Coaching and Mentoring : Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Avoiding an Executive Career Train Wreck. The Observations of an Executive Coach

Widespread Malaise

1 in 2 Executives are in some way disillusioned about their current role

Those at highest risk are at a stage of life when their gearing is highest - typically 40’s

I’ve worked with more than 40 such Executives over recent years - earning $250-850k p.a.

The Common Features

A sense of ‘not being in control’ which is beginning to permeate their lives with the sense of being a ‘victim’

Doubt, diminishing self-worth and self-confidence creating a vicious circle with declining motivation and performance

Starting to ask ‘what’s the point of it all?’

Unwillingness to share true feelings with colleagues

A feeling of ‘running on empty’ 

Networking, external engagement, personal development largely shelved

Avoiding the train wreck with a little help

I have worked with many who faced these issues but have overcome the challenges with great success

They bear witness to the reality that there are ways to manage and succeed despite the threatened mid-career train wreck

What do these people have in common?

The Common Prerequisites

Firstly, they had the courage to admit they had a problem and act to do something about it

Secondly they engaged a qualified and objective professional to provide help

Thirdly, they acknowledged and shouldered the responsibility for their own career and life objectives

What were the common action points and outcomes?

Aspirations focus more on long term career goals, and the means to achieve them.

Real energy and commitment placed on learning and development of ‘soft’ skills 

Genuine leadership style based on encouraging the success of others

Passionate about the vision for their team/business/self

Deep understanding of their team’s interdependencies as a factor for success

Fostering a high trust and high engagement environment

What were the common features noticed from the outside?

These individuals had greater comfort in acknowledging ‘what they are, and what they are not’

Investment in personal development and coaching highly visible and the results self-evident

Engaged and built quality teams over time

Well externally networked; active on social media and greater life/work balance as they work more ‘on’ their business than ‘in’ it

High level of personal and team commitment, productivity and trustworthiness

The Secret Sauce - what they have in common

Energy, commitment, and a deep sense of meaning

But do not put at risk the important relationships and pursuits that nourish them

Emotional control, good perspective, and balance

Commitment to building and sustaining high performance in the long term

Where Are You?

If you are one of the many Executives who identify with the first group - there is hope!

The majority of those in the second group I have identified started where you are!

You need to take the courageous step of reaching out to someone independent whom you can trust to start the process of making sure your career doesn’t become just another train wreck!

About the Author

Phil Crenigan

Phil is Principal and Managing Director of Executive Turning Point, a leading Australian based Executive Coaching consultancy.

His background includes the Executive Recruitment industry, along with a successful senior corporate career including Global Customer Management Director for Guinness Worldwide and Managing Director of Guinness Australia; Sales Development Director for Diageo Ireland; and Sales Director, National Customers for Fosters Group.

Phil is active in the Arts and Community Service, serving as a Board Director for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and active in the annual St Vincent de Paul CEO Sleep out.

Phil is widely known and respected as a thought leader in the areas of Executive Coaching, Career and Life Coaching, Leadership and Performance Coaching, Team development and remediation, and has a particular passion for the alleviation of what he has termed the ‘mid-career train wreck’.

Phil can be contacted by email at or by phone on +61 400 366885

To find out more about Executive Turning Point go to

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