Coaching conversations can change your life

After years as a linguist, I knew I needed to make a change. I had become very unhappy at work, and it was taking its toll on me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was losing my confidence, second-guessing myself and struggling to stay on course. I see now that I was caught in my own hidden narrative, beaten down by the twin demons of perfectionism and never feeling “good enough.” A friend suggested I find a coach. I really wanted to feel better so I decided to see where it would take me.

The results far exceeded my expectations.

Coaching helped give me both the courage to move forward and the confidence to act in my own best interest. Knowing that I had an advocate in my corner energized and inspired me to try new things, and I started to outgrow old ways of handling situations and think in new ways.

My coach helped me find a new narrative for myself at work. As a lifelong student, I realized I could transform work as a source of frustration and self-sacrifice into a place of learning. I gave myself permission to explore new directions, and I stopped living in a zero-sum game that pitted my personal and family life against my professional commitments. It was exhilarating.

But before I could take charge of my life, I had to explore my emotions around work, parenting, marriage and my personal history. I had to be honest with myself about how they were driving me and influencing my choices.

The first book my coach suggested I read was The Four Agreements/A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. It helped me understand my own hidden narrative about what “agreements” I had unconsciously made with myself, and what I could do to end the performing/perfecting/ pleasing/proving routine (that’s Dr. Brene Brown’s phrase) that kept me stuck in unhappiness.

It was hard work, but I came to know myself better as a result. I learned to trust myself and honor my decisions. Finally, I set out on a new direction that was a much better fit and just what I needed to thrive. That seems like a lifetime ago, but I can truly say coaching changed my life.

Alison Carroll Executive Coach

Alison is remarkably effective at simply listening in an objective, dispassionate way, processing with you, and then reflecting back your thoughts in clear language, amplified and enhanced with perspective and experience. Her questions were always relevant, and she has an intuitive sense of where her client is and of what is important to address.

- US Navy officer and veteran