I am in a group with six other business leaders. We meet once a month for 5-6 hours. The reason we meet regularly is that we all believe the opportunity to lean into each other, learn from each other, and have some dedicated space where we can discuss what’s working and what’s broken in our personal lives and our businesses is a net positive. It’s that simple and it’s great. Each month we invite a guest to join us. Usually, a gray hair who has been extraordinarily successful in business. We give this individual two hours of our time, half of which they use to tell us their story, and the other half we use to pepper them with questions. Nothing is off-limits. It is a gift.

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.