Being stuck is a position few of us like. We want something new but cannot let go of the old – old ideas, beliefs, habits, even thoughts. We are out of contact with our own genius. Sometimes we know we are stuck; sometimes we don’t. In both cases we have to do something.”   Inga Teekens

When life coaching, a key element involves identifying and addressing the client’s barriers to change. The following is a list of the 9 most common barriers I encounter:

Barrier 1 – A Lack of Clear Thinking

Symptoms include:

  • Wasting time
  • Repeating mistakes
  • Getting frustrated
  • Not being able to explain yourself clearly to people

 Barrier 2 – Not Taking Action

Symptoms include:

  • Not being organised
  • Not getting started
  • Procrastinating

Barrier 3 – Low Self-Esteem

Symptoms include:

  • Running self down, lacking confidence in own abilities
  • Limiting beliefs
  • Not taking risks…..saying “I can’t…..” “I’m not…..” I’m just a….”

Barrier 4 – A Warped Sense Of Value

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable making a lot more money
  • Not investing in your personal development
  • Feeling that someone else has got all the answers
  • Feeling that you’re not capable of standing on your own two feet

Barrier 5 – Loneliness or Isolation

Symptoms include:

  • Getting stuck on a personal/business/technical challenge
  • Feeling that you don’t have anyone to bounce an idea off
  • Feeling like you don’t have anyone who’s been through a similar experience that you can ask for advice.

Barrier 6 – Feeling Overwhelmed and Exhausted

Symptoms include:

  • Having no time – always playing catch up and immersed in urgent rather than the important matters
  • Feeling low on energy
  • Not having the resources to get the things done that you need to do

Barrier 7 – Belief and Self-Belief

Symptoms include:

  • Not being able to develop great goals and habits that breed success
  • Looking for other people’s advice and trying to find answers externally rather than internally
  • Overthinking at the expense of doing

Barrier 8 – Worrying About What Other People Think Of You

Symptoms include:

  • Imagining people voicing their disapproval or laughing at what you say or plan to do
  • Trying too hard to please others
  • Fear of failure

Barrier 9 – Perfectionism

Symptoms include:

  • Not using the 80/20 rule
  • Majoring on minor things
  • Failing to recognise and feel good what you have achieved

Diagnosis and Action

While common, the above are just possible barriers and potential root causes of what is blocking change and keeping someone  stuck.  Other possible barriers which could apply include (but are by no means limited to):

  • ‘Technical’ blocks (lack of skills, expertise, tools and techniques)
  • Living in the past or the future and not living in the present

The key of course is not just to identify barriers but  to decide which is the real weakest link that requires most attention and then coach the client to develop effective solutions.