Category Archives: Professional coaching

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 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, ...

Interviews Are Not Therapy Sessions

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I was at a party, half listening to a guy talk about an upcoming interview. “I’m just going to be myself,” he said confidently. “I’m going to show them the good and the bad.” He’s a newly minted lawyer with no work experience. He’s never had an interview for a professional role. I ...

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., ...

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 ...

Double Black Diamond

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I often tell my coaching clients to stop thinking. “Thinking is all bad,” I say. “You’ll just think about why it won’t work.” This comes up with clients working on a career transition. Clients who are dreaming about doing something new. Maybe something risky. I often tell these clients a ski story that ...

The Salary Negotiation Game

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. In my coaching practice, I see experienced, seasoned professionals fall apart when they negotiate their salary. It’s like they’re afraid of losing a game of poker. I try to make the negotiations less about playing a cutthroat game, and more about developing a business case. “Ack! I have a phone screen,” a new ...