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 ...

Negotiating This Side of Crazy

Read my archive of Seattle Times Explore columns. My new housecleaner looked at me with dismay. And not because of the drifts of cat fur. We had just walked through my house and she offered a reasonable price to clean my bathrooms and floors. I happily accepted. That’s when she’d looked at me with dismay: I had accepted her first ...

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 ...

Don’t Be That Guy

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I was heating up my lunch when my husband stormed into the kitchen. “Don’t be that guy!” he exclaimed. I looked at the leftover salmon steaming in the microwave. “You’re right, I’m that guy,” I laughed. “Sorry!” We were referring to “that guy” who doesn’t realize that he is filling the shared office ...

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 ...

Care and Feeding of Confidence

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. I received an email from a father asking me if I would be willing to meet with his two daughters, ages 14 and 21. He was hoping I could share “general life lessons” on focus, hard work, grit or any other points to become successful in life, like self-confidence and coming out of ...

Titles Matter!

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “They offered me an analyst title,” a coaching client told me. “Do you think titles matter?” She looked at me funny as I started spluttering. “The hiring manager told me not to focus on the title,” she said. “The role itself is great — a dream job. But I feel disappointed about the ...

Small Gestures

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “What’s the peppermint mocha?” I asked a beloved client. He looked at me blankly. He was describing workplace conflict and hostility with another team. “They just sit there and obstruct,” he told me. “We need to get the work done, and they throw up endless roadblocks.” I gave him the peppermint-mocha backstory. “I ...

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 ...

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. ...