5 Coaching Questions To Use When Clients Feel Stuck

Kassandra Vaughn
3 min readNov 26, 2023

Have you ever found yourself in a coaching session with a client and, no matter what you ask or how you attempt to guide the conversation, the only question your coaching client comes back with is “I don’t know…”?

Or you have a coaching client who’s set goals, designed action and, yet, week after week, is making zero progress?

And, as this person’s coach, you long to find a way to help your client get beyond the stuckness… but nothing you’re trying works.

What, as a coach, do you do?

You ask the questions that will do 3 things at once:

1. Create psychological safety.

When a client feels stuck, they’re in a space of feeling unsafe. Whether they feel unsafe because of life, another person or themselves, the being stuck is equivalent to the ‘freeze’ response in the flight-fright-freeze-fawn response. Rather than trying to attack the ‘freeze’ response head on, it’s important to create an environment for your client where the client feels safe to be where they are (stuck), safe to explore why they’re in this space, and safe enough to move out of feeling stuck in their own time and way.

2. Explore uncertainty.

When a client feels stuck, it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. In a stuck place, everything feels murky and unclear. One of the best ways to help a client get unstuck comes in supporting the client to explore the uncertainty that comes with not knowing what to do next and feeling fear at the idea of taking a step in a new direction. When a client makes it okay to not be sure (and also okay to explore the uncertainty), the stuckness begins to loosen up.

3. Embrace possibilities.

When a client feels stuck, very little feels open, available and possible. Helping a client get unstuck requires being able to see, explore and embrace opportunities. From a stuck place, a coach has the opportunity to help a client uncover possibilities they have not seen, even if they don’t yet feel ready to do anything with those possibilities.

And you might be asking “Well, how do I do that?”

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Kassandra Vaughn

* Mindset Coach | Author | Soon-to-be Therapist * On a mission to help women 30 and above rebuild their self-worth & reclaim their power.