Category Archives: Coaching

Personality Assessment Hogwash

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. Prospective coaching clients sometimes ask me if I give personality assessments to help them determine their next steps in their careers. “Assessments are a bit like reading your horoscope,” I reply. “Fun, but not as helpful as maybe you’re hoping it will be for your career development.” Some coaches swear by assessments, but ...

Break Your Phone!

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I watched my phone slip through my fingers, flip in the air and land face down on the concrete. I knew it was going to be bad. The screen was shattered. A shard of glass stabbed my finger when I tried to swipe the screen. My phone spent a week in the shop. ...

Dog Farts

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “Ice cream makes dogs fart,” I told the little boy offering his ice-cream cone to my dog. Zilly and I were minding our own business, waiting for a friend at the park, when we were suddenly swarmed by ice-cream-eating 5-year-olds. At the word “fart,” the little kids erupted in a group belly laugh. ...

Not Personable?

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “I’m getting feedback that I’m not personable,” a beloved client told me. “I’m really focused on doing the work — and social chitchat seems like a waste of everyone’s time.” I looked at my client: a nice, kind man, a linear thinker, highly technical, high achieving. About five years into his career at ...

Thinking Time

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I looked at the hour blocked on my calendar with relief. “Thinking time,” the calendar event said. I left my phone and laptop in my office, and headed across Pioneer Square to my favorite coffee shop for a quiet, uninterrupted hour of, well, time to think. “When do you take the time to ...

The Squeaky Wheel

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “My daughter needs to ask her soccer coach for more playing time,” my friend said as we watched our girls at soccer practice. “She’ll never do it, though — it’s too scary.” I wish she would do it anyway. It’s good practice for her future career. A coaching client was talking about the ...

Corporate Kryptonite

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. Seemingly innocuous questions can be like kryptonite to a professional looking to transition into a new role or career. These are the landmine questions, the gotchas, the facile questions that cause you to stumble and lose confidence at events, happy hours, skip levels and networking coffees. I call them Dreadful Questions. Over the ...

Greek Soccer

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. Sometimes my coaching clients tell me they are scared to reach out to their network as they navigate a career transition. I tell them I don’t care. I mean, I care that they’re afraid, and that fear doesn’t get to slow them down. And I tell them the story of my 12-year-old daughter’s ...

Non-Slick Executive Presence

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “I don’t have executive presence,” a beloved coaching client told me. “I’m not slick.” This client, with 20 years’ experience in his highly technical field, was preparing for a round of interviews for an internal promotion. If he lands it, he will join his company’s executive ranks. “Tell me about your leadership style,” ...

The Doll in the Window

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. The little girl was looking in the window of Mighty Mouse Toys, pulling on her mom’s hand, pointing at the beautiful dolls. She was maybe 7 years old. “We can go in there,” her father told her, his tone harsh and mean and loud. “But if you ask for anything, you’ll get spanked.” ...

The $20,000 Ask

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. A beloved coaching client was looking to branch out to something new after 20 years in her field. And she wanted a shorter commute. “My commute’s an hour on a good day,” she told me. “Also, I’m going to need help with negotiating the offer,” she said. “I’m really nervous about that.” In ...

The Mobius Strip

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. How do you plan for your next role when you love where you are? “I love my job,” a new client told me as she sat down in my office. “I’ve done incredibly well in my career so far.” I waited for the “but.” She described high impact, meaningful, creative work with great ...

The Destruction of Ruminating

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. A beloved coaching client didn’t get the job she had worked so hard for. “I’m a failure,” she emailed me. “I am lost.” I checked in with her a week later and heard the same notes of sorrow and anguish and anger. “I’ll get over it soon, I promise,” she told me. “It’s ...

The Sweaty Sweater

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I was putting on makeup in my office, getting ready to go on TV, when I noticed sweat stains on my summer sweater. “Uh oh,” I thought to myself. I had less than an hour before showtime, and a decision to make: I could freak out and scramble to buy a new shirt, ...

Career Crossroads

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. How do you walk away from something you’ve spent your entire life preparing for? A beloved coaching client is a professional musician. He’s played since he was 3 years old, studied music in college, worked in orchestras his entire adult life. He has $80,000 worth of instruments in his music room. Several years ...