In this month's Insider Interview, we speak with Lisa Conners Vogt, CPC, APR. Lisa is an executive and leadership coach with a background in marketing and communications, including positions at United Educators and SOS Children's Villages.
PRSA-NCC: Until recently, your career has been in marketing and communications. But a few years ago, you started professional coaching, too. Why did you expand into this market?
Vogt: I got into coaching step-by-step! After several people asked me how I maintain my optimistic outlook, I decided to write an e-book called Ever Better: Five Sources for Personal Growth, Happiness and Confidence. That led me to create the Ever Better podcast (currently on hiatus) in which I interviewed guests about their career transitions and how they created fulfilling lives. Several guests complimented me on my questions and asked if I was a coach. This led me to recognize that I had been informally coaching colleagues for many years and it was a role that I loved! I began coaching in my "spare time" and in April 2018 I left my corporate job to develop Ever Better Coaching and Consulting.
PRSA-NCC: As you were coming up in the marketing and communications field, how did you challenge yourself to grow and become better?
Vogt: I believe in continuously challenging myself professionally so when I learned about the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) it seemed like a natural step for developing my skills and knowledge. I joined a local APR study group and took an online class to prepare for the presentation and test. Both were key factors in my success. Next, I challenged myself to write the e-book I discussed above, and then to create and market my podcast.
PRSA-NCC: Everyone has blind spots, areas in which they could improve professionally. What challenges do you see most frequently among communicators?
Vogt: Communicators often under-value their contributions, accomplishments and capabilities. We tend to be incredibly devoted to promoting our colleagues and companies, and often don't take the time to advance our own careers. Every professional should carve out time for assessing how to establish themselves as a thought leader. For example, communicators are in a natural position to create or be a guest on a podcast, to write blogs or articles, or to speak at conferences and meetings.
PRSA-NCC: In your opinion, what is the most important quality a leader can possess, and can it be learned?
Vogt: The most important quality a leader can possess is to recognize that what worked in one situation may not work in another. Situational leadership means that a leader can assess a situation, interpret the environment, and adapt their style to achieve the best possible outcome. I believe that this can be learned as long as the leader is willing to take risks and is supported when mistakes occur.
PRSA-NCC: When is it appropriate to invest in hiring a professional coach?
Coaches are sought out for a variety of reasons and each coach brings specialized knowledge informed by their experiences and personality. I partner with mission-driven leaders to create higher-performing organizations and fulfilling lives. In addition, I work with individuals to elevate their careers and lives.
Many people hire a coach only when they are frustrated by a perceived lack of achievement in their personal or professional lives. However, the return on investment for coaching can be significant at any career stage.
Consider former Washington Nationals player, Bryce Harper. The most highly paid player in baseball attained success by working with great coaches from the beginning of his career. And even now, he relies on multiple coaches to help with hitting, fielding, nutrition and mental toughness.
PRSA-NCC: On LinkedIn, you call yourself a COO, for Chief Optimist Officer. What's the story behind that?
Vogt: I've always been a naturally optimistic person and I'm known for helping clients see the positive in each situation. I feel successful when clients start viewing challenges through the lens of possibility rather than pessimism. #EverBetter