Coach in the Spotlight: Marie de Champchesnel

Marie de Champchesnel discovered that her true calling was to help others fulfil their potential through being coached herself. In our Q&A, Marie shares her experiences of building her career coaching practice and explains how seeing people make the smaller shifts can be the most rewarding.

How did you become a coach?

I spent more than 20 years in the Arts & Creative Industries before becoming a coach and thoroughly enjoyed the creative aspects as well as the opportunity to meet new artists and travel. However it was also a pretty stressful and at times toxic environment. 

In 2005, I experienced a burn-out and found it difficult to recover my motivation.  As a result, I enrolled in evening art & wellbeing courses and began creating jewellery as a side hustle. But by 2012 I still felt disconnected from my passion and ultimately unfulfilled. 

That’s when a friend recommended that I work with a career coach, which proved to be a transformative experience.

The coaching sessions helped me discover that my true calling was to help others fulfil their potential. When my role was made redundant in 2014, I saw it as an opportunity to change career path and became a coach myself.


What led you into career coaching?

Having decided to become a coach, I spent some time exploring exactly how and where I wanted to coach. The more I started working with people the more I realised how much I wanted to help people find work they love more quickly than I did, so it made sense for me to specialise in career coaching.

I know from my own journey how helpful career coaching was when it came to making decisions and progressing on my career path. 

Changing career was a long and at times challenging process for me, as I struggled with uncertainty regarding the direction to take. But the tools I acquired during my sessions really helped me along the way and still do.



I know from my own journey how helpful career coaching was when it came to making decisions and progressing on my career path.



Why did you decide to become Firework trained?

Before training with Firework, I had some tools to work with, but I didn’t have a solid framework to put them in. I really liked the structure the programme provides and the flexibility of using it as a full programme or picking and choosing the tools that work best for my clients.

I found that having a set of proven and tested tools, as well as a structure, is really reassuring for clients and helps them gain a sense of direction during times when things can feel uncertain and overwhelming.



Having a set of proven and tested tools, as well as a structure, is really reassuring for clients.



How have you used Firework with your clients?

I offer a choice of 6 or 10 session programmes depending on where my client is at in their transition. I use the Firework framework as the foundation because it is a great way to guide a client through a career change journey.

I love using the Ideas Bank as a way of discovering work themes, exploring new career possibilities and helping clients become aware of the common thread which runs through their work.


Who do you typically work with?

I typically work with women in their 30s & 40s who want to find a more creative and meaningful career path.


What results/outcomes have you helped your clients achieve?

Clients often come to me for coaching feeling unhappy and lost in their career. They want more clarity and to regain their confidence so they can make better choices for themselves.

A lot of my clients also want to find a way to express their creative side, whether that’s by reconnecting to their passions, finding work in a more creative environment or switching to the art industry.

I help them understand what they truly love and give them the confidence to take the first step towards a more creative path.

By the very nature of career coaching, the outcomes we deliver are transformative. I have helped clients transition into new roles and industries when they have lacked confidence. Clients have gained the confidence to go part-time, ask for a raise and start exploring their creativity or other avenues when they formerly thought it was impossible.



By the very nature of career coaching, the outcomes we deliver are transformative.



What challenges do your career coaching clients come to you with?

A lot of my clients come to me feeling lost, confused, and unhappy. They don’t feel connected to themselves and what they want. They’re often stressed and overwhelmed, and they don’t feel valued in their work.

Coaching helps them reconnect with who they truly are, realign with what they truly love and reimagine a career that brings them joy.


How did you build your coaching business?

Being a coach is an on-going journey of learning and growth, personally and professionally.

After I finished my training in 2016, I started coaching in the evenings and one day a week while still keeping my job as an Ops director for a construction & interior design company. It was a slow process. But in 2020, I joined an organisation that specialises in career coaching, which gave me the opportunity to work with clients from different walks of life.

As a coach and a business owner, you always have to be working on all aspects of your business and networking.

Having a website and an online presence is important for visibility and credibility, but it’s all about building and nurturing relationships and growing your practice organically.


What has been the most effective way of sourcing new clients?

At the beginning working for another organisation was a great way to get clients without having to focus on marketing & sales. Building an online presence is very important but, for me, the majority of my clients come from referrals and word of mouth.



Being a coach is an ongoing journey of learning and growth, personally and professionally.



What challenges have you faced when it comes to your coaching practice?

Learning how to navigate social media and managing my online presence has been challenging.

I’ve mostly worked with entrepreneurs so I understand the different aspects of running a business, but sometimes it is hard to stay motivated and on track when I’m working alone. 

In 2022, I joined a business mastermind group and it really helped me gain the vision and direction I was lacking.

Connections and collaborations are really important for me and something I want to focus on more this year.


How do you see your work evolving?

There are four key areas I want to focus on: keep coaching clients one-on-one, offer master classes and create a group programme as well as exploring some form of collaboration with other coaches. 

And some sort of creativity, whether it is for me to be creative or be part of a creative enterprise, as it is at the heart of my work.


What lessons have you learnt in your experience as a coach? Is there anything you wish you'd done differently?

As an introvert, it’s easier for me to listen to people than talk about myself. But if you don’t share what you do, no one will know about it. So it’s been really important for me to figure out how I can be visible while still being true to myself, especially when it comes to social media. 

I wish I had invested more in myself when I first started. I think it’s important not only to keep learning and growing as a coach, but also to be part of a larger community and learn from each other.

It’s also important not to compare yourself to others. We’re all different and each of us brings something unique to our practice and keeping that in mind is key.


What advice do you have for new coaches starting out?

Being a coach is not just about the coaching itself, you’re also running a business. So starting off with the right mindset is a huge plus. 

One thing that I learnt from my business coach is that where you are now is where you’re supposed to be. As a business owner and a solopreneur, it is easy to fall into the trap of ‘being busy’ and filling the space especially at the beginning. But if you’re here for the long run you’re going to have to learn to pace yourself. Follow the season of your practice, maybe you’re tilling the soil or planting the seeds now and that’s okay. Building a practice takes time and nurturing.

Investing in yourself to keep learning and growing is important – as is finding a community to support you.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and reach out to fellow coaches, the more you coach, the more you’ll be able to identify your ideal clients, your style of coaching, and from there start building your practice.


Building a practice takes time and nurturing.


What’s the most rewarding thing about being a coach?

Seeing a client making a big career change is definitely satisfying, but it’s the smaller shifts that are the most rewarding. Seeing someone go from not feeling valued to standing up for themselves, daring to do the things they love after repressing it for years, starting a new journey with more confidence and knowing what’s important to them – that’s why I do what I do



Marie de Champchesnel is a Firework-licensed Career Coach with more than 20 years' experience in the Arts & Creative Industry. She coaches women in their 30s & 40s who struggle to recognise their own abilities and achievements. She has an inside-out approach and offers 1:1 online coaching programmes from 1-6 months to help women to go from lost and unhappy to having clarity and confidence in their career path by reconnecting to their authentic selves. Find out more about Marie at