney turned career coach and the founder of MGC Coaching. He helps ambitious professionals who are feeling stuck gain the clarity and confidence they need to create more fulfilling careers. To learn more about his services visit his site at www.mgccoaching.com