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Nicola McDonald: I became the difference I wanted to see!


Following a redundancy back in 2013, IT Manager Nicola bravely stepped forward and embarked on a life-changing career shift into coaching. Looking back, she has no regrets moving from her 30-year field of IT into coaching. We hope you enjoy!

What was/is your profession before becoming a coach?

Life hands you lemons sometimes!

In January 2013 the closure of the organisation I had worked for since 1999 was announced and life hit shaky ground. As IT Manager, I was responsible for the compliant decommissioning and the export control of IT Systems/Data. All around people were hurting, struggling and unsure. Support was needed from the announcement and at that time I didn’t know what that solution looked like.

I learned about business and my values, beliefs and strengths as well as my challenges and fears. Before that closure, I was invited to apply for another IT Manager role and by the end of that year that site was also put on notice of closure. I decided then to take control of my life and there was an element of ‘Is the Universe trying to tell me something?’

I still had that burning desire to become part of the solution for others.

What inspired you to enrol with The Coaching Academy?

I googled ‘Life Coaching’ and at the top of the search engine was the Coaching Academy advertising the Free 2-Days in London. I enrolled immediately!

As I sat listening to the coaches, I wondered why it had taken me so long to find this. A few days later my student application was accepted.

What was the most rewarding part of your journey?

Fast forward to March 2018, my redundancy, I imagined picking up the Coaching Academy modules and diving in. I would be qualified by December 2018!

In reality I grieved! I had visualised, planned but, nothing prepared me for that ache of walking away from a 30-year career which I lived and breathed or leaving behind the familiarity of colleagues, some by now friends. I felt stripped of my identity!

In June 2018, I booked a TCA Mentoring session, it was 1 year and 2 months from signing up. This was the session that lifted the fog and in that same month I booked my first Accelerator day. From there I stepped forward!

As an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person mingling with strangers and group exercises were out of my comfort zone. But, that in fact is the whole point of coaching. In life we sit uncomfortably in our comfort zones. If you want to change you have to step out and I made myself visible for a greater good.

I mingled, I coached and I stretched myself. I met wonderful, like minded, people who are also self-employed or use coaching to compliment their roles. I received valuable guidance from the wonderful TCA coaches and mentors. I showed up in order to become the difference I wanted to see.

How did you fit coach training into your busy life?

I used the past year to study and immerse myself in the career I was carving out. Alongside my studies, I wrote my first fictional novella which will be published in 2020.

I was once debilitated by grief and fears about a new beginning, now I walk confidently. I have become the change I wanted to see. I am a solution provider.

Where are you now?

I have set up my own Personal Development Coaching company always ready to welcome new clients and support them through their growth.

How are you using your coaching skills?

I have an eclectic mix of clients with various desires/focuses. What makes it wonderful is that none of them are the same. The world is full of wonderful men and women with dreams.

I love to see a client achieve; the skill set I have, the tools I provide, can be life changing, it is a most amazing feeling. Perhaps the magic is that coaches don’t give advice, diagnose or treat. Coaches have the ability to challenge you and encourage you to take ownership of what you truly want because coaches get you to dig deep.

I am also looking at ways of supporting the students of CodeYourFuture, a non-profit organisation supporting refugees and disadvantaged individuals with the dream of becoming developers.

Additionally, I am writing my second novel.

What is your coaching niche and why did you choose it?

I coach Women in Digital, clients in Personal and Professional Confidence Building and Beginning a new life following Redundancy. With my level of expertise and passion, I am most qualified in these areas. While my story has no place in a coaching session, speaking a client’s language is extremely important.

What are your top tips for:

People who are looking to become qualified as a professional coach?

Get a Coach! Experience the journey your clients will walk!

Coaching is a life skill. You learn to help others reach their precipice. You serve with empathy not sympathy. You leave judgement where it belongs and you offer a safe, confident space for growth. You communicate more effectively with individuals or teams and you get to learn about different personality traits and therefore how to speak their language. Coaching serves everybody; parents, teachers, the corporate world and more. It crosses boundaries and smashes them down.

Those currently in training with TCA?

Enjoy the journey! Use the TCA team, ask questions and become the best coach you can for your clients. Don’t be afraid to step in to your own and make a difference!


Take your first step towards a rewarding & fulfilling career with our FREE FOUNDATION IN LIFE COACHING COURSE