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Get to Know Alison

Are you feeling like it’s time for change, but you’re not sure exactly what to do? Do you wish you could translate your years of experience into your own business, but don’t know how? Is your life or career somehow less fulfilling than it once was? Are you juggling too many commitments at work and at home, finding yourself out of balance, but you’re not sure exactly what’s wrong or how to fix it? I work with people who want something new to happen in their lives.


As a married mother of four, I have had a career as long as I’ve been a parent. I have also run my own businesses and hit the midlife wall when I wondered why I no longer felt inspired by "the plan" I thought I had to follow. That’s when I discovered that a skilled coach could help me change course and develop my own road map for happiness at work and at home.

Every time I received Alison's detailed “takeaways” after a session, I was deeply gratified to see in writing the degree to which she had heard me, and the ease with which she showed me my unconscious thought patterns."

          Executive Coach and Facilitator

How I Became a Coach

My Roots

A native of Berkeley, California, I also grew up in the Midwest before going to college in Boston. After earning my bachelor’s degree at Harvard College, I studied and traveled in Europe and Brazil for four years. When I returned to the U.S., I moved to Washington, D.C. to complete a master’s degree at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and earn postgraduate translation credentials at Georgetown University. Then I started a business translating from French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.


I left translation after almost two decades to study ontological coaching with the Newfield Network. I am a Newfield Certified Coach (NCC), and I am a Board Certified Coach (BCC) with the Center for Credentialing in Education (CCE). I am currently accredited by the International Coaching Federation as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC).


Twenty years as a translator made me an expert in cross-cultural transitions. I lived in four different countries for extended periods of time, and I have personally experienced culture shock, reverse culture shock, “going native,” and the struggle to find the path home again. I know how disorienting the process can be for people and relationships and what it feels like to be lost in transition from one culture to another. And, I also know how to make sense of these transitions and tap into the rich experiences that come from meeting these challenges.

My Turning Point

In 2010, after the deaths of both my parents in one year, I became a co-guardian and advocate for my older brother, who is developmentally disabled. My transition to this role began almost two decades ago, and now I am fully engaged in his life. It is a profoundly life-changing experience that has taught me how to lead as changing roles impact the family.


In my life, I’ve learned that building bridges -- whether between different cultures, businesses or relationships -- will test your limits and ultimately bring your own values, priorities, and commitments into clearer focus.

In many ways, coaching is a natural extension of my work as a translator. Like a translator, I help people find the words to convey the meaning of their “story.” As a coach, I lead my clients through a transformational process that frees them from the energy and emotions that are attached to what they have been believing about themselves, which then allows them to begin to see themselves differently. From this new place, they see new ways to act and new paths to take.

My Transformation

Before I hired a coach, I had become very unhappy at work, and I knew I had come to a place where I could not grow. It was taking its toll on me physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a result, I felt I was losing my footing personally too, and I was overwhelmed with negative feelings about my work and myself. Instead of pretending that everything was fine, I decided it was time to face some demons connected to perfectionism and not being good enough. When a friend suggested I try coaching, I wanted to see where it would take me. I wanted to feel better.


The results far exceeded my expectations. Coaching showed me how to find and act on the courage I needed to move forward. I felt I had a wise and compassionate advocate backing me up at all times, which energized me and inspired me to try new things and leave behind old behaviors that no longer served me. I learned that the key to good relationships, including the one with myself, was trust. And once I got that, I could find the answers I needed to change within myself. The experience was life-changing.

My Clients

I often work with aspiring entrepreneurs in mid-life who know the time has come to start their own business. Many times, they are professionals who no longer feel inspired by their careers and they want to do something on their own. Sometimes, they are stressed-out working parents who need a more flexible approach to work for their busy lives. And sometimes they are just people frustrated with their own status quo, dreaming of something bigger and better for themselves and their families.


In our work together, I help my clients get clear about their true priorities at work and at home. From there, we come up with a plan to integrate them better. As a result, most people report that they find more purpose and meaning in their lives, and they feel better about their choices.


My clients want deeper conversations about their challenges with someone they can trust. Whether for work or for their personal lives, they are in search of a place to think things through, talk things out, and get more clarity. Sometimes, they just need a non-judgmental witness, who also holds them accountable and cheers them on as they move from fear and paralysis to new actions and a life more fully lived.


Whether you are facing a challenge that involves building a business or transitioning from one life stage to another, I can help you make sense of the changes ahead and craft a plan that works for you.


I promise: nothing will be lost in translation.

Alison at a Glance:

Married mother of four


Business owner for more than 20 years


Newfield Certified Coach (NCC), Associate Certified Coach (ACC/ICF)


Professional translator, fluent in five languages


Alumna of Harvard College, The Johns Hopkins University/SAIS, and Georgetown University


Fitness freak and avid traveler

Alison's Approach

As an ontological coach, I work with you to build awareness of who you are “being” in challenges you face. What’s going on for you physically? What emotions are coming up? What conversations are you having or not having? Ontological coaching is a holistic practice that takes the “whole you” into consideration.


Based on our fact-finding process, we will determine what you are ready to do and create new practices and actions that you can actually implement.


For more information on coaching, go to my Essays page and click "My Approach To Coaching"

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


Newfield Network is a leading transformational learning organization. It provides courses in the areas of personal development, coach training, and professional development.

The International Coach Federation is the support network for professional coaches. ICF leads the global community in advancing the profession and promotes coaching’s creative and thought-provoking process to maximize professional and personal potential.

The Institute of Coaching is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the integrity and credibility of the field of coaching. By advancing coaching research, education, and practice, the Institute supports professional coaches and others who use coaching skill in their personal and professional lives.

Founded in 1924, the Arlington Chamber is a voluntary, nonprofit organization of hundreds of businesses and thousands of professional people who are committed to the economic prosperity and civic well being of the Arlington, VA community.

The COMMIT Foundation aims to create serendipity for men and women separating from the uniformed services and entering the professional civilian world.

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Enter your details to the right, and I will get back to you shortly. In our conversation, you can tell me what you want to change, and I will tell you how coaching can get you there.

Cell: 240-938-1701


Alison Carroll Coaching 2017