Every summer, I earn money by working with human resources professionals who are on the bubble.

Some of these women make it. Some find new work on their own. Some of them are asked to leave.

I try not to engage in Therapy-Lite®. My coaching focuses on deliverables and outcomes. But in reviewing my notes from the summer, I can see that I am asking three types of questions of my clients.


When was the last time you worked hard?
When was the last time you tried something new?
When was the last time you didn’t have an answer to something?
When was the last time you were quiet and listened when you did have an answer?
When was the last time you stopped trying to make something work that clearly isn’t working?
When was the last time you were scared to say something at work but said it, anyway?
When was the last time you told yourself the truth about your job?
When was the last time you made it about someone else?
When was the last time you took responsibility?
When was the last time you said yes?


What if your gut is wrong?
What if you tried it the other way?
What if you stopped trusting your instinct?
What if you apologized even if you don’t mean it?
What if you stopped listening to the inner monologue in your head?
What if you’re not as smart as you think you are?
What if you dropped that horrible attitude?
What if you said yes to things you hate?
What if you gave 60% instead of 110%?
What if you were fired tomorrow?


How can you fix this?
How do you solve this problem?
How can we help you feel better?
How do you repair relationships?
How do we make sure this specific thing never happens again?
How can we find you the resources you need to be successful?
How can you leave with dignity and respect?
How does this end?

Sometimes these questions lead us to bigger discussions about how to manage the crazy complexities of the modern HR department. Sometimes these questions are pointless and barely scratch the surface of dysfunctional work environments.

There are no right answers, and I don’t have the patience for navel gazing.

Are you struggling at work? Do you wonder if the job is the right job for you? Do you wonder when your boss will find out that you’re not working as hard as you can work? I thought it might be helpful to share these questions and discussion topics with you.

Do you want to talk about the performance of your human resources department? Coaching is no joke. These are real lives. And sometimes having the right person in the right job is a humbling experience. Drop me an email if you want to chat. I’m not always available to coach during the conference season, but I might be able to help on the side.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.


  1. After 15 years in the trenches, and wondering if I do have enough energy to keep on keeping on, these are great questions to start answering to myself. Yes, I’m tired, want a sabbatical, but recent challenges dictate otherwise.

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