Why Many Middle to Senior Executives Miss Out on Big Career Opportunities

Image of a coaching session between an executive and her coach.

Why Many Middle to Senior Executives Miss Out on Big Career Opportunities

The shocking truth about why most middle to senior executives end up stuck or stagnant in their careers.

It’s a tale as old as time – you’ve reached mid-career, put in the long hours and hard work, but those big promotions keep slipping through your fingers. Worse still, you’re not even sure if you want them anymore, and you’re left feeling stuck in a rut. 

What’s truly disheartening is that many executives only realize this late in their careers. Time and time again in my coaching work, they lament not adopting better practices earlier on in their professional journeys. 

The reality is, as middle to senior executives, we all dream of climbing the corporate ladder and achieving unparalleled success. However, a great number of us will miss out on game-changing career opportunities due to falling into certain traps. In this article, we’ll uncover three of the most prevalent traps that ensnare middle to senior executives and offer insights on how to steer clear of them.

Image showing an informal meeting between executives in office relaxation area

Trap #1: Lack of Intentional PowerBase

Ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? While it’s a popular phrase, many people fail to put it into practice. Early in your career, knowledge is crucial, but as you climb the corporate ladder, your connections become increasingly important.  

One common trap I’ve noticed while working with clients and throughout my own career is a lack of intentionality in building relationships. Many assume that hard work alone will ensure success, but in reality, cultivating a power base to support your ambitions is just as vital.  

Power and influence are the keys to unlocking success in the corporate world. By building a strong power base, executives can access a wealth of opportunities and career growth. However, many professionals miss the mark when it comes to harnessing their influence, often due to misconceptions about what a power base truly entails.  

Forget the notion that it’s all about dominating leadership or cunning tactics – creating a power base is actually centered around fostering relationships, crafting a solid personal brand, and effectively promoting your ideas. It’s about earning respect and recognition in your industry, becoming a voice that matters, and making impactful decisions. Neglecting to establish this power base can leave executives in the shadows, missing out on big career opportunities when they arise. So the first trap is not having an intentionally built and maintained powerbase.

Actionable Tip: 

Transform your network by strategically connecting with people within and beyond your organization. Make your voice heard in your industry through speaking engagements, insightful articles, or lively discussions on professional platforms like LinkedIn. Expand your influence and showcase your expertise, making it easier for big career opportunities to find you.

Trap #2: Lack of Clarity of Career Ambition

“Clarity is essential. Knowing exactly what you want builds your self-confidence immeasurably.” – Brian Tracy 

Picture this: a talented executive, stuck in a career rut, just going with the flow. Sound familiar? It’s a trap I’ve seen all too often. 

Unclear career ambitions are a major stumbling block. It’s tough to spot and grab hold of the right opportunities without a clear goal in mind. Many execs get cozy in their current positions, neglecting to think about their career trajectory. Consequently, golden opportunities pass them by. 

So, how do you gain that clarity? It takes some soul-searching and forward-thinking. Map out your career goals, chart the steps to reach them, and align your actions to make it happen.

Actionable Tip:

Have you ever stumbled upon the concept of Ikigai? It’s a Japanese concept that combines your passion, mission, profession, and vocation to help you uncover your life’s purpose and ultimately, elevate your career.  Leverage it to get clarity on what you want for your career and you should consider carrying out the exercise yearly as you grow in time and experience.

Image of a woman looking through leaves depicting the idea of having clarity as an executive.

Trap #3: Missing Out on the Power of Mentorship and Coaching

“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life” -John Wooden 

Throughout my coaching journey, I’ve realized the immense value of having a trusted ally with an unbiased, bird’s-eye view. Coaching and mentoring empower executives with fresh insights and perspectives, ultimately accelerating their career trajectories. 

Interestingly, over a third of my executive coaching clients admit they’re first-timers and wish they had started sooner. Trap #3 – Failing to recognize the need to have coaches and mentors to support you in reaching your career goals. 

Many professionals underestimate the game-changing potential of mentorship and coaching. These relationships can spark career transformations, while going it alone may lead to slower progress and missed opportunities. 

With their wealth of experience, mentors can offer invaluable insights, help you traverse the murky waters of office politics, and provide growth-inducing feedback. Coaches, meanwhile, can hone your skills, give objective advice, and nudge you out of your comfort zone.

Actionable Tip: 

Connect with mentors in your organization or industry, and think about investing in a specialized coach to sharpen your skills and career strategies. By doing so, you’ll gain valuable insights, avoid common pitfalls, and maximize your potential for success in landing those big career opportunities.

Your Next Steps…

In this article, we’re diving into three major pitfalls that might be holding you back from seizing those big career opportunities as an executive.


Our goal is to help middle to senior executives, like the ones I adore working with, understand the importance of dodging these traps to truly maximize their potential.  

So, how do you sidestep these pitfalls and grab those game-changing career opportunities? It all comes down to being proactive: strengthen your power base, gain clarity on your aspirations, and seek guidance from mentors and coaches. Sure, it requires effort and clever planning, but the rewards – a fulfilling and ever-growing career – are totally worth it. 

First off, pinpoint the areas where you need to take immediate action and get cracking.  

If you’re craving a bit more advice or guidance on tackling this effectively, feel free to book a complimentary 30-minute call with me, so I can help you identify the smartest steps forward for your unique situation. 

Whether or not you choose to book a call, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of my ebook above and start building your power base today. Your future self will thank you!

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