Bruce played at Old Trafford for nine years between 1987 and 1996, winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups under Ferguson before embarking on a managerial career of his own.
Bruce told Sky Sports News: "Whoever has gone to play for him, this winning mentality that he's got rubs off on you. People ask over the years what he's like and he's so driven and so determined and he works so hard at the job.
"When you finish and you hang up your boots it's no surprise that a few of us have gone into coaching. He sets such high standards that he's very difficult to follow. It's impossible to copy somebody like him.
"He wants to beat you for certain and he does that constantly with us, but he offers you a bit of encouragement. He's always there if you pick up the telephone and he'll always come back to you.
"He's got a humility about him from his working class background where he'll treat the groundsman just as well as he'll treat his star centre-forward. He's got a fantastic humility about him for all he's achieved.
"I spoke to him a couple of days ago and there was no hint of anything about retirement. There was a simple text message and a short conversation wishing me good luck for the weekend and afterwards a text to say well done.
"He'll do that not just with his players who've gone into management, but he'll do that for most managers, especially the young ones. He'll always give you the encouragement that every young manager needs."