Coach Interview Series: Janine Gilarde

by Brandon

Janine Gilarde

Certified Health and Wellness Coach

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 Janine Gilarde. Janine is a Certified Health and Wellness Coach based in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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

Janine: I use a holistic, lifestyle approach when I work with clients. I work with people who are ready to make a shift in their lifestyle- whether they want to lose weight, manage chronic diseases, or stress less. The majority of my clients are women between 30 and 65, so it is a wide range. What they all have in common is that they are done with dieting and they want practical, sustainable steps so they can reach their goals, once and for all. I help my client’s shift from a “diet mentality” and help them think about their weight in a holistic way.

Within that framework, I start with the focus on nutrition. What I call the “what” “when” and “where” of eating, because all these aspects can make a difference when it comes to losing weight. I then take it a step further and look at all the other reasons why someone may be struggling with their weight. From a holistic perspective, this includes lifestyle factors like sleep, stress, exercise and relationships. This approach helps my clients find the root cause of their unique challenges. We work together to find solutions that fit their lifestyle. It’s a very personalized approach.

NCA: What prompted you to choose coaching as your path instead of becoming, say, a nutritionist?

Janine: It’s not that I didn’t think about studying to become a nutritionist, but I felt that route would box me in to working in very prescriptive manner with clients.

I felt coaching gave me the tools to support and meet people where they were at, instead of giving them a meal plan and hoping they would follow it! Instead of being prescriptive, I can offer clients solutions to their specific struggles rather than saying, “Okay, why don’t you just eat this? Here’s a meal plan for you.” Coaching really gets down to habits, mindset, and positive psychology, which helps people figure out what is working, as opposed to what’s not working. It helps people become empowered and it builds self-efficacy.

We all know what we “should” be eating better and exercising more, for example, but it’s about doing it. Setting goals and putting things into action. That’s where a coach can be invaluable.

One of the things that I learned early on was that I don’t have to be an expert. That’s not what coaching is. My clients are the experts in their lives.

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

Janine: I feel honored to be a part of somebody’s journey while they’re shifting their lifestyle. I find that very, very rewarding. The wins that I see people achieving and the resilience that I witness are the most rewarding aspects of working with clients.

The challenging aspect of coaching for me is the business and marketing side. I think it’s important to educate people so that they understand the importance of investing in a coach.

What I also find challenging is that I get a lot of people who call me and they’re looking for somebody who is going to tell them what to eat. “Just tell me what to eat,” and I’ll say “That’s not what I do!” [laughing]

I could tell you what to eat, but how sustainable is that?

NCA: Can you share some of the kinds of personal development you practice for yourself?

Janine: I like to self-reflect- whether it’s practicing yoga, meditation, Reiki, or some other kind of self-inquiry. There are people that I follow in these areas that help me grow as a person.

NCA: One of the most common challenges new coaches face is self-doubt. Some coaches call it Imposter Syndrome, where early on they feel somehow inadequate to take on the role of coach. What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is in the beginning stage of their coaching career and dealing with these doubts in their mind?

Janine: One of the things that I learned early on was that I don’t have to be an expert. That’s not what coaching is. My clients are the experts in their lives. My advice, if you want to be an expert coach, practicing and honing your craft is one of the key fundamentals to live by.

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