Category Archives: Life Coaching

Weaponized Empathy

Read my archive of Seattle Times Explore columns. A coaching client told me about a painful interaction with her manager. Her vice president told her: “I am stunned that, at your level, you don’t know the basics of your job.” And my client, a director with years of experience at some of the largest companies in the region, immediately began ...

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Read my archive of Seattle Times Explore columns. A new coaching client lashed out at me. Tears in her eyes, she spat out how much she hates her job, how stuck she feels, how unhappy. She snapped at the irrelevance of some question I had asked. I didn’t mind. I’ve been there. I get it. This client is highly trained ...

What’s Your 2019 Word?

Read my archive of Seattle Times Explore columns. A coaching client told me about getting angry at work. He was petulant with his manager and almost walked out of the meeting, he said. “If you could have a mulligan on that meeting, how would you handle it differently?” I asked him. He stumbled around, trying to come up with an ...

Manipulation and Flattery

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. Managing upward is about manipulation and flattery. But not in a bad way. “Why does my manager ask my opinion if he’s just going to disregard it?” a coaching client wondered out loud. “I’m tempted to just keep my ideas to myself from now on. Why should I bother speaking up if he’s ...

Yes, Feedback Hurts

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I had to take a dose of my own medicine recently. I tell my coaching clients that critical feedback is a gift, an opportunity for growth, insight into a potential blindspot. Yeah, whatever. It also feels like a kick to the stomach. I recently gave a talk on confidence and “impostor syndrome,” topics ...

What Are Your Career Goals?

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I collect dreadful questions. I’ve got six so far. These are the seemingly easy questions you know you’re going to get over a networking coffee, in a job interview and in the elevator up to your office. These are not questions you want to stumble over. Having good, true answers to the Six ...

The Commute

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I used to commute to Redmond to a job I loved. But I can still feel the trapped frustration of sitting on the 520 bridge in the dark winter afternoon, rain streaking down the windshield, red brake lights as far as I could see. Just sitting, waiting, my youth ticking by. “What would ...

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. ...

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 ...

Sleep as a Career Strategy

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “I am so burned out,” my coaching client told me, her head in her hands. “I am so unmotivated. I’m really struggling to juggle my work and my family.” “Tell me about your sleep,” I answered. I recently read “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,” by Matthew Walker, Ph.D., ...

The Dirty Dishes

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. Sometimes a simple question can change your life. Or at least your dirty dishes. As a coach, I’m interested in how questions can reframe a problem. When I teach my clients how to coach others in their life — to ask those good questions — I often tell an allegorical story about my ...

Decision Fatigue

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “I need to work on work/life balance,” said a coaching client, stretched thin between a big job and family commitments. “I am so overwhelmed.” “How many decisions do you make every day?” I asked her. She looked at me blankly, unable to begin to quantify an answer. “What if we strategize about how ...

Prepping for Cocktail Parties

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. Having a good story changes everything. I’ve been working with a lovely coaching client for a couple of months. She’s a senior professional working on a job search and, ancillarily, on confidence and presence. She’s been through the wringer this year, both personally and professionally, and was a little shaky when she first ...

Money and Ambition

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “How ambitious are you?” I asked. That’s one of my favorite coaching topics. Talking about a client’s ambition exposes a potential Catch-22 of social expectation and censure. On the one hand, it can seem somehow unseemly (for women, particularly) to be ambitious. At the same time, there is all kinds of pressure to ...