Coach Interview Series: Danielle Waldman

by Brandon

Danielle Waldman

Life Coach and Women’s Circle Leader

Our main objective here at the National Coach Academy is to enable aspiring coaches to reach their full professional potential. One of the most effective ways to educate students about the world of coaching is by offering them a window into the world of real, practicing coaches and showing them all the different ways coaches make a difference in the lives of their clients.

We hope today’s interview adds another insightful glimpse into the dynamic world of coaching.

Today we are interviewing Danielle Waldman. Danielle is a Life Coach, Reiki Healer, and Women’s Circle Leader based in Washington D.C. She is also a Circle Leader Trainer at Inner Glow Circle.

NCA: Can you describe your coaching practice and the kinds of clients you typically work with?

Danielle: I have a one-on-one coaching practice and I also work with a coach training and education company for women called Inner Glow Circle. I work with all-identifying women who have a desire to dive deeper within. Typically entails learning how to connect with themselves more and creating the type of life that they really want for themselves.

What coincides with that is one of the big things that I talk a lot about in my work: women’s circles. Women’s circles are a place for women to come together, to gather, to connect, to share. It’s almost like networking, but it’s done in more of a vulnerable and really soft space.

There are loads of different types of women’s circles out there. There are some that are very spiritual. There are some that are really business-oriented. There are some that talk about sexuality. It’s endless how many different types of gatherings are out there.

One of the things that I work with with Inner Glow Circle is running a program for women’s circle leader trainers. We teach women how to create and lead circles, and then they become a certified circle leader trainer with Inner Glow Circle. We keep the classes pretty small but we run multiple classes.

It’s incredible and something that I’m so grateful to be a part of. It’s definitely a huge part of my life. It’s my life’s purpose, for sure. That’s one of the big things that I really talk a lot about — circles and leaderships around that realm.

NCA: Can you talk a little bit about specifically what challenges your clients often are facing in their lives when they come to you? What would you say are some of the most common hurdles that they’re trying to cross?

Danielle: One of the biggest things is speaking their truth and really being able to say what they truly want to say. I think a lot of women were programmed not to — I know that I definitely was. People often tend to coach around the things that they have struggled with in their life. For me, speaking my truth was something that I have always struggled with and now that’s one of the big things that I coach around. That’s one of the huge things.

A lot of it is around confidence. Feeling confident in themselves, feeling confident with their voice, feeling confident with the type of life that they are leading and the their life path even though it might look different than the next person.

The final thing is connecting more with themselves. Listening to their inner voice, listening to their inner guidance, and choosing to live life with their heart.

NCA: Since you do work exclusively with women, I want to dig a little deeper into why you think these challenges are more prevalent among women than men (although plenty of men struggle with this, too)? Why do you think that that is the case and how did that come about, in your opinion?

Danielle: To your point, of course there are men, too. This is really for all genders — speaking their truth. I think that there needs to be more spaces for men to be vulnerable and we need to support men in knowing it’s okay to express themselves and their emotions and vulnerability.

With regards to women, I think it’s the system we live in that women’s voices have been silenced for a very long time. I equate it to the workplace and the many places that I have been a part of. I’ve witnessed women being afraid and timid to speak their voice and to share their truth — myself included.

I think a lot of women are coming forward and really channeling their inner wild women, digging deep, and speaking their truth, which is a beautiful thing to witness. I think all genders are doing that, not just women.

The fear is so deep down within us of saying the thing that we want to say. I think about little girls and I think about my own experience when I was little. I was told to be nice and to look pretty and to speak a certain way and to look a certain way. It starts at a very young age, even as soon as we come into this world.

I definitely think geography has a lot to do with it. I’m based in Washington D.C. and D.C. is a very liberal city. You have lots of little girls and children here in general that have pretty kickass parents just letting them do what they want to do. Of course, I do think it’s generational as well and I definitely see it changing. But I also think about other areas in the world where it’s obviously not changing.

It’s very easy to get into the mindset of “I’ve got to do this alone. I’ve got to be independent. I need to show everybody that I can succeed on my own.” But a strong leader shows vulnerability and has a support system and a team. You don’t have to do it alone.

NCA: In working with your clients, what would you say is the most rewarding part of that experience and on the flip side of that, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Danielle: It’s so rewarding when I witness someone living the life that they want to for themselves and not for somebody else. One of Inner Glow Circle’s values is to create the thing that you wish existed. When I see women doing that, creating circles and creating community and spaces that they really desire, that’s what really hits my heart. I love witnessing them talk about how powerful these spaces are and how much of an impact it has on them.

Some of these people are parents which is a challenge. They need an outlet to be able to share and connect with others. Some are going through a divorce, loss, or grief and we need more spaces to be able to share. When I witness someone creating a space that allows other people to share, that hits home for me. And the other piece: people being able to live the life that they want for themselves. That’s definitely the most rewarding.

The most challenging? Even though there is the ICF, anybody could wake up tomorrow and say, “I am a coach,” which can create a lot of harm.

The thing that I find to be really interesting about the coaching industry has to do with the digital age that we’re in and how we’re all very much on the internet. One of the huge things with social media platforms like Instagram is it can become very self-centric. Coaching, if you choose to let it be a lesson for you, forces you to really check yourself.

As a coach, I think it’s important that you have a coach or you have a support team that can help you keep yourself intact so you can constantly dig deeper into yourself. Because it’s so easy to be like, “Oh, I put this thing out. I’m all-knowing. Everyone’s going to want to listen to me.” It’s very easy as a collective to embody that mentality.

I think the challenging piece is staying in your lane and knowing that you have a purpose. It’s when you feel yourself going into that comparison mode and seeing, “Oh, this person is on Instagram and they’ve got all of these followers.” I think that is definitely a challenge and other coaches that I know that I’m friends with or that I work with have also experienced that.

NCA: Can you think of a mentor in your coaching career who was instrumental in getting you to the point you’re at today and how did this mentor help you thrive?

Danielle: There are two people that come to mind. One is the person who even got me into the coaching world and the other one is a coach that I’ve worked with. Both are very different but both are just amazing individuals.

My first mentor, her name is Katie and she is the founder and CEO of Inner Glow Circle. I found her before I even got into the coaching world. She introduced me to it. The big thing is that she has really allowed me to see the possibility and that’s so much of what coaching is about. We want our clients to see the possibility. As a mentor and as a friend, that has been consistent for me.

It’s being able to see the possibility through what she’s reflecting back to me and pushing me. She challenges me but in the best way possible. Challenges me to really get clear on what I want to bring into this world and to know that I can find my purpose and I can create it. Maybe it’s not going to work like everybody else’s. Everyone else might look different and that’s amazing. She definitely has pushed me to thrive.

My other mentor, my coach that I work with now, has just held so much space for me in this really soft way that has given me the invitation to really take a hard look at my wounds and what’s coming out for me. She’s a therapist and a coach and she combines both, so it’s a little bit different than the norm. We’re really hard on ourselves as humans and she has really taught me to be gentle and to choose love and to give myself the space to just be.

NCA: What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is just getting started in the coaching world?

Danielle: Know that you don’t have to do this work alone. It’s really great to have a support team whether it’s a friend, family, a coach, a mentor, a therapist — whatever your support team looks like. I always ask people to take a look at who your team is. I have my own team: Team Danielle. Everyone’s list is going to look different. I might have my mom or someone else might have their sister or their therapist.

It’s very easy to get into the mindset of “I’ve got to do this alone. I’ve got to be independent. I need to show everybody that I can succeed on my own.” But a strong leader shows vulnerability and has a support system and a team. You don’t have to do it alone. Have a support team and that makes you so much more powerful and it will help you succeed.

Previous post:

Next post: