Category Archives: Professional coaching

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 ...

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 ...