Prior to joining the Professional Coach Development (PCD) Program, Vanessa was a Gallery Administrator in a tertiary institute – a job that allowed her to be in a space which aligned with her love for the creative arts. She also majored in Psychology because of her keen interest and love of understanding and working with people. After receiving her Associated Credited Coach (ACC) credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF), she has combined both of her passions in a coaching business that fuses art therapy and coaching. We catch up with her in this interview.
I would say the most significant change is my leaving my job and starting my own business – The Peace Catcher. Prior to PCD, I was already interested in art therapy, but PCD provided a means for me to obtain practical skills that complemented my art therapy knowledge. I would say this business is the manifestation of both my artistic/creative side and my desire to help people through art and coaching.
I know a lot of people have said this, but I truly feel that one big lesson was about believing in myself. I actually learned that for a good part of my life, I was suffering from something called ‘selective mutism’, but I always brushed it off and chalked it up to my being introverted. Through coaching, I actually gained the self-awareness to recognise my situation and learned how to externalise my ‘inner voice’ in a way to help others. I saw the value of what I could bring to the table, especially when I see clients connect their ‘dots’ for themselves and create their own ‘ah ha’ moments.
Since starting the business, I realise that it’s challenging to get people to be open-minded about art. A lot of people actually limit themselves – I hear things like ‘I can’t draw’ or ‘I have no talent’ or ‘my drawing is so ugly’ all the time. What I have found is that coaching combines well with art therapy because it gives a structure that make the experience less intimidating. My knowledge of both art therapy and coaching actually helps bridge the self-limiting conversations people have around art.
I would say to trust your intuition. I knew I needed to change something in my life, but I was sitting on the fence for the longest time. Signing up for PCD actually opened up a lot of opportunities and possibilities for me. I would even go as far to say that I found my life purpose through coaching. If you are already thinking about it, your intuition is probably telling you something.
Haha, I am hard at work trying to build my dream of becoming a digital nomad. The Peace Catcher is just the first step. I am still creating art as well as conducting consultations for clients who are looking to art therapy as a way to help them unlock their hidden potential.