April 29, 2019 • By Jessie Yount
Showleh Tolbert, EMBA ’96, was searching for her next path.
Already, her journey had taken her from a career in finance, to a business degree from the UCI Paul Merage School of Business, to leadership roles in the nonprofit sector.
But a few years into one job, at the International Society for Children with Cancer, she realized that her personal attachments to the job were overwhelming, and she was no longer able to produce results effectively –– and she’s all about end-results.
The way forward started to come into focus when, one day, she stumbled upon a couple and exchanged words in passing. Tolbert admired the way they carried themselves with confidence, and the way they influenced others with their words. She was intrigued.
When she inquired about their presentation, the couple gave a simple, three-word answer: “neuro-linguistic programming.”
Within months, Tolbert had founded Success Coach, where she is now a wearer of many hats. As a certified coach and trainer, Tolbert works with students ranging from young parents to CEOs, using neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy.
On any given day, she might work to instill confidence in a young adult, or teach a managing director how to restructure a business for better results.
“I feel the most rewarded when I’m training others so they can do what I do for themselves,” Tolbert said. “Enabling my students to feel empowered 100 percent of the time, and teaching them to take control of their actions and create their own future –– witnessing their transformation happening right in front of you, that’s breathtaking and truly incredible.”
And as CEO, she handles everything from finance to communications to trainings. She recently returned from Dubai where she conducted an NLP Practitioner Certification Training Program. Business executives, psychologists, CPAs, HR directors, entrepreneurs and U.S. Marines are among the students who have gone through NLP training.
Professionals have started implementing NLP technology in their businesses, knowing the results will be increased communication, employee job satisfaction, motivation, productivity and sales in their respective companies.
Tolbert adds that the key to building her business was delivering more than what is expected, and executing everything with devotion. “When people see the positive changes in themselves, their relationships, and positive changes they are helping others create for themselves along with the passion that I have for their success, they want to continue working with me.”
But on the way to founding Success Coach, Tolbert’s path took many twists and turns.
Born in Iran, raised in England and educated in the United States, Tolbert always wanted to change the world from an early age. But when she began her career in finance, the idea of making an impact was just that –– an idea. She didn’t have the skills or tools to achieve her goals just yet.
So, Tolbert went to business school.
When she enrolled at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business, she was immediately rewarded with a promotion at her job. But the long-term benefits, which enabled her to find her passion and found her business, Success Coach, proved to be priceless.
“The Merage School instilled a love of learning in me, and provided me with the resources and knowledge to lead in a global environment,” Tolbert said.
Tolbert added that learning how to work with others and accomplish results, despite differences in opinion, was invaluable. She also forged friendships at the Merage School that will last a lifetime.
After graduation, Tolbert she worked her way up the corporate ladder in finance, until one day, she decided that her work wasn’t fulfilling enough. She transitioned from the corporate environment to charity work, scaling her reach, and subsequent impact, with every position that she tackled.
Tolbert broke into the nonprofit sector at Girls Inc of Orange County, where she oversaw fundraising, and ensured that the funds went back to the young girls that participated in its programs.
Next, she took the reigns at the PARSA Community Foundation, and supported the Persian community across the country. Then, Tolbert joined the International Society for Children with Cancer, where she made financial resources available to hospitals treating impoverished children suffering from cancer, in 17 countries worldwide.
She was making a difference, but she found she wasn’t producing the results she desired. That’s when she happened into the couple that introduced her to neuro-linguistic programming, and soon after launched Success Coach.
A Renewed Outlook
As for herself, NLP has been life-changing, both personally and professionally.
Tolbert used to wake up and decide, today is a bad day, or today is a good day. But now, she jumps out of bed at 5 a.m. every morning. She can’t wait to start her day and accomplish the goals that she has set for herself.
“Neuro-linguistic programming has helped me tremendously. I’ve developed better relationships, mended relationships, and I’ve accepted that everyone is doing the best that they can with the resources that they have, to name a few,” Tolbert said.
“It has completely changed my worldview. I feel empowered and unstoppable.”
In June, Tolbert will return to the campus to speak at Alumni Day 2019 .