How Coaching Changed My Life—and Can Change Yours

by Alex Gill

Ten years ago, I was living two lives.

My outward life, the one my family, friends, and colleagues saw every day, seemed to be going pretty well.

I had been out of graduate school for only four years but was already the communications director for a large and respected nonprofit. The team I led was made up ofsmart, committed people who were a joy to work with. I managed a sizeable budget and was able to do very creative things as part of my work. We created advertising, awards shows, and glitzy events. We implemented some of the first e—commerce websites in the nonprofit sector. We changed how the organization marketed itself and how it listened to its supporters. I was one of the organization's media spokespersons and regularly appeared in newspapers, on the radio, and on TV To top it off, I had just gotten married and was looking forward to building my professional and personal life.

To an outside observer, this was the latest chapter in an upbeat story. A person from a modest background gets a good education and rises quickly to a senior position, with many more steps yet to climb. Recruiters were already calling to talk with me about new, more senior jobs at other organizations. The sky—it seemed—was the limit.

There was only one problem.

In my inner life, that few people saw, I was deeply unhappy.

At the end of the workday, I would linger in my corner office over a pile of paper that never seemed to get smaller. The work ...

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