by Matt Thomas

Recently, I sat down with a new coaching client for a kickoff session. He is at the helm of a 10million organization, young forties, with an impressive track record of growth and expansion. A few hours into our meeting he started to open up about the loneliness he feels at the top of his organization. I asked him to speak to the strength of his relationships outside of work. He shared, admirably, about the bond he and his wife have and described her as his best friend. I asked him a follow-up question, “other than your wife, who really knows you?” Crickets. Unfortunately, the response, and reality, are not unique to my friend.

An HBR study in 2012 found that “half of CEOs report experiencing feelings of loneliness in their role, and of this group, 61 percent believe it hinders their performance.