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 ...

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., ...

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 ...

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 ...

Managing the Micromanager

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “My CEO is micromanaging me,” a beloved client told me. She’s a vice president at a local start up. “He’s constantly in my business. I’ll wake up in the morning with half a dozen emails from him.” “What are you doing about it?” I asked her. “I tell him that he has to ...

Spiderwoman

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. Sometimes I feel like Spiderwoman when I walk in the city. Leaving work one afternoon, I saw a woman catch a heel on a curb and sprawl down the sidewalk. Spiderwoman ran to her, helped her up, brushed her off, picked up her cracked phone. We shared a shaky laugh. Spiderwoman didn’t want ...