From a medical background as a therapy radiographer to the buzz and busyness of working through her coaching diplomas; Andrea Chapman shares her journey to becoming a coach and has a very interesting niche! As a single mum of twin boys, here's how Andrea handled the experience.

Wow what a ride I have just had and now, for the beginning.

It was March 2012 when I enrolled on The Coaching Academy's free certificate weekend, the introduction to coaching. My heart was aflutter and my mind was wondering what on earth coaching was. The first thing that struck me was the overwhelming friendliness of the coaching academy coaches, how professional and natural they were. Then I realised how busy the course was. Full of multi cultural, multi-zested, empowered individuals just like myself. I felt energy and vibrancy as I settled myself for what was to come.

I was wowed by the information given and taught to me and it was then that I acquired my passion for coaching. Still unaware that I could actually coach people, I just knew I wanted to help people live their best life.

My mother first introduced me to coaching as she witnessed some sessions on the TV and knew it was for me. I come from a medical background once being a therapy radiographer so this put me in good stead as I know the difference between counselling and coaching.

Having passed the initial interview and selection process I embarked on the PPD and the Corporate and Executive diploma. I was raring to go however fearful of the dedication required to achieve 2 diplomas. I had great chats with the coaching academy and everyone was so positive and encouraging. I decided to go to my accelerator days over the weekends back to back. Exhausting yet so energising.

Once on the course the accelerator days were amazing for learning and practising coaching as well as meeting and networking within the coaching community. They were priceless. Great to see what you aspire to as the trainers are second to none :)

The practical assessments were the most nerve racking parts, however they are the most rewarding and only way to learn, as let's face it, this is what we do once qualified. Constructive criticism was always given with great diplomacy and positively and great feedback always creates movement.

As I am a single parent of twin boys and also have a part time job I had to have coaching myself to extend my days and train myself to sleep less. Honestly though I truly believe everyone needs a coach, I was so lucky to meet mine at one of the accelerator days. We just clicked and now we are very good friends. That is one of the amazing things about the course. The meeting of some amazing like minded souls. :)

At the start, when I received “the box full of course work and DVD’s” I wanted to submit both PPD and CED consecutively, however I think I underestimated the amount of work that has to be done to submit. I read all the introduction books twice, felt so inspired that I then found myself logging on to the website to find my first Accelerator days to go on. If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it would be to keep up with your paperwork after each accelerator day and module, as well as recording your coaching sessions the moment you have finished.

I qualified in March 2013 with a high Merit for my PPD and then with a Distinction in August for my CED. I can still feel the buzz of pride as I write this!

I have now found a niche in the cross dressing community under the transvestite umbrella. Why? Because I can use all my PPD coaching skills for the female side to the cross dresser and the CED skills as the majority of them are corporate executives and leaders. I also coach corporate who do not cross dress in I hasten to add :)

It's so exciting to encourage my clients in confidence, image, femininity, leadership and especially how they can use their strengths, and weaknesses, to move forward. My favourite coaching question at the moment is "how are you getting in the way of achieving your goal?" and "what is the worst thing that could happen?" I find these questions acquire the most silence from the client, then a smile and then acknowledgment from the client that they are the barrier to their success, or that in fact nothing major would or could happen, it’s really in their head.

I love to make a difference with my client’s lives and feel very privileged to know everything about them. I hope that with my networking and visiting clubs in this community and promoting myself and what coaching can do for them, as well as writing about coaching on a club and dressing service website, I hope to be huge and international. Well there is no point in thinking small hey??

I find that networking is the key and the first few years are all about marketing coaching and yourself. If you are passionate and positive about something people see this and ask questions why. Energy and focus is key, so remember work life balance, keep healthy and eat well and have fun. Be curious and always be on the want for more knowledge.

I know I have stacks to learn and I am so excited about doing it. Good luck to all of you. This course has changed my life completely and my journey has only just begun...........

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