Don't interrupt! A coaching client was hesitant to talk with me about something. It was the last topic on her agenda for our coaching session. We nearly didn’t get to it. “My new direct report seems like he’s primed to fight with me,” she finally told me. “He’s pretty aggressive with his opinions, pedantic even. He interrupts me and restates what I just said.” This client, recognized as a superstar in her organization, is brand-new to management. This is her first direct…
New job, new boundaries A career coaching client was facing a dilemma: Her manager had a last-minute meeting request, but she needed to get her child to a medical appointment. What’s worse was that my client, a senior manager at a small tech startup, had just started this job. We talked about how these early weeks are a great time to set — and defend! — boundaries with new colleagues. After all, it won’t be easier later, once precedents are set and expectations normalize.…
Problem solving rather than reacting One of my coaching client’s CEO never showed for a meeting. As the afternoon ticked away, my client watched the clock and seethed. He felt disrespected and unimportant. He was too busy being angry and anxious to get much else done that day. “I tend to do that,” he told me. “I focus on the negative outcomes and it takes up a lot of space in my brain. I want the inverse of that feeling.” We talked through how he…
Networking: How to ask for help Sometimes the hardest part of looking for a new job is asking for help. A coaching client was describing a networking coffee that went nowhere. “I wouldn’t want the manager to say, ‘Oh, I know you, so I’m giving you an interview,” he said. “I’m not looking for a handout.” He wasn’t actually my coaching client. I occasionally mentor new coaches, listen to a recording of their coaching sessions, and offer them feedback on their coaching skills. I wrote in my…
Impostor Syndrome strikes again A CNN reporter emailed asking whether she could interview me about impostor syndrome. My first thought was: “I don’t know anything about impostor syndrome!” Which is, of course, a great example of impostor syndrome — that panicky feeling that you’re a fraud, that you’re faking it (and that CNN is going to find out!). In my executive coaching practice, I’ve found that, paradoxically, impostor syndrome tends to intensify as you become more senior and expert in your work. “I call it…
How to say no As I wrote last week, I’ve started fostering puppies. A potential new owner of one of my foster puppies recently asked me whether I could keep the puppy for an additional two weeks while she went to a wedding. “No! I’m not your dog sitter!” I yelled. On the inside. Saying no can be tough for us conflict-averse folks, both at work and in the rest of our lives. Fortunately, there’s a blueprint for delivering a gracious, relationship-building “No!” Dr. William Ury’s…
A meaningful life “I have discovered my purpose in life,” I wrote on my social media. “Fostering puppies!” I was joking, of course. Well, mostly. I began my puppy fostering career just a week before sitting down to write this column. The two small, shivering little creatures arrived from Texas and my house — and heart — will never be the same. Within 10 minutes of arriving in our lives, the 8-week-old puppies were romping about. They had just endured a 48-hour road…
Executive presence My career coaching client wanted to talk about executive presence. “My boss told me that I giggled in a meeting with the executive team,” she said. “He told me I needed to work on my executive presence.” I almost giggled at the thought. This woman sitting in my office is a senior director at a large organization. I couldn’t really imagine her “giggling.” Laughing, yes. Belly laughing and chuckling, yes. Even snickering. But not giggling. “So what is executive presence?”…
Ducking loneliness “I’m lonely,” my career coaching client told me. “I feel like I’ve been working so hard and raising kids, and now I’m looking around and wondering where everyone is.” I know the feeling. For the first time in some 15 years, I can go do — something! anything! — without planning around child care. But what to do and with whom? “Finding new friends, and reviving old friendships, is a lot like networking for a new job — or dating,…
How to choose a coach A career coach can help you make tremendous leaps forward in your career, but it can be overwhelming to decide whom to work with. Here are five considerations to keep in mind as you choose. Credentials. Coaching is not a regulated profession. You’ll find a wide range of quality among those claiming to be experts — in fact, anyone can put up a website and call themselves a coach. A credential through an organization such as the International Coaching Federation at least…
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