Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Work/Life Balance Myth

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “I need help with work-life balance,” a beloved client said, after showing me pictures of her beautiful new baby. “Maybe I need better time management tools.” I looked at this new mother sitting in front of me. I would have to let her down gently. “You do know that work-life balance is a ...

Superpowers

Read all of my Seattle Times columns. “I want to assess my strengths and identify the best career for me,” a potential client told me on the phone. Career development doesn’t really work that way, I told her. “We definitely want to play to your strengths in your work,” I said. “You’ve been around for 30-some years – I bet ...

Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome is a common theme in my office. There’s no “cure,” but there’s no reason for it to hold you back. Here’s my Seattle Times column: The painfully funny thing about impostor syndrome. The Seattle Times, March 5, 2018 “I’m worried that I’m no good without my team,” a senior director told me. She was transitioning to a new role ...

Managing Your Manager

Read all my Seattle Times columns A beloved coaching client didn’t get promoted. He missed it by one vote. Unfortunately, it was his skip’s (his “skip level” — his boss’s boss) vote. “How do your other clients manage upwards?” he asked me, describing a pattern of cool and unhelpful relationships with his executive management over the course of his career. ...

Talking to Old Men

This is my January 15 column in The Seattle Times: Uncertain of your next step? Talk to your future self) I like this story because it shows how easy a useful question can be. A friend, spouse, sibling, parent, or passing skier can ask: “Best case and with a little luck, you’ll be an old man/woman someday. What does he/she want ...

Credibility

Who am I and how do I have the credibility to coach senior executives in industries I know nothing about? I put that question on a Powerpoint slide in front of a large group at Microsoft. I figured this question was on their minds. I like to get in front of difficult questions. In my coaching, I call them Dreadfuls ...

Handshakes and First Impressions

(The following is the script I prepared for an on-air interview on the KING5 New Day show. I guessed what questions the host would ask me (in bold) and wrote out — and memorized! — my answers.  Although I appear to be talking extemporaneously and confidently on the video, this script reads like a transcript.) Why is a handshake important? How ...

The Rabbit Hutch

Making that career transition is like finding a rabbit hutch. I was recently talking with my lovely neighbor. She had a friend over, a nice person I’ve met once or twice over the years. As the three of us were talking, I happened to mention the bunny drama unfolding in my backyard: I had just rescued a very small baby ...

The Bikini Mistake

This is a story about a mistake. That wasn’t. But it took a while to figure that out. At business school some 15 years ago, I competed in a business case competition. My idea was a woman’s swimsuit that didn’t reveal your crotch or the particular shape of your ass.  A swimsuit you could wear on a boat, for example, ...

Covert Rehearsal: Using Scripts

I often coach my clients around preparing for difficult or challenging questions — and was up at 6 a.m. this morning doing just that. I work with my clients on writing out the story they want to tell, then revising it until it is conversational and direct and focused. And then practicing it. I’ll often tell my clients, “Practice it ...

I Got It

“I got it.” That’s a nice email to see in my inbox. A coaching client has just landed a job doing work that matters to him at an organization you’ve heard of and respect. (It can be done.) “Thanks for everything you’ve done for me,” my client emailed. “I would have never have done what I needed to do to ...