Dr. Sunni Lampasso of Shaping Success: “Habits play a key role in my success as an executive coach”

Adopting a growth and learning mindset was the foundation for my success as a coach. This mindset has allowed me to be open to new experiences, branch out into the coaching business, and continue to learn from each experience. My mindset enables me to continue to learn and grow both personally and as a coach. […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Adopting a growth and learning mindset was the foundation for my success as a coach. This mindset has allowed me to be open to new experiences, branch out into the coaching business, and continue to learn from each experience. My mindset enables me to continue to learn and grow both personally and as a coach. It allows me to engage in a parallel learning process with each client that also promotes client growth.


The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15-billion-dollar industry. Many professionals have left their office jobs to become highly successful coaches. At the same time, not everyone who starts a coaching business sees success. What does someone starting a career as a life coach, wellness coach, or business coach need to know to turn it into a very successful and rewarding career?

In this interview series, called “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach” we are interviewing experienced and successful life coaches, wellness coaches, fitness coaches, business and executive coaches and other forms of coaches who share the strategies you need to create a successful career as a life or business coach.

In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sunni Lampasso.

Dr. Sunni Lampasso is an Executive Coach, Consulting Psychologist, and founder and CEO of Shaping Success. Using her background in psychology, she helps executives and business owners prioritize goals, focus on leadership development (including emotional intelligence, team building, and well-being), and achieve the business results they’re seeking. Dr. Lampasso works with her clients to develop a customized approach to each coaching engagement based on a combination of assessments and the client’s objectives.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and what brought you to this particular career path?

I have a long history of being a helper beginning when I was 10 years old when I saved my grandmother from drowning. After that experience, I went on to become a lifeguard where I realized that I enjoyed being a helper. I was introduced to psychology when I was a senior in high school, and from that point forward, I decided that I wanted to help people as a psychologist. I majored in psychology in college and then pursued a doctorate. Over the years, I’ve helped people of all ages through my clinical work. My transition to executive coaching and consulting psychology is an extension of my previous work, and it has allowed me to expand my impact in the workplace. All professionals can benefit from executive coaching to maximize their potential. And, by working with one leader, it can have a positive impact across the organization.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

My top three character traits that have influenced my success are my passion, positivity, and energy. My passion for helping people is something that I shared with my dad from a young age. All of my jobs through the years have been in helping professions, and this passion continues to motivate me as a coach. Positivity and energy are two traits that have shaped my career and success. My positivity helps me to continue to learn and grow from the ups and downs of running a business. Additionally, I bring a “glass half full” approach to working with clients by helping them to identify and use their strengths to reach their goals. Lastly, people appreciate my energy and enthusiasm, and it helps to motivate my clients.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Habits play a key role in my success as an executive coach. Having been in a helping profession for many years, I’ve learned the importance of developing habits that promote health, and, in particular, self-care. Regular exercise and waking up at the same time everyday (and going to sleep at the same time) help me maintain my energy level and wake up feeling ready to start my day. Maintaining my physical health is a key component of setting me up to better handle challenges that may arise.

This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Creating habits that promote self-care help you to be at your best and to help others to be their best. Developing a good habit helps us to feel good. Regular sleep is probably the most important habit to develop. Getting adequate and regular sleep improves mood and strengthens your immune system. For me, developing a regular sleep habit has helped me to start the day off feeling good and increases my productivity.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

The best way to develop good habits (and stop bad habits) is to evaluate what’s important to you. Our values serve as a broad motivation that can serve as the basis for goals. Taking time to identify your values is the first step toward habit change. For example, if you identify wellness as a value, what habits do you have that are consistent with this value? What habits do you have that are not consistent with this value? Whether you decide to create a new habit or stop a bad habit, if the motivation is in line with your values, you are more likely to persist in making the change.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

My favorite life quote is, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”, by Albert Einstein. This quote resonates with me, because it is a way to shift your focus in a negative situation and identify learning opportunities. I’ve used this quote as motivation during challenging times in my life and career. And, looking back, I am able to see that every challenge that I’ve experienced has created opportunities that have contributed to my growth and development.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

An exciting project I’m working on now is developing a program to improve well-being in the workplace. This program is exciting, because it can help people to improve their work/life balance and to develop habits and coping skills that improve their stress tolerance. This group program for organizations will include an individual assessment of health-related behaviors and coping skills for each participant. Following the assessment, there will be group learning and individual meetings to help participants identify a personalized plan for increasing well-being which, in turn, will help employees to develop healthy habits and skills that will improve their overall sense of well-being.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Many coaches are successful, but some are not very successful. From your experience or perspective, what are the main factors that distinguish successful coaches from unsuccessful ones? What are your “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

My path to success involved adopting a growth and learning mindset, hiring my own coach (and a few additional coaches), developing and strengthening relationships with others, getting additional training in coaching, and visualizing my future.

Adopting a growth and learning mindset was the foundation for my success as a coach. This mindset has allowed me to be open to new experiences, branch out into the coaching business, and continue to learn from each experience. My mindset enables me to continue to learn and grow both personally and as a coach. It allows me to engage in a parallel learning process with each client that also promotes client growth.

Hiring my own coach has been key to my own development and to becoming a successful coach. My experience being the client increased my self-awareness and helped me to leverage my strengths and identify areas for growth. After hiring a coaching and seeing the benefits of coaching firsthand, I decided to seek out additional coaches. I’ve realized that each coach has unique qualities and contributed to my growth in different ways. My growth, development, and learning through being a coaching client helps me to put myself in the client’s shoes and truly understand the coaching partnership from both sides.

Building and strengthening meaningful relationships with colleagues and other professionals facilitates your growth and helps others to get to know you on a personal level. You can learn from each relationship, and, coaching is based on relationships and partnerships. Truly connecting with others through developing authentic relationships is necessary for success as a coach. Having a network of professionals and coaches that you truly know can be a source of support, consultation, and client referrals. I regularly seek consultation from other coaches, and most of my client referrals come from people who I know well.

Additional training fills in any gaps in your skills and keeps you current on research and industry trends. As a coach, it’s imperative that you continue to build and hone your coaching skills as well as to keep abreast of current coaching practices. Participating in ongoing work, both personally and as a coach, helps me to be an effective coach. Coaching is about learning and growth. As a coach, I practice what I preach by being a lifelong learner.

Finally, visualizing is a powerful tool that has helped me to create a successful career as an executive coach. Visualizing (actually closing your eyes and picturing what it looks like and how it feels) what you want for your future, both professionally and personally, is a beginning step in developing a path to establishing concrete steps to achieve your goals. In addition to helping me develop a roadmap toward having a successful business, visualization is a tool that keeps me motivated and reminds me of my long-term goals.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

One of the most common mistakes I have seen coaches make when starting a new business is not creating a network of coaches and professionals. Without taking this step, success may remain elusive. Some coaches view networking negatively and don’t value it or understand what it really means. Shifting your mindset about networking can help coaches to understand its value. Networking is not about meeting people and presenting your services to get referrals. It is about creating real connections with others and hearing others’ stories. For many years, I viewed networking as inauthentic and as a result I didn’t do it. However, shifting my mindset has allowed me to create so many great relationships with colleagues and professionals and has led to multiple opportunities.

Based on your experience and success, what are a few of the most important things a coach should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience? Please share a story or an example for each.

Creating a ‘wow customer experience’ is about what you, as a person, bring to coaching (your coaching presence) and the coaching relationship. Being your authentic self allows you to develop a relationship and partnership with your client that fosters growth. I use my positivity and sense of humor to connect with my clients on a personal level. Active listening and showing empathy also help to develop a trusting relationship with each client. I reflect back on what clients say and refrain from judging them. I also put myself in a client’s shoes to understand their experience. Additionally, I provide support by checking in outside of sessions and sending clients relevant information that might facilitate their growth. For example, if a client is working on leadership development, and I come across an article on effective strategies for leadership, I will send it to them, so we could discuss it at our next meeting.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business, and particularly in coaching. What are the best ways for a coach to find customers? Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

As I mentioned earlier, the best way to find coaching clients is through your network. Friends and colleagues can be the best referral sources, because they have a relationship with you. A referral from someone you know, for any service, is more meaningful than finding a coach on Google. Continuing to expand your network of authentic relationships takes time, but the benefits are worth the effort.

Coaches are similar to startup founders who often work extremely long hours and it’s easy to end up burning the candle at both ends. What would you recommend to your fellow coaches about how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting their business?

As a coach, maintaining a self-care routine is imperative to avoiding burnout. If you take care of others and don’t take care of yourself, this will eventually lead to burnout. Maintaining a schedule that includes adequate sleep, exercise, regular work hours, and participation in enjoyable activities promotes physical and mental wellness. If you establish self-care routines early on in starting your business, they will be easier to maintain and set you up for success.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Keeping a growth and learning mindset is something that has helped me to thrive. I would start a movement to educate people on the benefits of adopting a growth and learning mindset and teach them how to adopt this positive mindset. Many people get stuck and have difficulty achieving their goals, because they have a more fixed mindset. A growth and learning mindset helps people to learn from challenges, approach new situations and people with curiosity, and to be more resilient during stressful times. This mindset helps people to thrive and improves their well-being. If more people had adopted a growth and learning mindset, I believe we would have a more caring and productive society.

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

If I could have a lunch with one person in the world, it would be with David Solomon, Goldman Sachs CEO and DJ. As a successful banker, he remains down to earth, riding the subway and getting his own coffee. In addition, he does something that he loves — he is a DJ. Although he was urged by some to hang up his headphones when he became CEO for fear that he wouldn’t be taken seriously, he continued to do what he loved. And as a result, it’s not only the banking world that takes him seriously — the dance music world is also taking him seriously. I admire his ability to be successful while remaining down to earth, pursuing his passions and putting 100% into everything he does. He is a man that is guided by his own values and doesn’t let the opinions of others stand in his way.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can follow my work online through my website www.shapingsuccessconsulting.com, Instagram @shaping_success, or Facebook www.facebook.com/shapingsuccessny

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Eric Harrison: “Be interested, not interesting”

by Ben Ari
Community//

Susan Power of PowerUp Leadership: “Find their Niche”

by Ben Ari
Community//

Sequoia Craig: “Remember why you started and keep adapting”

by Ben Ari
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.