Dr. Kym Harris-Lee is the Founder & CEO of Your SweetSpot Coaching & Consulting. Using her M.O.R.E® Mindset Coaching methodology, she coaches high performing leaders who need and want to elevate their interpersonal skills and professional relationships. She talks to 35 Thousand about her professional and personal life, how her experience of the corporate world kick-started her business, and why she works out both physically and mentally.
Describe yourself in 3 words…
“Bold, Resilient, Authentic”
Tell us about your work…
“I 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. I use my M.O.R.E® Mindset Coaching methodology (Maximum self-awareness; Optimal optimism; Rich Relationships and Empathetic Engagement) to 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. My goal is to help leaders understand how they are perceived by others so they can maximize the positive experience they create in every interaction. 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.”
Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?
“I converted the dining room to my home office because of all the natural light that comes into the room. The natural light gives me energy.”
What parts of your work give you energy?
“In addition to natural light, I am energized by the lively conversations I have with leaders and the success (incremental and long term) that results from our coaching partnerships.”
What parts of your work drain you?
“The administrative aspects of the business drain me. They are STBO (Soon To Be Outsourced).”
Most pivotal point of your career so far?
“My corporate journey was a learning experience. Although I performed well, I received feedback about being “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.
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 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.
I looked for another job while also leveraging the skills I was known for to begin coaching. By the end of the 12-month period, I was 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, and inspired my tagline, ‘Competence is More than Performance’.”
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…
“I was preparing to leave one job and move to another in a new organization. It was a bigger role, and I was nervous about the change. I shared my thoughts and apprehension with a senior leader, who simply responded with, “You’re ready.” Sometimes we just need one person to believe in us. The advice I pass on to others is, ‘You are more ready than you realize’.”
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?
“I am a newlywed of 2.5 years. My husband and I split our time between Atlanta, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama. We’re in the process of looking for one residence in Georgia and plan to be settled by Q1 2022.
My mom has been living with us for the past year after recovering from a stroke. While she is mostly “all good” she does have some limitations. Managing and overseeing the management of her care adds another layer to all my days.
We love Broadway plays and think nothing of getting on a plane for dinner and a play in New York City. We are looking forward to being able to do that again soon (post COVID).”
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…
“My days have been and continue to be jam packed. I was usually pretty tied up with client calls on Zoom (a large percentage of my clients are located throughout the US), onsite meetings with local clients, or business travel to launch new coaching engagements. Exercise has always been important to me, so the day usually started with that. Weather permitting, I’d get in a 45–60-minute walk outside at the end of the day. There were always the usual chores around the house, grocery shopping, nail and hair appointments, etc. I also enjoyed lunch meetings and dinner outings with friends and colleagues.”
How has your daily life changed? What is your new normal?
“I do not get out nearly as much, 100% of my work is on Zoom. My workdays “feel” longer and by 5 pm I’m mentally exhausted. Now when I leave home, it is for the sole purpose of running necessary errands without deviation.”
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?
“I would say, “yes” on both fronts. Professionally, it’s been quite busy and I’m not complaining. I’ve had to expand my team to meet the demand.
Personally, I have a new and overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. I must admit that sometimes I just want to run away. I’m always asking myself, ‘Where can I go to simply get away from everything for a while?'”
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?
“My mother recently declared her desire to move into an Assisted Living Community. When I think about her needs, and her “high maintenance” behaviors, I do worry about the extent to which 1) she’ll be happy and 2) how responsive people (who are not family members) will be to her requests for assistance, which then takes me back to 3) her overall happiness and satisfaction.”
What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines, or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?
“I do not drink Gin, but I do workout physically and mentally. On my best day, I’m most centered after 40-60 minutes of various guided meditations and another 60 minutes of exercise (weights, cardio, and stretching. My husband and I enjoy preparing dinners together as a replacement for going out to dinner – and honestly, the meals are much better. We will probably keep that practice.”
What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?
“Work, friends, family, and online shopping.”
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?
“Not at all. I see this as a moment in time. My goal as been to stay healthy and out of harms way, so that I can continue to live and create a life I love.”
Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?
“I am SO travel ready. Where is to be determined. We have been talking about a full family trip with the adult siblings, nieces, grandchildren, etc and then a quiet trip with just me and my guy.”
Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”
“Red lipstick and my American Express Card. I do not carry cash, which drives my husband crazy.”
What are your work from home saviors? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)
“Routine: Early morning Meditation and Exercise. Product: my Remarkable for note taking. Snack: Fat Free Greek Yogurt with Cinnamon Granola, strawberries, and blueberries.”
Name your 5 essential items of clothing:
“A great bold color blazer (single or double breasted), some wide leg pants, a V-neck sweater / T, a crisp white blouse, and a stylish, comfy low heel pump.”
How do you see your business or career in two years from now?
“Focused growth is my short-term strategy in support of a long-term goal to step away from Coaching. To accomplish this, I’m diversifying while staying aligned with my mission to help leaders authentically achieve more visibility, connectivity, and influence. I am launching a line of office décor accessories that visually communicate aspects of my coaching philosophy. My clients call them “Dr. Kymisms.” The line will include Inspirational Wall Word Art, Decorative Inspirational Pillows, and Inspirational desk Plaques. I am also adding a publishing arm, shifting from the “written word” to the “spoken word” with a series of short audiobooks that provide practical leadership strategies for leaders. They will be able to listen while working out, having coffee, or driving to the office, and then apply what they have heard during their workday. I am excited about expanding the ways I engage the senses to fuel and elevate leadership effectiveness.”
What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?
“Not a thing. If I think it, I do it.”
What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?
“Be open to feedback, but don’t allow others to define you. Be kind to yourself and give others grace.”
Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?
“You can create the life you want.”