Coaching
From Spirit

A Conversation with Sharon Wilson
By John Milton Fogg

Up for a pop quiz? What comes to mind when I give you this URL: www.coach
ingfromspirit.com, and tell you that the lady's e-mail address is "joycoach@..."? Somebody walking around with a triangle on her head? "It's gettin' awfully woo-woo and airy-fairy 'round here"--right? Not exactly. Don't let the touchy-feely front fool you. Sharon Wilson is a master rubber-meets-the-road performance and productivity coach. She's just traded in MBO (Management By Objectives) for MYE (Managing Your Energy)--because it gets more, better and faster results. As it happens, it is also much more and better fun, as well as being a better, more wholesome and satisfying way to live.

Sharon did her time in corporate America as a high-powered business executive. Today, she's coaching her former colleagues (for $500 an hour and up!) on how to explode their businesses and income by activating the spiritual energy of their thoughts, feelings and actions. BTW, Sharon is my coach, and thus, I can attest to this from personal experience: "love and joy" works! --JMF

Sharon, what do you see happening with spirituality and business today?

Clearly the two have long been held as fragmented: there was spirituality, and there was business. Today, I see the two starting to come together. People are getting out of the box of seeing spirituality purely as religiosity, and are seeing it more as being conscious, in terms of how their being in the world impacts all aspects of their lives. It's no longer a matter of being one person at home, another person in church and still another person in business. I see a blending happening, which is very encouraging.

 

You have a unique perspective, in that you very successfully logged time in corporate America, and at a pretty high level. Now you work with corporate clients on "coaching from spirit." Are they coming to you specifically looking for a more spiritual dimension in business?

Often I'll see the head of the corporation, or a very senior executive, who is himself on a path of personal growth, reading spiritually related books and wondering, "How do I put this into place in our organization?" These people are already implementing the tools or processes from various philosophies or personal growth books, and are seeing this make positive changes in their own lives, help them see things in a new way and have different kinds of experiences. They want the same thing for their organizations, and simply don't know how to do that.

In some cases, the people who come to see me are simply looking for a way to help their people be more empowered. What we do is help people activate their ability to self-coach; we call it "connecting with your inner coach." This means learning skills that are going to make people more effective team players, whether in the organization or in their home--so companies can readily see the value of it.

It's similar to when "stress management" was the big thing in corporations; in the 80's, everybody wanted to do stress management. Now people are saying, "That was just one piece of the puzzle; now we need to look at an approach that brings it all together."

 

What sorts of things are your clients asking you for, practically speaking?

Whether I'm seeing an individual client, a CEO or senior executive representing a company, or I'm actually being brought in to consult to a company, it's the same thing: something is happening in their company or in their experience that they want to change. Whatever that "something" is--low employee morale, a low level of sales performance--there's something they want to accomplish.

Generally they already recognize that people's beliefs have an impact on their actions; they must have some sense that this connection exists since they've come to me thinking I may provide a solution. Or, they've just thrown up their hands and said, "We've tried everything else--what the heck, let's try this!"

Some programs we do are about selling from the heart, helping sales people learn how to be more authentic with their clients. The old paradigm of selling is still very prevalent for many sales people, making them feel inauthentic and handicapping their effectiveness. But whatever it is we work with--selling, customer service, employee morale--it is always about the clients wanting to better their organization, often in a very bottom-line way.

 

Seth Godin had a real impact on the world of business with "permission marketing." Are there other such approaches you see that are working in business today?

I think it is an overall shift: people are recognizing that the old paradigms, the ways we used to think, the accepted structures, systems and practices, simply aren't working. They want something else. They're saying, "There's got to be a better way."

Take permission-based marketing: that opened up a whole new perspective. People
started saying, "Oh, so we really can respect that there's a trust relationship being developed between the person selling something and the person who wants that something." And it's not just a superficial technique--"Okay, let's see, how do we build some trust..." where you have people walking in and saying, "Hey, how about those Yankees?" in that facile, inauthentic "rapport-building" mode that so many sales people have been taught.

People want more authenticity. People can feel it when someone is not authentic. And because they can feel it, it has a genuine, significant impact on the success of the organization.

Look at the trends in business today: you're seeing big corporations start to collaborate with each other. What's that about?! They used to be competitors--and now they're saying, "Hey, maybe it would be a good idea for us to join together."

I think it is a shifting of our consciousness as beings. When you look at such best-selling books as Conversations With God, and then look at what the popular business books are, you see that we're buying a lot of business books with a spiritual basis. They may call it all sorts of other things, but when you come right down to it, this genre of business books is all about the fact that we are all connected, that there is a possibility for us to all come together and connect in an even more powerful way, and that there are ways to conduct business from a place of integrity and collaboration, where all the individuals within the organization feel valued.

 

Do you have your own "personal favorites," things that have worked for you in business, that you want to see happening more in business?

The transformation of the whole idea of selling is one of my personal favorites. Many people still have a very negative perception about selling--even among those people actually responsible for selling. It feels like it's pushing, manipulating--like I'm trying to get you to buy something you don't really want, so here are all these little tricks that I'm going to play on you. This doesn't feel very good to anyone, including those who are doing the "manipulating."

 

You work with a lot of sales people; can you say more about spirituality and sales?

There is a trend of people coming to a place of more spirituality in their approach to selling. Not only is this a much more authentic approach, it is also more of a coaching conversation than a selling-focused conversation. It's a conversation in which I am trying to enter your world, so I can better understand how what I'm offering as a product or service might be of value to you--and in fact, so I can better understand whether or not we do have a match in the first place. How can I support you? How can I help you in moving toward what you want? How can we join together? It's a relationship-based approach to marketing.

Another change I see happening is that business has operated for a long time on the idea that we are all in competition. I see a lot more collaboration happening, at many levels in business today. We have a way to go before people say there's no such thing as competition, but we are genuinely starting to recognize that there is so much value to be gained in assisting others in getting more of what they want, and that we in turn get more of what we want.

 

With all you're seeing, in terms of more authentic selling and working collaboratively, what do you see happening in network marketing?

I am absolutely passionate about the idea that everyone in the world needs to be a coach--at least, a coach for themselves. I believe the world of business--really, the world overall--would be an incredibly transformed place if people were able to self-coach.

This comes back to the business of being more conscious about our relationships with ourselves, of how what we do is so strongly influenced by what we believe. It is a matter of looking at the inner and the outer, the yin and the yang, coming together. And I see that happening in more and more business organizations, where people are wanting to be trained in how to be more coach-like in their interactions with others--that's what comes to the fore, for example, when we're dealing with improving employee morale or building effective teams.

If more network marketers could activate that self-coaching ability in themselves, and assist others in their organization to do the same, it would have a huge impact on the business. I think that is one of the most important steps network marketers can take right now, along with transforming the experience of selling from one of inauthenticity to one of serving and establishing a relationship of genuine trust.

 

Considering all the different kinds of businesses you have been involved with and observed, would you say that network marketing is inherently more spiritual, or more open to the practice of spiritual values, than other forms of business?

When you look at the kind of people who are attracted to network marketing, my experience is that they are people who are more open. They're already sort of "outside the box" thinkers, looking for a better way. Network marketers tend to be people who are looking for opportunities to do things in a way that is going to give them a better sense of balance and a lifestyle not necessarily tied to the traditional 9-to-5 approach.

This sort of inquiry goes hand in hand with an inquiry into more spiritual values. People on this path tend to ask themselves, "How can
I incorporate this greater sense of spirituality into my life, and not just in that fragmented
way where I connect with these greater values only in church on Sundays or when I meditate in the morning? How do I incorporate this into
the moment-to-moment way I am being with myself and being with others?" This is a skill, I believe--a skill that takes conscious developing.

So yes, I do think network marketing provides a fertile ground for spirituality. That may be why you see more of an interest in these issues within network marketing circles. The concept of network marketing itself is all about creating an opportunity for collaboration, for win-wins, for everyone achieving their dreams.

 

Something that is important to you in all of your work comes under the heading, "managing your energy." What does that mean, and how does it apply to business and networking?

When I talk about managing your energy, it is the idea that our thoughts, feelings, words and actions have an associated electrical frequency. We have not conventionally thought that what is happening in our outer experience has anything whatsoever to do with where we are focusing our thoughts, or where our beliefs are. But there is a direct correlation between where I'm focusing the energy of my thoughts and beliefs and what happens in the world around me.

Often the most powerful beliefs will stem from our childhood. For example, perhaps I have the belief that "work is a struggle" because I saw that in my childhood. I may not say it or think I think it, but this unconscious belief is a powerful aspect of my energy, and I will recreate it in my actions; I am literally going to create experiences that cause this belief to show up as true for me.

You see it happening so often with people in network marketing or in other types of business. They have an activated belief that says, "Work has to be hard, it needs to be a struggle; it can't be easy," because they got that from their childhood. This belief sends out an electrical current, which connects with other people who have similar beliefs, and with other situations that match this belief. And we can't really change the kinds of circumstances that "happen to us," until we really look at them and say, "Okay, these are some of the beliefs I have activated, these are some of the electrical currents I'm sending out, and I want to change the electrical currents that are perpetuating the patterns."

Much of the issue in "managing our energy" is the fact that we were not taught from childhood that what we think, feel and believe has any impact on what shows up in our lives. Since we weren't taught this, it is now a skill we need to learn consciously.

On the other hand, when you do make that inner shift, it suddenly becomes easier for you to take actions that may have been uncomfortable for you before. If you identify some of these patterns, and then learn a process to better manage your energy around them--which is what we teach in our program--you now have congruency. Now you have a situation where the vision you long to create, you can now make into reality, because you are congruent in your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. All four need to come together in order for you to have what it is you desire.

 

Sharon, what do you see for the future? As we begin to incorporate more spiritual values and a more spiritual approach in networking, what do you think is going to be possible?

I am very excited about the future. I think this is a most exciting time to be alive, because we're seeing such opportunities to make choices about how we want to experience life, which includes business.

As more and more people become more conscious about the choices they're making, how they're managing their energy, how that relates to the communications they have with other people and to what is showing up in their lives, and as they start to recognize these correlations, they are going to feel an increasing sense of genuine power. They are not going to feel like victims. They are not going to feel that everything "out there" is out of their control, that there's nothing they can do about it.

It's not going to matter what's happening in the economy. It's not going to matter because we will recognize that as we are able to focus our energy, we can impact what is showing up for us. And no matter what is showing up for us, we will have a process with which to better see the value, to understand how to use it, to assist us in going to the next level. We will be coming from a place of compassion for ourselves and for each other.

I see that we are going to become so much more a people who are living a conscious life, who are having conscious businesses, who are going to be looking for the win-win and how we can serve each other. This feels so exciting to me--does it feel exciting to you?

 

[Laughs] Yes, it does. Anything else you'd like to add?

Let's begin creating that and not wait for other people. Let's not sit back and say, "Oh, yeah, it'll be a great life when those businesses out there really figure it out and start doing that...."

The only way this transformation can happen is by us, individually, starting within ourselves and within our own lives, recognizing that we really do have the ability to impact what is happening in our experience, and seeing the possibilities that suggests.

Let's start as individuals to become more conscious in everything we do--and then we will create a ripple effect through the many people we come into contact with. We will act as a catalyst for them in turn to become more conscious.

This means simply that you activate in yourself the sense that, "Yes, I'm ready to take responsibility for what shows up in my experience; I'm ready to better understand that there is a connection between how I am feeling on an inner level and what is showing up at the outer level."

When we begin to move forward as individuals, then those people who come into our experience are going to become more activated in that direction as well, because when we show up that way, we model that to others.

It starts with you!

 

 

Sharon Wilson, along with her long-time business partner Terri Levine of ComprehensiveCoachingU and Networking Times Editor-in-Chief John Milton Fogg, have created The Greatest Networker's Certified Network Marketing Coach Program, the first of its kind in the profession. You can learn more about the Certified Network Marketing Coach Program at: www.greatestnetworker.com/comunity/cnmc/