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How I coach:
Relentless Pragmatism and Deep Dark Magic.

The greatest tool we are given is awareness.  Whatever your situation, whatever your desire for change or exploration, increasing your level of awareness will help you untangle questions and obstacles and find a clear path.
 

Depending on the situation, I draw on a wide variety of tools and concepts from modern spiritual traditions and the latest developments in psychotherapy; as well as engineering and project management tools you already know, such as data gathering, metrics, milestones and one-pagers.  In other words, the specific "tools" I use come from the realms of Relentless Pragmatism and Deep Dark Magic, but whatever the tool we will use together, it will be in service of investigation and exploration, in other words -- increasing awareness.

Once you see your situation and yourself in it with more clarity, new possibilities and and action will become available to you, and allow you to navigate your way to a fulfilling, satisfying, and harmonious work life.

 

These are the basic ingredients, but each client is unique, and each session is unique.  The best way to understand the process is to give it a try, and see how it unfolds for you.

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William Santo, Principal Engineer

"Olia is a wonderful coach who can bring you out of your comfort zone and into space where you can critically assess your skills and areas of improvement. She does this by working with you to build out both your self-assessment tool kit as well as actionable plans to improve your leadership through team engagement, critical goal assessment, and upwards management activities. I truly enjoyed our experience together and Olia helped me build out my desired career path while improving my teams ability to deliver. I highly recommend her for anyone who is looking to take their leadership to the next level."

Work Bio

I was a software engineer for over two decades, and while I was good at the technology aspect of things, what always interested me most was the human side of things.  It was fascinating to me to see how people's feelings and emotions ran the show in meetings, even though everyone pretended to be completely objective and unbiased.  After the initial 10 years of my career, technology became pretty easy and straightforward to me, but people continued to fascinate and intrigue.  I took my "soft" skills very seriously, especially communication, cooperation and influence, and it was instrumental in growing my engineering effectiveness and career.

Then in 2013, while I was working at Google, I discovered a whole new world of "inner arts and sciences", a world of millennia-old and modern spiritual traditions, neuroscience, trauma-informed psychology and somatic therapies.  I was like Alice falling through the rabbit hole to an unknown land, land that was always there but completely unseen and unnoticed by me.

I took courses, meditated, went on retreats, and worked through a rigorous self-guided program that took over three years of several hours a day to complete.  I was like a heat-seeking missile following my internal guide to the next thing I needed in my quest for understanding and managing my mind.

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Meanwhile, I left Google and returned to Amazon as a Principal Engineer; ended a 17 year marriage; left Seattle and moved out to a small town on the Olympic Peninsula.  My inner work became my focus and priority in life, yet, somehow, my effectiveness at work was growing in leaps and bounds.  I organized and led the effort to move all of Amazon's Consumer business off relational databases and onto cloud-based key-value stores.  This project involved over 350 teams, several thousand different services and applications, and was significant enough to have made national news.  It felt like my ability to accomplish things was growing exponentially, and I attribute it directly to the work I was doing on myself.

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In 2019, I shared an Uber ride to the airport with one of the participants of the week-long retreat I attended, and as we were chatting, he told me he was an Executive Coach.  The proverbial light bulb went on in my head.  When I got back, I talked to my VP  and he agreed to pay for my training, and to let me spend part of my time coaching Principals and other senior leaders.  

I loved it, they found it extremely useful, and in early 2020 I switched to coaching at Amazon full time.  

In my 1-1 sessions there were a lot of recurring themes, so I started creating group classes that centered on a specific topic.  I initially started offering group coaching in order to be able to support more people (the demand for my coaching services far outpaced the supply), and while it helped with that, I was very happy to discover that group sessions offer their own kind of powerful transformational magic.  Now group classes and workshops are a very exciting part of my work.

In spring of 2023 I left Amazon and opened up a private coaching practice.  While I will always love working with my Amazonian clients, it is a lot of fun to be able to work with clients from other tech giants, small startups, self-employed and everything in between.

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