Braco Pobric 0:00
Welcome to Business and happiness podcast. I'm your host Braco Pobric. This episode is sponsored by life Success Academy, a place where you recreate your business and personal happiness. So welcome everyone. My guest today is an honor to have Lisa Sensen. Lisa is the owner of LVS consulting, right. And it's a small boutique consulting firm that basically helped build the positive and effective organizations. And Lisa does this through a couple of different ways, right. So she does speaking engagements corporate training, consulting and coaching. She has achieved so much in this field.
And I will, one thing that I definitely want to mention is that she completed her master applied positive psychology at University of Pennsylvania, which we all know easily the most prestigious, prestigious, Master in positive psychology that you can get. And she was one of the first people to get it and certainly one of the first five Canadians to get it. But even more importantly, I want to say that my nice started getting into the field of positive psychology, I was told there is one person if you want to be successful here is one person need to know that's Lisa Sansom. I never told this to Lisa, but it's true. And she was so supportive. She was one of the first to, I believe write, my review of my book on Amazon, I do recall beautiful moments, I was celebrating book launch in the Jersey Shore. And Lisa was chatting and emailing me back and forth, and really encouraging and helping me so again, with that said, I want to welcome Lisa, thank you so much for coming and really, really appreciate it.
Lisa Sansom 1:49
Okay, thank you Braco those are lovely, lovely words. And no, You never told me that I'm, I'm suddenly very intimidated. Thank you.
Braco Pobric 2:00
It is it is really so true because of it is not only because of your connections, but to me after all these years knowing you. It's about you being authentic Lisa. It's not about you know, I got the map, and I am such it's always been Lisa, being yourself and helping everybody. And I truly, truly appreciate it. So, so let's start back from you know, early 2010. When you graduated from UPenn, right, you receive your masters applied positive psychology. What do you think? What was your goal? First? What was your goal when you were kind of like applying right trying to get that? And then like, what was your What did you want to accomplish with that? Like, again? Do you have back in mind like back then did you know what do you want to do in it?
Lisa Sansom 2:47
I had ideas and yeah, so So here's kind of the short version of a story and honestly asked me anything about it. I had applied to get into the MAPP program, because I learned about it through a coaching newsletter somewhere. So I was certified as a coach, and I think 2007 2008 Somewhere in there. So I was getting all these coaching newsletters. And somewhere in there, I saw this map program, I applied to get into their program got in had to cancel because I had too much other work going on that conflicted with their schedule. So I applied again, and was fortunate to get in the next year. So I was in class five of the MAPP program. So I was very early and, and they're now like class 15 or 16, or something like that.
So I think a lot of what I was able to do in the positive psychology world is just because I was lucky enough to get in early. What brought me into the positive psychology world is as I say, I was certified as a coach. But coaching didn't have a lot of research behind it. And as a new coach, I found myself asking, Well, why am I doing this thing? Like how do I know that this is effective, and I was getting told by my mentor coaches and master coaches, oh, just use your intuition. And I thought, well, that's pretty sucky because I am a new coach. And I don't think I have coaching intuition. And I don't know if I should always be trusting my intuition. I want the science and the research behind this. So that's why I applied to the MAPP program. fortunate enough to get in got through the program. I actually wrote my capstone in a totally different area that was of interest to me at the time around parental self efficacy.
And then when I emerged, I really wanted to bring more positive psychology into coaching. You know, I think everyone graduates with this idea, like I'm going to write a book and I'm going to transform the world and here I am, 10 years later, and I haven't done either of those things. But what I have been able to do is speak a lot more in positive psychology and I remember Starting to speak to some of those early audiences and asking who in the room has heard of positive psychology. And I'd be in front of a room of like 200 250 people, and maybe one or two hands would go up. I've heard of positive psychology. And one of the great things is now when I asked that question, a lot more hands go up, there are way more books out there, way more TED Talks way more ways to learn about positive psychology. So the world has been transforming through this wave. And I'm very happy to be part of it. But yeah, essentially, that's what brought me into the MAPP program and where I wanted to go out of it. And I've ended up incorporating it into everything that I do organizational development, leadership, development, coaching, speaking, corporate training, like it has just become the foundation of pretty much everything.
Braco Pobric 5:55
That's really amazing. And I want to thank you and some other folks who helped, you know, bring the positive psychology down to the street level, if you will. That's kind of how I call it, you know, how do we, how do we bring it to the speaker, because not everybody can really afford or have an opportunity to go to UPenn, and Harvard and so on.
Lisa Sansom 6:14
And I think this is something else, it's really important for people to recognize when I was applying to these programs in 2008, that's all there was, you know, there were no certificate programs. There were no online programs, a lot of the other masters that have sprung up around the world, which are all excellent programs, they did not exist, you know, there was sort of like one other one happening at the time, which I hadn't heard of at that point. And so now I get a lot of people who approached me, and they asked, Should I do the MAPP program at UPenn? It's very expensive. And I say, Yes, it is. It's very expensive. I live in Canada. And I was also very fortunate to do it at a time when our dollar was at par with the US. Now it would be an extra 25% financial penalty for me to do it. So I recognize it's a very expensive program. And there are lots of other great options. You can read books, you can watch TED talks, none of these existed when I was going through the MAPP program, there are online certificate programs, which are taught by mapp alumni, they are excellent certificate programs, you have the option of doing other international mapp programs, which are very good mapp programs and not as expensive and, and very different orientations than the UPenn MAPP program. So I think now people have a lot more choice to be able to learn about it that I didn't have 12 years ago.
Braco Pobric 7:44
So yeah, that's That's true. So what do you think? What would you recommend someone who's really, you know, I have a lot of students, they are so passionate about helping other people, they're passionate about coaching, right? But they say like, how do I get started? You know, how do I establish my credibility? If I don't have some of these certificates, right? Is there a way that you would recommend these folks to, to establish that credibility if they really, really good, I'm not saying just, you know, establish credibility by saying I'm good. But people, you know, that I really, really good, and they want to do this?
Lisa Sansom 8:20
Yeah. So I would say if you want to be known as a coach who uses positive psychology, there's a bunch of different ways you can do that. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, just reading books, and watching TED Talks is not really sufficient. It's a good start. But it's not really sufficient. And if you are looking for something that's going to distinguish you from other people out there, you probably do want a certificate of some sort.
Now all that to say, there are excellent certificates being run by people on programs like Coursera EdX, they're not that expensive, you know, I don't know 75 $100 or something, and you can get a certificate, and they're self paced programs. They're very approachable. Even something like that, saying that you have a Coursera or an edX talk certificate. In a talk that was given by Barbara Fredrickson, or Marty Seligman or other really good names. That is a good start. The other thing I would say that I know for me goes a long way towards establishing credibility is to be able to write about this in some regular blog post. I see people on medium I see people on LinkedIn, people send out their own newsletters, like find a platform somewhere and talk about what it is that you are learning in the world of positive psychology. So if you pick up a book that let's say is 10 years old, but you're reading it for the first time, write about it. Write about what have you learned from learned optimism?
What have you learned from The Happiness Advantage you know, Some of these older books have a lot of great wisdom in them. The happiness hypothesis was my first entry into the field of positive psychology. I go back and reread that all the time. So if it's new to you, write about it and talk about how does that inform your coaching. I think that helps to give the credibility as well. And then the other thing I would say is find local Positive Psychology Association. So we all know there's the international Positive Psychology Association, but there might also be ones that are specific to your area of the world, and sign up for their newsletters. See what you're learning from those experts from those blogs? Stay in touch with the community find LinkedIn groups to be a part of, for example, share the research because at its core positive psychology is research based.
And we all have a responsibility I would suggest to stay in touch with the research and to know as coaches when are we firmly in the research? And when are we out of it? So one of the very first people that I ever saw speak about positive psychology coaching was Robert Biswas, Diener, who I have a lot of admiration and appreciation for. And he was speaking at the very first EPA World Congress on positive psychology. So EPA is the International Positive Psychology Association. And, and I think summer 2009, they held their very first World Congress in Philadelphia. And the very first session I ever attended was Robert Biswas. Diener talking about this in coaching. And I remember, he was really big on the science. But he also did some exercises that were outside the science. And as coaches, we all go outside the science sometimes, you know, I was told to trust my intuition that's outside the science. The key is to know when you're in the science, when your fringe science, you know, science informed. And when you're outside the science, and there's nothing wrong with any of that. It's just you need to know. And so as a positive psychology coach, or someone who wants to bring positive psychology into your coaching, I would just say, find some ways to stay in touch with the community, to get really clear on your knowledge of when you're in positive psychology. And when you're in something else, all of which can be very effective. And write about it, share that, and make sure that your audience and your intended audience knows that you're really clear on it. So find your platform, write about it post a value. And yes, like, I do think certificates will help distinguish you from a lot of other people out there who have just read books who have just watched TED talks, and really are very passive consumers of the information.
Braco Pobric 12:51
Thanks. That's that, that's really great advice, great advice. Just find, find your platform, keep keep posting, keep writing about it, use the research, but as you said, you know, often as a coaches, we need to, we need to have that background. But often when in coaching session, that's not unless you, you have to decide, is that person interested in research or not? And if not, then you have to just apply the tools.
Lisa Sansom 13:13
Yeah. And I think as coaches, we decide, am I telling my client that this is research based or not, like that's all about your coaching brand, and who you are and what you do out there. And ultimately, we work in service of our clients. Yes. So whatever it is, we know that works for us and works for our clients. We're going to go there and be effective. And there are lots of great coaching organizations, you know, people are familiar with the ICF, or the Institute of coaching out of Harvard, get on their newsletters, you can sign up for newsletters for free, read what's going on there, pick what works for you. And that helps you establish your credibility and your branding as a coach as well.
Braco Pobric 13:52
That's awesome. Thanks. So you know, I was thinking, I was looking, what would you do? And I was thinking about my company name is and it's actually high impact consulting, coaching and training.
Lisa Sansom 14:02
I love it. That's such a great name. Thanks.
Braco Pobric 14:06
And then when I think of what LSA what you do is your structure, it's kind of like similar. It's almost like you have different divisions. So you do coaching, training, consulting, and speaking, right? So, so I wanted to kind of go over each of this and like to begin with coaching, and it's really all about, you know, so really helping these new folks, if you will start a business, if you will, you know, what did they do? So, how did you find if you recall your first coaching client, and what did you do, you know, to establish your coaching practice, and what do you do now to kind of keep growing?
Lisa Sansom 14:45
Yeah, so I think first of all, it's important for people to know that my company was started out of necessity. It's not something I ever really aimed for. So I'm not necessarily a great role model to follow in all of this The short version of the story as I was moving from one city to another, jumping without a net, had no job and so started lVms consulting, just to kind of encapsulate the things that I was doing. So I call myself an accidental solopreneur. never intended to really start this, I met my first coach when I was working, and I was full time employed, and sent myself to coaching school after I made this move, because I had been petitioning my employer to send me and then when I moved and left that job, of course, they're not going to send me anymore. So I sent myself to coaching school. And one of the things that that did is it got me in touch with a network of people.
And coaching schools at that time weren't really big in business development. I teach coaching now with Valerie Burton through the cap Institute. And she has a business building module built into her coaching design. So when you take her program, you learn how to build your business that didn't exist when I went through coaching. So the way I found my first coaching clients was really just like, putting the word out there. Because when you're learning coaching, one of the best things I think you can do is Coach anybody about anything. First of all, you need the hours. Second of all, you need the experience. But Third of all, it helps you to learn more about yourself as a coach, and Who's your ideal client. So I coach some people on things that I would never ever take clients on for now. And they were all great people. But I'm not interested in coaching about relationships,
I'm not interested in coaching on careers, you know, there's all sorts of way better coaches out there for that. So a lot of just asking word of mouth, posting on local forums. And if you're going for certification, you're allowed to barter, you know, for coaching services, that counts as paid coaching, you can charge a buck, you know, that counts, like, don't worry about the pricing at the beginning, just get out there and coach, and then when you're doing good work, it starts to sell itself because people will refer you. So leverage your existing network. And I'll say your existing network is probably a lot bigger than you think it is. Like when I work through kind of network diagrams with people like Okay, let's start from the very beginning. Who do you still know from elementary school? Who do you still know from middle school? Who do you still know from high school? What's your clubs and activities were you involved in?
Then who do you still know for middle school band? Do you still play trumpet? Excellent. Who else do you know who plays trumpet, like just map it all out, do a really big mind map and put it out to your network because people will love to support you. And those who don't want to support you will just ignore it. And that's perfectly fine. So just put things out there. And, yeah, make sure I mean, the ground rules, right, make sure you have a professional website, make sure you have a professional LinkedIn, like those are just table stakes, people will look for you there. But your coaching clients are going to come through your network.
Braco Pobric 18:07
Great, you actually covered two things I was about to mention. That is, you know, I have a lot of folks saying, Well, you know, should I start free? How much should I charge? How much should I charge for coaching services? Which is such a loaded question, right? And what would you say if somebody says, first of all, I think you already said you would recommend them to start coaching anyone start doing a free of charge back? So you can you know, use those your hours
Lisa Sansom 18:32
Get your hours, get your experience? Yeah, right.
Braco Pobric 18:35
It what would you say? How would you answer the question? How much should I charge?
Lisa Sansom 18:40
Such a difficult, like my rates vary enormously. So first of all, if you do organizational coaching, and I work in some organization, sometimes your rates will be set by your client, they will say we pay $200 an hour for coaching, like it or leave it like that's just what you do. Okay, fine. But it also varies by jurisdiction. Like, if you are a coach that's in a very rural remote area, that's going to be a very different price. And if you're sitting in Manhattan or LA, for example, if you're coaching senior executives, that's going to be a very different price point than coaching teenagers and high school seniors. You know, so you really need to do some market research in your geography and in your client niche to see what is the going market and then take a look at the qualifications of those coaches and adjust accordingly.
If you have more or less years of experience. If you have more or fewer credentials, like it's it's a little bit of an art and then most coaches that I know also operate on some sort of sliding needs base scale. So I would say know what your maximum prices and it's okay if that feels a little high and A little intimidating it probably should. And then it's okay if you choose to come down from it. So I have a client for example, who lives overseas is not earning tons of money is in a really fascinating position. But you know, I'm charging her half my normal rate because that's what she can afford and I love working with her. So just just make your choices. I wish there was an easy like, you should be charging $251.53 And that's just not possible. You've got to research your markup.
Braco Pobric 20:35
Exactly pretty much what I tell everyone so we are in line I mean, to say that's really what it is.
Lisa Sansom 20:43
And we did not discuss this ahead of time.
Braco Pobric 20:47
We did not we did not
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