Bernice Lee: Helping Business Professionals Grow With Brain-Based Coaching
The business coach industry has grown significantly in recent years, with many professionals seeking guidance to achieve their goals. Bernice Lee has played a vital role in this sector by helping people to enhance their leadership, emotional intelligence, and business etiquette skills. Bernice Lee’s world-class academic background in organizational behavior and human resources management, as well as her 20-plus years of international work experience in marketing, human resources, talent development, and entrepreneurship, have equipped her to help business people succeed. Here’s a snippet from our recent interaction with her.
Can you describe your past industry experience and how it qualifies you to be a coach and trainer for business people?
I started my career as a product marketing manager in the US. After graduate school, I worked in human resources management for seven years. During that time, I worked at General Mills in two manufacturing facilities in the US and as a regional HR manager in Asia; then I spent four years as an HR generalist at Fidelity International in Hong Kong. Since 2013, I have been self-employed as a coach, speaker, and corporate trainer. My coaching clients, mostly entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, appreciate that I have a strong track record of delivering outstanding, measurable results.
They feel confident that I can understand the issues they face because I’ve worked in different industries and jobs (and can provide valuable insights about HR, sales, marketing, or entrepreneurship when they ask for it). They feel safe to share their innermost thoughts and feelings with me, which is essential to an effective coaching relationship, because I learned how to build rapport quickly from having worked in many places around the world, with people from all walks of life.
Can you explain the reason behind establishing The Etiquette & Leadership Institute and discuss its areas of specialization?
The Etiquette and Leadership Institute was my first brand. It was originally set up to develop children and teenagers into ‘poised, confident leaders of tomorrow’ by teaching them dining etiquette and everyday manners. I developed this idea for a business when I was an HR manager when I interviewed fresh graduates who didn’t get hired because they lacked professional behavior and confidence. I wanted to help young people to be competitive in the international labor market by teaching them these skills at an earlier age. Within one year, I started teaching business etiquette to undergraduate and MBA students and young managers in large corporations. In 2019, I launched Coach Bernice in response to clients’ requests for deeper transformation in areas such as confidence and managing difficult colleagues. Under this second brand, I help adult business professionals to achieve inspiring career and personal goals.
Can you elaborate on your expertise as a Brain-Based Coach and explain how you help entrepreneurs and leaders through coaching?
My coaching approach was created by the NeuroLeadership Institute. By applying the latest research in neuroscience, I create an optimal, brain-friendly environment for my clients to create an exciting vision of their future, set big goals, gain deep insights about themselves, overcome fears and doubts, and feel motivated to achieve things that they never expected to, before.
"My Personal Mantra For Success Has Been To Have A Strong Work Ethic, Perseverance, And A Firm Belief In Myself"
I follow the five principles of brain-based coaching, which include creating a psychologically safe environment for my clients to express themselves fully, allowing them to direct their own learning, remaining results-focused, being a positive and encouraging presence, stretching them beyond their comfort zone for effective learning, and providing a clear structure for each session and the entire coaching series.
What do you find to be the most difficult aspects of being a leadership coach/trainer, and how do you address these challenges?
Coaching and training itself aren’t challenging for me because I love working with motivated and committed clients. The most challenging part of my work is balancing the roles of a practitioner who works in the business and a business owner who works on the business. Although I enjoy the intellectual stimulation and diversity of the work, managing both of these roles can be tiring.
Can you describe your major accomplishments? Also, what has been your key to success?
A significant achievement during my entrepreneurial journey was obtaining my first client because I had no prior entrepreneurial experience, no professional background in etiquette, and no contacts to help me find clients. Subsequent milestones included teaching at a renowned private club in Hong Kong, serving major corporations like J.P. Morgan and Estee Lauder, and launching my first online course. My personal mantra for success has been to have a strong work ethic, perseverance, and a firm belief in myself.
Based on your experience, what advice or message would you like to share with women who aspire to become leaders or entrepreneurs?
When people set goals based on societal or familial expectations or what they think they should do, it can lead to feeling lost or unfulfilled. Think deeply about what you genuinely desire. Once you’re clear about that you’ll naturally experience powerful momentum and take the necessary steps to achieve goals that are meaningful to you and that will help you create an abundant life.
Bernice Lee, Director, The Etiquette & Leadership Institute
Bernice Lee is a high-performance coach who has helped over 3,000 business professionals from 23 countries. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Yale University and a Master of Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University. She splits her time between Hong Kong and Canada.