Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Kym Harris-Lee.
Dr. Harris-Lee, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My career is a blend of corporate and higher education (as an administrator). I enjoyed my career in higher education but was frustrated because I worked really hard, accomplished a lot, but the compensation was not commensurate with the responsibility or the demands. I decided to pursue opportunities in corporate organizations where I could leverage my skills, talents and abilities, and get paid what I knew I was worth.
My corporate journey was a learning experience. Although I was paid well and I performed well, I didn’t fit well. I received feedback about the formality of my dress, which I changed to make myself “more approachable.” I also received feedback about my behavior, which was described as “too direct,” abrasive, and intimidating. While I wanted to respond positively to the feedback, it was a challenge because it was not specific enough to shed light on what I needed to change.
After being told that the CEO of the organization I worked for thought that I was incompetent, my level of concern about my future with the organization was elevated tenfold. I quickly realized that the way we think of incompetence did not apply to my situation because my job performance was strong. Every objective performance measure (performance reviews, annual increases, bonuses, and all the other perks that were rewards for strong performance) indicated just the opposite. I had been rewarded for my strong performance and was highly compensated.
As a result of that feedback from the CEO, I engaged an executive coach to help identify the real issue. After gathering feedback on my behalf, she returned with some interesting insights. She shared that while everyone viewed me as brilliant and accomplished, they felt that their interactions with me were “transactional” and that they didn’t have a good sense of “who I was.” If I was going to achieve the VP level I aspired to, they would need more from me – which extended beyond my strong performance.
Fast forward, before I could process the feedback and take action, I was downsized – code for “fired.” Because of my level in the organization, I was given a rich separation package, which provided the opportunity to take a year sabbatical and figure out what I wanted to do next.
During that year, I simultaneously looked for another job and decided to leverage the skills I was known for and enjoyed employing the most to begin coaching. By the end of the 12-month period, I had become certified as a coach and decided to launch my entrepreneurial career as an executive coach and speaker. My coaching practice and my speaking career were shaped by that corporate experience, which inspired my tagline, “Competence is More than Performance.” I now coach high performing leaders who need and want to elevate their interpersonal skills and professional relationships to a level that matches the strength of their performance using my M.O.R.E® Mindset Coaching methodology.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’m asked this question a lot. I have to say that I’ve been blessed and have not had too many obstacles. I learned about the importance of relationships from my corporate experience and have nurtured with authenticity and transparency the relationships that have contributed to the success of my business. I’d be struggling were it not for the support, assistance, and advocacy of people who believe in me. I also believe that purpose-driven work, aligned with one’s core values minimizes struggle. When our work is aligned with what brings us joy, obstacles are simply small stumbling blocks that provide learning and growth. There is less effort, more satisfaction, and more success when you do work you truly love.
Your SweetSpot Coaching and Consulting – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
This past year I rebranded my business to drkymharrislee.com with a focus on executive coaching. Dr. Kym Harris-Lee Executive Coaching is a division of Your SweetSpot Coaching and Consulting. I was encouraged by several people to drop Your SweetSpot, but the name was the brainchild of a good friend who passed away several years ago. I think of Your SweetSpot as part of her legacy. It’s a legacy I feel strongly about maintaining.
As I mentioned earlier, I coach high performing leaders with a desire to elevate their interpersonal skills using my M.O. R.E.® Mindset Coaching methodology. I guide leaders, executives, and women of color through a coaching experience that reveals the unique qualities and characteristics they possess but may not be leveraging as their super-power. I help my clients understand how they are perceived by others so they can maximize the positive experience they create in every interaction with direct reports, peers, colleagues and other key stakeholders.
I’m known for the things that did not serve me well in the corporate environment. My coaching style is direct yet supportive. My clients appreciate my ability to “see them,” call them on their “BS,” and help them employ the best of who they are to get the results they want. Authenticity is a cornerstone of my coaching – I interact with every client authentically, which oftentimes includes humor and absolutely no pretense.
I’m most proud of my ability to build a successful business that has sustained me and allowed me to thrive over the last ten years. My work has been a tremendous source of pride and joy for me. I have four nieces and a critical component of my life goals is to serve as a role model for them regarding “what’s possible.” I’m proud that my accomplishments inspire them to pursue what they love…to do more…and to be more.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me success looks like HAPPY and feels like FULFILLMENT. I experience success every time I end a coaching conversation with a client and I’m smiling with the thought, “I really like this person, and I’m so glad I can help him or her be the best possible version of themselves.” My success is also fueled by the success of my clients. When I get a call or email informing me about an unexpected raise, a promotion, or recognition for something they were previously criticized for, I feel like a success. From a practical perspective, I also measure success by my ability to achieve my financial goals. With that said, doing work that makes me happy and gives me fulfillment is what has driven the growth of my business. In the absence of HAPPY and FULFILLED, it really wouldn’t matter how much money I earned. Finally, I define success as FREEDOM; the freedom to turn business away because the client is not a good fit, or because my instinct tells me that the coaching conversations won’t end with me smiling and feeling good about the person. I believe firmly that “all money ain’t good money.” Success is the freedom to not compromise who I am, what I do, or how I do it for a check.
- VIP Day Coaching Experience – $2,500.00
- Six-Month Coaching Experience – $5,000.00
- Online Group Coaching Experience – $1,250.00
- Website: www.drkymharrislee.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @iamdrkym
- Twitter: @iamdrkym
- Other: www.drkymharrislee.com/contact
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