Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Berna Merih, Founder of Berna Merih Coaching, located in Westport, CT, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My name is Berna Merih, and I am a Transformational Leadership Coach. As an inspirational, resourceful, and values-driven ICF-accredited coach and advisor, I believe true transformation is possible at the intersection of leadership, business, and life. I view myself as a change catalyst, bringing insight, support, and grace to people seeking a positive shift, both in and outside the workplace.

Believing that effective leadership is an inside-out process, my coaching unleashes the "power within" each person to liberate their resilience, which moves them in the direction of their goals and enables them to thrive in every aspect of their lives. I bring heart, purpose, an aura of quiet confidence, and an acute awareness of what holds people back from realizing their full potential.

My commitment to continuous improvement is rooted in a philosophy of self-leadership, best expressed in my credo: "You are the leader of your life." Guided by my deeply held values, I founded my company, Berna Merih Coaching, with the vision of making a difference in the lives of those I serve. I am a strong believer that everyone is the leader of their own life. When people act at their full potential as self-leaders, they become inspiring and empowering leaders in their personal, business, or professional life.

Becoming a self-leader means being more connected to oneself so that one can lead their life with goals aligned to their higher purpose. To make that possible, I partner with and have an impact on emergent and established leaders, directors, managers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, academicians, and educators, from all over the world committed to making a positive change in their lives and the lives of others. My coaching impacts people who are going through transitions and change, people on a personal quest to reinvent themselves to connect with their purpose and make an impact by positively influencing others in and outside the workplace.

Tell us about yourself

Since emigrating from my native Turkey, I transitioned away from a successful career in corporate finance to follow my passion for helping people discover their self-leadership and have a leadership impact. Transitioning to live in the USA after an accomplished executive career for 20+years transformed me into an empowered self-leader and a solopreneur who pursues her passion and purpose in life. As a CFO, I successfully mentored and advised my fellow executives in resolving team conflicts while promoting collaboration and driving a winning culture. After the transition, I decided to connect to a higher purpose.

Every day I wake up and set an intention to create value for others and learn something from what I love to do. Leadership and coaching both have ripple effects. When people transform to become self-leaders, their leadership effect increases. When leaders transform, they transform others. As leaders change and transform through my coaching, their immediate stakeholders will change, too. That impact excites me, motivates me, and keeps me alive.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

A professional career was my comfort zone, and I could have never imagined myself as a solopreneur. My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is transforming the learning from my life journey to serve a higher purpose and become the thinking partner for people who have the intention to change themselves for the greater good and further transform others. Transforming the learning for me meant stepping out of my comfort zone and a mindset shift. Listening to my calling and envisioning the positive impact I could have on people's lives was a great inspiration.

Ultimately, everybody wants to be happy. People want to do what they love and love what they do. Seeing people unleash their potential to become the best version of themselves as part of the positive impact I want to create is the greatest accomplishment.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

For CEOs, they say it is lonely at the top. For solopreneurs, it is tough and even lonelier. Being a business owner is like being a Swiss knife. You are in charge of everything. From decision making to planning, from marketing to execution, from technology to networking… You are everywhere. One of the learnings I had from my professional career is that I loved teamwork and collaboration. You can guess how difficult it has been for me to work by myself, with myself, for myself.

Business owners need support systems first for themselves and then for their businesses. They need focus and energy for a sustainable business. The hardest thing is to be able to create a balance between work and life. Often work-life balance is compromised because of the drivers associated with achievement, unhealthy levels of success orientation, and inability to prioritize.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

My first tip is "Own your story and honor your journey." Your business reflects who you are. Therefore, anyone who has the intention to start, run, and grow a business needs to master themselves first. All business owners are self-leaders, and the foundation of self-leadership is self-awareness. Self-awareness helps create the connection between your strengths, your values, your "why," and your story.

My second tip is about passion and purpose. "Define your drivers." Your business needs to communicate your purpose and your purpose needs to be energized by a passion. Your excitement and motivation for your work will create attraction for your ideal clients.

My last but not the least important tip will be "Avoid comparison." You are unique as an individual, and your work is also unique and different from others. Do not let comparison steal your joy. You need the joy and motivation to follow your authentic way.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

As Joseph Campbell once said, "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." As someone passionate about partnering with people in their transitions and transformations, I value coaching as a powerful tool to support people in finding the treasure they seek. I desire to partner with people and support them in the process of realizing their desires and mining their treasures.

My passion as a coach is to be the partner to:

  • The individuals and professionals who are seeking self-leadership and empowerment.
  • The professionals and executives who are willing to transform into self-aware, inspiring, and motivating leaders striving for success.
  • The professionals who are building in their careers, leadership styles, or seeking new ventures.

My coaching approach is not "one-size-fits-all." Together, we create our path and tailor the coaching relationship based on personalized goals and outcomes.

Where can people find you and your business?

LinkedIn Company Page:

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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