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The Short Version: When Coach Sharon Coldwell works with emerging leaders in corporate environments, one topic comes up over and over again: relationships. If a marriage or dating life isn’t satisfying and supportive, those problems can quickly spill into other parts of life, including your career. But often people address their situations by identifying and working on one problem area, while the real issues are more complicated and spread out. By working through issues on a holistic level, Sharon offers her clients a path to reduce stress and find joy in all areas of life.
A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry illuminated the myth of the ideal employee. It was created during the days of male-dominated workplaces, when full-time workers were completely committed to their organizations and had few responsibilities outside of their jobs.
Societal pressure fed that mentality for decades, but, today, that model has become outdated.
Modern executives — male or female — are looking for a healthy work-life balance, but even at the heart of the most progressive corporations and businesses, the ideal employee myth still lingers.
So it’s no surprise that stress is at an all-time high. Beyond the concept of the “time famine” — feeling like there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything — the unrealistic expectations of many bosses make it a challenge for workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance. We’re always available via texts, phone, or emails — but not necessarily to the people we want to connect with during our time off.
When that is the case, our health — and relationships — can begin to suffer.
Coach Sharon Coldwell understands the battle so many corporate executives and employees face. She works with emerging leaders in the workplace and has discovered that, as their stress levels rise at work, they frequently experience problems in their relationships — and vice versa. After all, if there is a problem in one area of your life, chances are it will manifest itself in another area.
“If their marriage is falling apart, whether or not they’re in a corporate environment, I coach them on repairing the relationship,” said Sharon, the Founder of Freedom J. Consulting. “We coach the whole person. Clients may start talking about their job, but it ends up being about personal issues. You are who you are — no matter where you go.”
Sharon’s coaching work started about six years ago when her career had stalled, and she was thinking about taking a different path. She attended a networking event for a women’s league with a speaker who was a personal coach. The woman asked the crowd, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“I’ve heard that question a million times, but for some reason, on that day, I heard in my head: ‘Doing exactly what you’re doing now,'” she said. “It was very clear and took me by surprise. I didn’t even know exactly what a coach did. I approached her, and ultimately, I ended up working with her. That decision changed the trajectory of my life.”
She worked with the coach for six months, then decided to enroll in a comprehensive coach training and certification program with the Coaches Training Institute (CTI.)
The extensive training helped Sharon develop the skills she needed to help others — and herself.
“After my training, I told my husband that, even if I never officially coached a person, the training was completely worth it because it was an investment in my own personal development,” she said. “I thought I knew everything about myself, that I had figured it all out. But, my goodness, there was so much more to learn.”
Sharon said the journey never ends because there’s always more to learn about both yourself and other people. And she continues to learn about her clients and her field, seeking out emerging knowledge in the field of coaching and self-assessment.
Sharon works privately in one-on-one sessions, as well as in the corporate sector with her program for emerging leaders. She works with clients throughout Canada and the US, meeting remotely over the phone or via Skype. She typically meets with clients every week — or a few times a month — in 45-minute sessions.
“It’s all about their life journey and wanting to be more fully present in everything they do. We work on communication, relationships, public speaking, dating, and marriage,” she said.
“People tend to think dates or relationships come to them, but I think we need to take a more active role in creating that life for ourselves.” — Coach Sharon Coldwell
The clients she coaches who are part of the corporate world often talk less about stress at work and more about what’s going on in their personal life, she said. It’s fairly common that people who are successful at work find that their personal lives can be challenging.
“People tend to think dates or relationships come to them, but I think we need to take a more active role in creating that life for ourselves,” she said. “They will wonder, ‘Why isn’t it happening?’ or they’re meeting the wrong people. There’s a lot we can do about who we are and what we attract. When I can help people with that, it’s incredibly rewarding.”
Many clients come to Sharon for help with developing better communication skills. For instance, a client may detail an argument they had that they’ve been wrestling with, and she’ll encourage them to view it from the outside. She’ll often do some role-playing, as well, since people tend to communicate differently with her.
“Ultimately, everyone just wants to be heard,” she said.
Another issue she sees frequently is a lack of confidence, which seems odd for people who have very successful careers. Often, it is the negative self-talk and doubt that can be a major hindrance in their lives, she said.
“It’s rewarding when they feel more empowered at the end of our coaching journey together,” she said. “Even the way they communicate is more powerful when they recognize the sabotaging words and the negative self-talk that we carry around. It’s the story we’ve told ourselves our entire lives, and then we realize that it’s not real. I help clients develop strategies to quiet that voice and get out of their own way.”
Since she already works with clients from throughout North America and beyond, Sharon is planning to shift some of her efforts into writing articles on issues that will help an even wider audience.
“I come across people all the time — particularly women — who are struggling to find the right person. I remember feeling that way myself for a very long time,” she said. “It wasn’t until I made some very significant changes in how I approached things, and my perceptions, that things turned around for me in my journey. Experience is a great teacher.”
She is also currently working with fellow coaches and wellness practitioners to plan more group coaching activities, similar to her successful Attracting the Relationship You Deserve event.
“I appreciate people opening up and trusting me with their issues, and I support them in any way I can,” she said. “To help someone else be happier, more successful, and have a shift in perspective, there’s nothing like it. It’s incredibly rewarding.”