Catherine Heilemann, the 202nd person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, helps business professionals negotiate salaries, raises and promotions.

So you might think that Catherine, who runs a consultancy called The Salary Coach, simply teaches people when and how to ask for money.

But as Catherine explained, there are some important steps you need to take well before you approach a negotiation.

For example, you need to take the time to build a brand within your organisation: people need to understand the problem you solve and the results you achieve.

Also, you can’t negotiate with an external party until you confront the internal story that exists in your head. “What if I ask for a promotion and get rejected? What if I ask for a raise and discover my boss doesn’t rate me as highly as I rate myself?” If you don’t find a way to overcome that fear and insecurity, you won’t be able to succeed in a negotiation.

Before she became a coach, Catherine had a very successful corporate career, with her favourite chapter at IBM. She got plenty of raises and promotions; but she also suffered painful setbacks where she didn’t get what she felt she deserved.

One of the lessons Catherine learned is that the person you’re actually negotiating with may be different from the person you think you’re negotiating with. For example, if you ask your boss for a raise, it’s natural to assume that’s who you’re negotiating with. But if your boss needs to sell your raise to their boss, you’re actually negotiating with your boss’s boss.

So you need to give your boss a reason to advocate on your behalf, and you need to give them the evidence and arguments they need to win that negotiation.

I have no doubt Catherine is a superb coach – and not just because she’s very smart and experienced. Catherine really cares and she asks great questions, which would allow her to uncover whatever internal story is floating around her clients’ heads.