Archive for the ‘Health Coach Profile’ Category

Meet Health Coach Mary Jo Clarkson: Helping Pregnant, High-Risk Women on Path to Optimum Wellness

July 6th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices she made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

Mary Jo Clarkson, RN, BSN, CHC, specializing in pre-conceptual health and wellness for FEMTIQUE, Associates, Inc.

HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

Mary Jo Clarkson: My first job out of college was as a new staff GN (graduate nurse) on a surgical floor in a Wilmington, DE hospital. Since that time, I specialized in OB/GYN nursing, in staff, management and case management positions. I have also taught prenatal classes, and was involved in the corporate world for nine years, in the pharmaceutical industry.

My friend and colleague of several years, Judith Beaulieu, was starting a new company called FEMTIQUE. She wanted me to be a part of it, and to become a certified health coach along with her. My experience in the corporate world helped me to develop and manage business skills within a professional health coaching practice, with a focus on coaching women experiencing high-risk pregnancies.

Have you received any health coaching certifications? If so, please list these certifications.

I am a CHC (certified health coach) from HCA. I am also a member of the Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN), and am currently pursuing certification as a breastfeeding counseling coach through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP).

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

I always felt a ‘calling’ to help women who were trying to become pregnant or already pregnant. So when Judy came to me with her business plan, I immediately knew that was a way I would be able to help the most women.

In brief, describe your organization.

FEMTIQUE Associates, Inc. is a non-profit healthcare advocate and health coach organization providing health and wellness care information and resources for women and children, so they can attain better outcomes in their lives and maintain an optimum level of wellness.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

  • Complete confidentiality, with all clients.
  • The client determines his/her long-term goals and we guide them through the steps to achieve their goals.
  • We are NOT always successful in achieving all of our clients’ goals.
  • Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

    The trend is towards more community-based healthcare services.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    When you see the client become empowered, because they have taken all the necessary steps to achieve their optimum level of wellness and they are accomplishing their goals.

    What is the greatest challenge of health coaching, and how are you working to overcome this challenge?

    When clients’ road blocks stop them from achieving their goals. As health coaches, we help our clients work through these road blocks by showing them more paths around and through them.

    What is the single most effective workflow, process, tool or form that you are using in coaching today?

    We utilize M.A.S.T.E.R. goal planning software. It is very successful right now.

    Where did you grow up?

    In Springfield, PA.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    St. Joseph’s University and Neumann University.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I am married and have one child.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    Cooking and sewing are my favorite hobbies – they both developed in my childhood from watching my Italian grandmother cook for hours with pleasure, and sewing many dresses, with just a few measurements and creating something beautiful.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    Come Home by Lisa Scottoline.

    Meet Health Coaching Director Cheryl Walker: Integrative Care, Motivational Interviewing Future Trends

    June 7th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

    This month’s inside look at the director of the nation’s first master’s degree program for health and wellness coaching.

    Meet Cheryl Walker, ML, MCC, Academic Director for Tai Sophia Institute’s Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching.

    HIN: Describe the Health and Wellness Coaching Program at Tai Sophia Institute.

    Cheryl Walker We are teaching what I like to call the “art and science of behavior change.” Our students begin the program gaining a basic understanding of what constitutes wellness. Next they learn about behavior change through study of the International Coach Federation coaching competencies. They also learn Motivational Interviewing, an evidence-based model for behavior change, and then complete a 21-hour practicum, where they actually work with clients.

    There are four key components that distinguish our program.

    First, we teach students the concept that the body is wise. We teach them how to listen to their own bodies, how to key in to their symptoms, and how to understand what is happening so that they can, in turn, teach their clients to do the same.

    Second, we teach our students to use nature as a model or a blueprint for health and wellness. When we observe nature we can see a natural rhythm, and if we follow that rhythm we can experience health and healing. For example, winter is a time for quiet and going within. People can ask themselves if this quiet, too, is something that they need, rather than being overly active. Or perhaps, they may need more time to play and be active, qualities experienced in summer. We teach our students how to assess these qualities in themselves so they can teach that to their clients.

    The third thing that we teach is that there is a biochemical reaction in the body that happens with the words that we speak. So, when we say things that have a more positive nature, we are actually enhancing health. When we speak words that are more negative, we can actually, if we tune in, feel our body shut down. We teach our students to have a high level of awareness of what they’re speaking, how they speak it, and how to begin to choose words that generate health.

    Finally, the other distinguishing piece to our coaching program, (and to all of our programs at Tai Sophia) is that we teach our students how to be a healing presence for others. Over the years people have consistently told us that when they walked into the office of a practitioner who graduated from Tai Sophia, they started to feel better right away. When we really looked at that experience and pulled it apart, we discovered that we really were teaching our students how to establish rapport with clients and how to have a compelling presence and demeanor that actually inspires change. So we began to purposefully teach healing presence as an integral part of our program.

    I also want to emphasize that all of our courses in our coaching program have been approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF), enabling our graduates to apply to become certified coaches through the ICF. Right now, ICF is the gold standard professional organization of coaches.

    What drove Tai Sophia Institute to create this program?

    We have always been on the cutting edge of innovative practices in health and wellness, so establishing a health and wellness coaching program seemed like a natural next step for us as well.

    On a national level, all of us are aware that we are facing an extremely large health crisis. It’s been widely reported that 70 percent of doctor visits are preventable and are directly related to behavior. Yet, in spite of having more information about how to stay healthy than ever before, we have more chronic illness. Studies show that although education is an important component, it’s not enough and coaching can be the lynchpin between education and actually helping people make sustainable changes. The Affordable Care Act named health and wellness coaching as a key component to a new healthcare model. As with all our programs at Tai Sophia, we continue to stay on the forefront of the best health and wellness practices.

    What led you into the field?

    I’ve been an educator all my professional life. Yet, while I know that education is a key component in helping people, I know that education is clearly not enough. I find myself philosophically aligned to the theory and practice of coaching. Coaching is based on positive psychology which focuses on what’s working in a person’s life, rather than what’s broken. Coaching works to build on a person’s successes, and on their values; it looks at whatever goals or challenges a person has within the context of his or her whole life and what she or he cares about. Coaching also taps into a person’s intrinsic motivation to change. My experience has been that there’s nothing more thrilling than to work with people and see them have their own epiphanies as to why they get stuck and then see them begin to make positive change.

    Who is the main demographic for your program and has it changed?

    The demographic for this program has remained pretty consistent. About a third to a half are already healthcare professionals looking to either develop a new skill set or transition to another way of practicing their profession. Others come from the field of human resources and the business world and have an interest in working in corporate wellness programs. And some people have had a long-time interest in wellness and helping other people.

    Has the field of health coaching changed in the last five years?

    I think the biggest change is that we’re seeing a shift from disease management to true coaching. In other words, the trend is towards putting the client at the center of care, recognizing that the client is the expert and that the role of the professional is to be a partner in the relationship. Another very significant change is the creation of the National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches (NCCHWC). Harvard, Duke, the University of Minnesota, Wellcoaches Corporation and some others have been involved in defining the field and developing professional standards, scope of practice and a certification process. We at Tai Sophia have also played a part by being on committees on this consortium.

    Another trend that I think is very important is that health professional schools now are incorporating coaching into their curriculum. For example, I taught a health coaching course for two semesters to pharmacy students at the School of Pharmacy – Notre Dame of Maryland University. In addition, there have been nursing schools that have approached us about teaching health coaching to their students. It’s definitely an exciting trend that we see developing.

    What are the main trends in health coaching now, for example, telephonic or virtual within the PCP office or in private practice?

    It seems most coaching is done by phone. Most of our students and alumni are working telephonically, which is very efficient and effective. I’m sure there are people coaching virtually, as well, perhaps, through video cams. I’m not aware of that, but I suspect that’s probably being done. There is also a trend toward primary care physicians working with coaches. I am currently in conversation with a local doctor who is interested in that.

    How is social media and technology, I Phone apps for example, affecting health coach delivery?

    I know that there are coaches using social media for marketing their practices as well as for forming professional groups. There are also apps for tracking food and diet and exercise.

    What trend or path will the field be locking onto for 2012?

    I think the most important thing will be working towards a national certification.

    Where do you see the industry going beyond that in the next five years?

    Again, I think more doctors and other healthcare professionals like chiropractors, acupuncturists, dieticians and nutritionists will incorporate coaches as part of an integrative practice. I also believe there will be a continuation of coaching classes being incorporated into academic professional programs. We are the first school in the country to offer a master’s degree in health and wellness coaching, and I suspect that we’ll see more schools offering it as well.

    What do you see as the greatest challenge of health coaching and how is Tai Sophia’s program addressing this challenge?

    As with any new field, the main challenge is that it is relatively unknown and the public needs to be educated so they understand the benefits of coaching. Two ways we are meeting this challenge is to stay involved with NCCHWC and be aligned with the best practices in the field, and by developing strategic partners with innovators in healthcare. We are working with our local health department in a statewide demonstration project which is utilizing health coaches to provide community based healthcare. In addition, there’s a free community clinic in Washington D. C. that’s interested in providing internships for our students. We will continue to look for ways to work with progressive organizations and bring credibility to the field.

    What is the single most effective workflow process tool or form coaches are using today?

    In my opinion, Motivational Interviewing (MI) is the most effective model in behavior change. This process begins by assessing a person’s readiness to change. We can’t assume that everybody is actually ready to change. Motivational interviewing assesses where a person is on a spectrum, and helps them move up the spectrum. Coaches utilizing an MI approach are actively listening to what a person is saying and then reflecting back what they hear. This process helps a person see that they may have ambivalence to actually changing. The reason people have difficulty making behavior change is not because they are lazy or unmotivated. People have difficulty because there is some ambivalence to change of which they are unaware. Through questioning and listening you can reveal some level of ambivalence to change. And once that’s discovered, a person is freed up to start to move forward. MI also looks at how important change is to a person, and how confident they are that they can change. For instance, a person may say they want to stop smoking, and in fact it’s important to them because they may have developed some health issues, but they don’t yet have the confidence that they can change. So we work with them to increase their confidence level.

    Q&A: Patient Interaction Key to Evidence-Based Health Coaching

    April 12th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller


    How a health coach interacts with and engages their clients can affect their compliance and outcomes, explains Melinda Huffman, partner in Miller and Huffman Outcome Architects, co-founder of the National Society of Health Coaches, and a cardiovascular clinical specialist, writer and author. We recently spoke with Melinda about what led her into the field of health coaching, how it’s changed over the years, and some of the trends she will lock onto for 2012.

    HIN: What led you into the field of health coaching?

    Response (Melinda Huffman): I was born with a cardiac defect and had corrective surgery at the age of seven. I went on to lead a very healthy and very active life, but this experience ultimately had a great influence on the career path that I chose. As a professional in practice, I realized that how I interacted with and engaged my cardiovascular patients had a very positive effect on their outcomes. It wasn’t anything scientific, but yet I knew that there was a difference in how they responded.

    In 2005, I began to write about how important it was to partner with patients to improve their compliance with the purpose of working from their agenda instead of only teaching at them or directing them unilaterally from my or the provider’s agenda. During this time I also discovered that behavioral health had an awful lot to offer the medical community in this realm with motivational interviewing having caught my attention.

    In 2007, Colleen Miller (Melinda’s business partner) and I began talking about our similar work experiences and our conclusions that if clinicians engaged patients differently that we could have a unique opportunity to positively not only affect their compliance but affect outcomes and costs very differently than we had in the past. And we decided, we really needed to develop an evidence-based program of instruction to educate healthcare professionals to achieve this end. Subsequent to this the National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC) was founded as an educational division of Miller and Huffman.

    HIN: How has the demographic of health coaches changed over the last five years?

    Response (Melinda Huffman): We’re seeing an increase in the movement towards the use of a licensed person as a health coach. And that’s because a licensed provider can more safely guide a patient or consumer through a wider range of issues, from prevention and wellness all the way to living with a chronic condition.

    HIN: How are health coaches received by the medical establishment and how has it changed?

    Response: (Melinda Huffman) It’s been extraordinarily well received. We get calls regularly from physicians who not only want to learn some coaching skills but also want to extend this to their staff who interact with their patients. They’re now beginning to realize just what an important impact health coaching can have. Five years ago we received very few calls from physicians about educating their staff.

    Also, we’re beginning to see in the medical literature more written about health coaching and informational interviewing in particular. For the most part it was nonexistent five years ago, while very prevalent in behavioral health literature and researched, over 30 years of research in motivational interviewing. That’s basically what began to move payors in the direction of health coaching, because it comprised some motivational interviewing concepts. And with the kind of research and outcomes that they were being able to generate in the way of those with chronic conditions such as alcoholism and so forth, they felt like it was time to really look at what could happen when using that type of intervention with those with chronic conditions and had quite a bit of success.

    So the medical establishment now wants health coaching practices to be evidence-based, as should. And there are many organizations who offer health coaching or who engage in health coaching that is not evidence-based. That is something that the user needs to keep an eye out for. But that’s why motivational interviewing has gained such widespread interest and appeal for physicians, because it has that 30 years of supporting research behind that particular intervention.

    HIN: What trend or path will you be locking on for 2012?

    Response: (Melinda Huffman) Working with medical homes, accountable care organizations and state governments to educate staff in evidence based health coaching. Also, mobile applications for clinicians including virtual skills practice modules to hone newly acquired health coaching skills that really make it more convenient whenever the clinician needs it and wherever they happen to be at that time. Those will be our primary trends going forward in 2012.

    Meet Health Coach Kathleen Jones: Waking People Up to Their Resources and Potential

    April 4th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

    This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices she made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

    Kathleen Jones, MA, Wellness Coach Mentor, LifeSynch, Humana.

    HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

    Kathleen Jones: I was fortunate to find a faculty position in a family medicine training program after finishing graduate school. I served as core faculty for over 20 years, teaching wellness and lifestyle medicine to the resident family physicians. My position also included a clinical component, coaching patients in wellness and lifestyle change. My colleagues and I developed a lifestyle medicine team and clinic on site, allowing coaches and family medicine physicians to work alongside one another – a very unusual collaborative setting.

    Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

    Yes, listening to Lee Lipsenthal, MD, describe how profoundly our thoughts impact the heart. In those moments, I made the promise to live more in line with my heart – which led to the difficult decision to leave my academic and clinical faculty role to focus on coaching. I now provide online and telephonic coaching through Humana, and serve as a mentor to a team of coaches – a position that I absolutely love!

    In brief, describe your organization.

    LifeSynch and its parent organization, Humana, employ a highly skilled and talented team of coaches committed to helping people achieve life-long well being “living with a balanced sense of purpose, belonging, security, and health.”

    What are some important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

    To recognize and reflect back strengths and, from Robert Biswas-Diener, to show people what is possible, and then to wake them up to the idea that they have the personal resources to enact change in their own lives.

    What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?

    There are a great number of successes; I’m impressed with LifeSynch’s ability to operationalize an effective coaching model on a very large scale and across a wide spectrum of client needs.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

    I envision continued demand for coaching with increased standards of quality and professionalism.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    I personally enjoy the moment-to-moment “flow” of coaching sessions; listening and asking into what a person most wants to move toward in his or her life.

    Where did you grow up?

    I’ve lived in Colorado my entire life.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    My college education was through Colorado State University (undergrad) and the University of Northern Colorado (graduate school). I’ve since continued my education in coaching, completing certifications in intrinsic coaching, real balance, and advanced motivational interviewing. I’m currently enrolled in a positive psychology and well-being master class through MentorCoach.

    One standout moment was when I made the switch from ˜expert” to coach. The patient I was working with gave me a hug and shared how excited she was to move forward. That was my first glimpse of the power of coaching.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I am married with two college-aged sons.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    Right now my favorite activity is teaching yoga. It keeps me balanced and grounded, and allows me to help others find that for themselves.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    I recently read A Philosopher’s Notes, by Brian Johnson – a book that’s both playful and deep. Here’s a line from his book: Self, did we get a little better today?

    Any additional comments?

    Balance is taking care of your body,
    learning to accept and appreciate your own limitations,
    being open to new ways of thinking,
    and remembering to listen from your heart.

    From Lee Lipsenthal, MD

    Meet Health Coach Lorie Gardner: Health Coaches Key to Patient-Centered Care and Preventive Medicine

    March 7th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

    This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices she made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

    Excerpted from the March 2012 Health Coach Huddle.

    Lorie Gardner, RN, BSN, CEO/Founder HealthLink Advocates, Inc.

    HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

    Lorie Gardner: My first job out of college was at NYU Medical Center in Manhattan in 1978. It was an incredible acute care, inner city setting where I learned a tremendous amount in a very short time. During my experience there I realized very quickly that there was more to health and healing than “conventional” medicine. I witnessed at that time the power and strength of the mind in the healing success of patients, and that was the beginning of my interest in health coaching.

    Have you received any health coaching certifications? If so, please list these certifications.

    I recently completed the 14-week Wellness Inventory certification program.

    Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

    After staying home to raise my family, I was offered a consultant job as a clinical study manager at a large orthopaedic company managing clinical studies. I had experience in this field prior to staying home to raise my children. As I continued my work at this company it became clear that I needed to be working more directly with people and assisting them with their healthcare. I did not feel my gifts and talents were being fully used in that company and felt a calling back to the nursing field in some capacity.

    In brief, describe your organization.

    After a year-long credentialing course by Healthcare Liaison, I started my business as a healthcare advocate in March of 2010. My firm, HealthLink Advocates, Inc. is dedicated to achieving quality healthcare for clients through care coordination, education and research and health coaching. We recently affiliated with FEMTIQUE Associates Inc., a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization that provides professional health coaching to women and their families.

    What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

      Providing my clients with a safe space to optimize coaching and communication.
      Ensuring that my clients know that the coaching relationship is a partnership to provide facilitation of their direction and motivation.
      To be an excellent listener and ask masterful questions that facilitate increased awareness in my clients.

    What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?

    Providing information to the community that the services of a health/wellness coach and a healthcare advocate are available for those that choose to optimize their healthcare and wellness.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

    The new healthcare reform is clearly directed towards both patient-centered care and preventive medicine. I believe that healthcare advocates and health coaching will be a key component in achieving these goals for patients as well as the healthcare system.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    Clearly, for me, the most satisfying aspect of health coaching is the sense of accomplishment when a client experiences a renewed sense of well being and excitement for life. In addition, to know that I was able to facilitate a client’s awareness to make a sustainable lifestyle change is extraordinary.

    Where did you grow up?

    Huntington, N.Y.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    I attended Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The moment I started my clinical experience in the hospital I knew I was in the right profession, a profession that I had chosen when I was 5 years old.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I am married 26 years and have 3 children, ages 25, 20 and 15 years.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    My favorite hobbies are reading, exercising and gardening. I have always been active and involved with sports. My love of reading was enhanced after taking philosophy courses in college. I was intrigued with philosophy and metaphysics.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    I loved the new movie Iron Lady with Meryl Streep about Margaret Thatcher’s life. Her courage and commitment to service and her country were remarkable. I love Wayne Dyer’s books, especially Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling, and Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.

    Meet Health Coach Judith Beaulieu: Network of RN Health Coaches Empowers Women and Children

    February 8th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

    Judith Beaulieu
    This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices he or she has made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

    Excerpted from the February 2012 Health Coach Huddle.

    Judith Beaulieu, RN, BSN, MIS, Health Coach, President and CEO of FEMTIQUE Associates, Incorporated

    HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

    Judith Beaulieu: When I graduated from Widener College in 1978 I had already been working as a nurse aide on an oncology unit in a city hospital. After passing my state boards and becoming a registered nurse, I continued to work as an oncology nurse. It was during this experience that I encountered coaching the family members of patients. Most of it was comprised of emotional support encompassing the spiritual realm of life (and death). Coaching patients to use relaxation techniques for their pain and anxiety was included in their care plans. These are only a few of the many ways nursing utilized coaching patients and their families.

    Have you received any health coaching certifications? If so, please list these certifications.

    February 2012 will be the completion of my 40-week webinar graduate level certification curriculum in health coaching from Health Coach Alliance. The standards of practice as well as the board certification are based upon the International Coaching Federation (ICF) of which I am a member.

    Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

    The professional term “Health Coach” is only five years old in the United States. RNs have been health coaching when teaching patients, implementing care plans, hospital discharge instruction, grievance counseling, breastfeeding counseling, and so on for as long as the vocation of nursing has been in existence. When the health coach profession surfaced into existence as a separate entity, I jumped into searching the opportunities for RNs to become credentialed as Certified Nurse Health Coaches. I discovered that there were only a few programs out there specific to nurses and that most health coaches did not encompass the education nor experience to be able to best serve the consumer about health and wellness information. This was the ah ha moment that created FEMTIQUE Associates Incorporated.

    In brief, describe your organization.

    FEMTIQUE Associates, Incorporated is incorporated under the non-profit corporation law of 1988 as a ((501)(c)(3). We are a healthcare advocate and health coach organization providing health and wellness care information and resources for women and children. Our services are provided by professionals who have accrued knowledge and skills grounded in their professional education, clinical training, and experience with the aim of achieving and maintaining better health outcomes for those we serve.

    What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

    1: Our ability to hold attention on what is important for the client, and to leave responsibility with the client to take action.
    2: To make plan adjustments as warranted by the coaching process and by changes in the situation.
    3. Develop the client’s ability to make decisions, address key concerns, and develop himself/herself (to get feedback, to determine priorities and set the pace of learning, to reflect on and learn from experiences)

    What is the single most successful thing that your company is doing now?

    Providing financial aid to RNs that affords them an opportunity to become certified health coaches through Health Coach Alliance. Providing to the consumer the availability of qualified professionals that have an optimal level of health coach knowledge, experience and continuing education training is FEMTIQUE’s primary goal.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

    Health communication and health information technology is congruent with one of the Healthy People 2020 objectives and the one that FEMTIQUE is positioned to lock onto in 2012. The FEMTIQUE Web site, Healthcare De-Mystified blog and tweets are aimed at providing helpful health and wellness information ranging from the physical, psychological, spiritual, social, financial, environmental, professional/vocational and academic realms of life.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    Using an appropriate amount of time to devote to the client’s needs. The client is the only entity to which a private practice RN health coach devotes time and energy. One client at a time and one goal for the health coach to help the client formulate and strategize within a 60-minute coaching session. Spending the time necessary to effectively help consumers achieve health and maintain wellness is not available in the medical care arena.

    Where did you grow up?

    I spent my elementary years growing up as an only child in a small suburban town in Southeastern Pennsylvania. My parents sent me to a Catholic boarding school for my high school education. I loved it. Living with other girls supplemented for the lack of siblings. We were very close to each other.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    When I graduated from high school I wanted to become a nurse so I applied to about three or four nursing schools. My high school advisor helped me to apply to two diploma programs and two college programs but there were waiting lists only. I ended up getting into Widener College six years after high school graduation. What stands out for me during this time was what I fit into the six years of waiting. The first year I went to a community college for secretarial studies and ended up working as a secretary while continuing to take college business courses in night school. These courses transferred into the nursing curriculum at Widener. I applied the typing skills learned as a secretary into typing term papers for other students in order to make extra money. The college did not permit nursing students to work full-time while in the BSN program.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I am happily married to Russell J. Beaulieu for 19 years. No children.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    I love to garden. It has always been in my family starting with my late grandfather who came to America in the early 1900s, bought a plot of land and cultivated a huge garden. When my cousins and I were old enough, our grandfather would take us out to the garden and teach us how to pick ripe berries, fruit and vegetables. It cultivated a love of nature as well as a healthy diet. We were never overweight in our families. Today, I live within an Amish community where I share with other women within the Amish culture many healthy recipes made with vegetables that we all grow from our gardens.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    There are so many that I have enjoyed it is hard for me to say which one stands out. Biographies and autobiographies are my favorite types of literature. My heroes are people such as:
    Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic
    Mother Teresa by Kathryn Spink
    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
    Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever by Judge Judy Sheindlin
    The Woman Behind the New Deal by Kirstin Downey
    My favorite movie of all times is “The Miracle Worker” which is the story about Helen Keller. And recently I went to see “The Help” which I loved! I laughed and cried.

    Meet Health Coach Babs Hogan: Sees Coaching as Invitation for Change

    November 10th, 2011 by Jessica Fornarotto

    This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices he or she has made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

    Excerpted from the November 2011 HealthCoach Huddle.

    Babs Hogan, certified wellcoach and health and fitness specialist certified through the American College of Sports Medicine.

    HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

    Babs Hogan: I coached swimming in Los Angeles, Calif. After graduating from Texas A&M University, I headed west until I hit sand. Health coaching at the time wasn’t invented yet.

    Have you received any health coaching certifications? If so, please list these certifications.

    I am certified through Wellcoaches, Inc.

    Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

    When I started reading articles by Margaret Moore, the CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation, in the American College of Sports Medicine’s publications, I realized that I had been missing something important in my career as a personal trainer. At first, I thought that I was too rigid to become a wellcoach since I was always the one “in charge,” as a fitness trainer. After 22 years of making decisions for clients, I was concerned about making the transition. It took a few months of reading to consider registering for Ms. Moore’s well-established wellcoaching program. After the first day of class she asked, “What is your level of confidence that you will become a wellcoach?” I replied, “About 20 percent.” In a few weeks, I turned around.

    In brief, describe your organization?

    As a wellcoach, my focus is on parents. I coach families too, but I mostly work with parents by helping them adapt healthy behaviors. As they take control of their health, the children benefit too. It’s a trickle-down pattern of change.

    What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

    I try to heighten awareness of existing behaviors, assist clients in realizing how much control they have regarding their health and I identify a client’s personal strengths and continuously shine light on them.

    What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?

    Focusing on preventing childhood obesity. I am presenting community seminars on reaching goals. I use Heidi Grant Halvorson’s book, Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, as a guide. Last month, I started a book club in Arlington, Texas. I am also currently writing a book on childhood obesity and blogging about related issues. You can learn at my Web site. I am also presenting webinars on behavior change.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

    Yes, I started a channel on YouTube called BabsWellcoach and most of my viewers are interested in the Les Mills Group Exercise videos. There are many great stories to be told and the Les Mills viewers are clearly tuned in. I will continue to create more videos about how people reach their health goals.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    Helping people realize that wherever they stand right now is a great place to start. Wellcoaching discusses possibilities based on what you CAN do, not what you cannot. The mindset is always moving forward and not looking back. Once people realize that the power to change is in their hands and that they can move forward right NOW, amazing things begin to happen. The secret? Take small steps, gain confidence along the way, heighten awareness of the choices that are presented, and rely on your own strengths.

    Where did you grow up?

    I was born and raised in College Station, Texas.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    I attended Texas A&M University. The honor of “College All-American,” which I received after 10 years and hundreds of miles of swimming, reinforced the old adage that hard work pays off.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I am married and have one grown son.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    I like gardening. In my forties, I started paying attention to flowers. My next farming adventure will include growing herbs since my husband loves to cook.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    I’d recommend Heidi Grant Halvorson’s “Succeed” book that I mentioned earlier. This book should be on everyone’s coffee table.

    Any additional comments?

    Health coaching/wellness coaching/fitness coaching is not about forcing change. Change happens by choice. The process of coaching is an invitation for change carefully aligned with proper guidance and a gentle nudge along the way.

    Meet Health Coach Amy Hendel: ‘HealthGal’ Sets Sights on Lifestyle Modification

    September 8th, 2011 by Jessica Fornarotto

    This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices he or she has made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

    Excerpted from the September 2011 HealthCoach Huddle.

    Amy Hendel, R-PA, CEO and health coach for HealthGal.

    HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

    Amy Hendel: I went to college thinking that I would apply to medical school. My dad actually convinced me to look at the physician assistant (PA) degree, which would allow me to pursue a health career without the having to commit to a very extended education and the kind of financial debt I would be paying off for at least a decade. After three years as a PA in internal medicine helping people try to manage multiple diseases associated with poor lifestyle choices, I decided I would rather get involved in helping to prevent disease or helping patients to dig their way out of chronic disease by using lifestyle modification techniques. Back when I started there were no ‘coaches’ — just health professionals from a variety of health backgrounds trying to modify people’s habits, one habit at a time.

    Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.

    In my third year as a PA, I was dragging my newborn quite early every morning to a babysitter near the hospital where I was working, so I could breastfeed her before and after my early AM duties in the operating room. My duties included performing routine pre-surgery history and physicals on patients with all kinds of complicated illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and I felt like I was watching a procession of ‘train wrecks’ pass before me. I was challenged as a mother and professional, trying to juggle the needs of my newborn and feeling escalating frustration with the typical patient who seemed to want pills to fix everything. One day I walked upstairs to the hospital administrator and gave notice to him that day. I also impulsively told him that I planned on setting up a lifestyle modification program and hoped he would tell doctors at the hospital to refer patients to me who were willing to work on modifying lifestyle habits contributing to their multiple health issues.

    In brief, describe your organization.

    The HealthGal is a name I began using about 10 years ago, after expanding my health coaching practice to include media projects. I started contributing weekly health segments to KCBS after a chance on-air guest appearance, which led to a one-year position there. I have been a contributing guest health expert on local and national news and talk shows — TV and radio — and I’ve been a host of a PBS health talk show, as well as a Westwood One radio show. I blog for several health Web sites and my most recent streaming video show is Food Rescue at www.healthination.com. I do a fair amount of consulting work, particularly on health campaigns, but still maintain a private practice in California and New York.

    What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

    As a coach I’m always truthful and empathic, and I always ask ‘the hard questions.’ Obesity is a disease, so you never ‘cure it.’ You simply put it into remission.

    What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?

    Though I continue to coach individuals, I feel that my Tweets at HealthGal1103 and my blogs at www.healthcentral.com/obesity and www.healthcorps.net are reaching so many people who are struggling with obesity and health issues related to obesity. Getting outreach to parents who struggle with obesity themselves and so easily hand off these same issues to their kids, is hugely accomplished through my Internet efforts.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011?

    Though I am a huge exercise fanatic and it is always a component of my health coaching, 2011 and 2012 will showcase a trend of accepting that we largely ‘are what we eat and we do need to label foods as either necessary foods or treat foods. Ninety percent of the time we need to be eating good or necessary foods.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    When you can take a person who sees their weight as an insurmountable burden or someone who has been yo-yo dieting for years and show them the way and make them realize that they can manage their lifestyle, one habit at at a time — you, as a coach, feel like a true healer.

    Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in Brooklyn as the daughter of a school teacher and a homemaker. Money was always tight but I was raised to believe that education and a profession was the key to success. The women in my family all struggled with weight issues — my mom was obese and by age 14 I was 50 pounds overweight.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    I attended Brooklyn College and fell in love with organic chemistry…I know, what a crazy subject to love! I remember thinking that science explains pretty much everything. One of my professors was really into nutrition and spending time in his lab actually exposed me to rudimentary nutrition lessons.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I am married to a physician and we have a daughter who just finished her master’s degree in architecture. My son is a junior at MIT. They are both athletes — my daughter was a ranked junior tennis player in California and played for NYU and my son is a long distance runner. I suppose that I am most proud of the fact that both of them are active, healthy and understand the importance of living a healthy life.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    My favorite hobbies are playing tennis and I’ve recently taken up gardening.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    I loved the book “Room,” probably because the young woman in the story was an extraordinary protagonist, surviving and raising a child under the most horrific circumstances. I also just saw “Sarah’s Key” and thought it told an important story from the Holocaust that had not received significant exposure.

    Meet Health Coach Mary Grazen-Browne: Follows Consistency, Commitment and Mindfulness

    August 4th, 2011 by Jessica Fornarotto

    This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices he or she has made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

    Excerpted from the August 2011 HealthCoach Huddle.

    Mary Grazen-Browne, owner at Wellness by Choice, holistic nutritionist/lifestyle educator at Manchester Athletic Club, and wellness coach/consultant and registered holistic nutritionist at Wellness by Choice.

    HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

    Mary Grazen-Browne: My first job was physical education and health teacher/special education for 35 years. In my mid-40’s, I had a bad irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and I was ‘cured’ via a holistic nutritionist. Then, I pursued certifications as a health educator and registered holistic nutritionist. Then, I was certified as a wellness coach to help my clients with behavioral change.

    Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.

    Yes. After I was working part-time as a nutritionist, I realized that all of my teaching did not matter but that the behavioral change and support is what people needed to make the changes they wanted to make and keep.

    In brief, describe your organization.

    I am the sole owner of Wellness by Choice. I offer holistic nutrition consults, lifestyle education for weight management, and age-related disease and energy combined with wellness coaching.

    What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

    I follow consistency, commitment and mindfulness.

    What is the single most successful thing that your company is doing now?

    We are offering a program titled “Mindful Weighs.” It is a 12-session program including bioelectrical impedence analysis (BIA) screenings.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011?

    To reach out more. Market to as many people as possible and be visible. Word of mouth is the best advertising.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    Seeing people change and improve their health, and the gratification they have from their efforts.

    Where did you grow up?

    New York and Connecticut.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    I attended Keene State College in New Hampshire. The moment that stands out to me is that I knew I was an educator and that I needed to be active. Therefore, being a physical education and health major was perfect for me.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    Yes I have been married for 33 years and I have two children.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    I like gardening, which I learned from my mom, and I like sewing, which I learned from Home EC in seventh grade. I like to kayak since I live on the water, and I like to golf — I had to give up tennis due to a low back injury — and I like being with my family as well.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    I loved the “Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” series and I am reading “Primal Body, Primal Mind.” This is an excellent book and it reinforces what I do now.

    Any additional comments?

    This is an evolving career. People who value their health will invest in it and I hope that someday there will be insurance to support the lifestyle coaching and nutrition information I offer to others.

    Meet Health Coach Claudine Reilly: Engaging Employees in Health Behavior Change

    July 6th, 2011 by Jessica Fornarotto

    This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices he or she has made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

    Excerpted from the July 2011 HealthCoach Huddle.

    Claudine Reilly, RN, MA, COHN-S, CHES, Certified Intrinsic Coach®, and wellness manager at CVS Caremark.

    HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

    Reilly: My first job was as an RN in the operating room and intensive care unit. One day I looked around at my patients in the ICU and said to myself, “At least half these people could have prevented their illness/injury with better lifestyle choices.” They were dying and it was all preventable. Some were young and it was heartbreaking.

    Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.

    It was in my very first class with Totally Coached in 2005 — I knew then I wanted to spend many years doing health coaching.

    In brief, describe your organization.

    Although I am the wellness manager at CVS Caremark, which is a Fortune 20 company with over 200,000 employees, my coaching work is part time with Progress Health Coaching. Progress is a small company that specializes in Intrinsic Coaching®.

    What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

    Intrinsic Coaching® methodology. I view everyone as creative, capable and complete. My purpose is to listen, serve and help my clients widen their thinking and get clarity about what is important to them. The goal is for clients to find their own path through increased intrinsic capacity.

    What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?

    CVS Caremark is focusing on increasing the engagement of employees in health behavior change initiatives: biometric screenings, health assessments, activities and challenges on a wellness portal.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011?

    The trend is risk factor reduction to help employees feel better and avoid chronic illness. We may see a change in incentives trends: from participation-based to outcomes-based incentives.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    Watching people develop and grow as they expand their thinking and create goals that are important to them.

    Where did you grow up?

    Central Massachusetts.

    What college did you attend?

    I attended Emmanuel College (BS in Psychology) and Framingham State College (MA in Health Care Administration).

    Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    One important moment that stands out was leaving hospital nursing in 1986 and moving into occupational health nursing. That was the first time I was not taking care of “the sick” and began working with “the working well.” I gradually moved into wellness and prevention in the workplace. I began coach training in 2005.

    Are you married?

    Yes

    Do you have children?

    I have four grown married children and nine grandchildren. There are five nurses in my immediate family: me, one daughter, two sons and one daughter-in-law. One of my sons is also a health coach. They all live within 15 minutes of my home.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    Photography. I am a “serious amateur” and love taking candid photos of children. When I retire, I plan to have a business called “Kids at Play Photography: Candid, Creative Photography of Children.”

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    South of Broad by Pat Conroy (I love all his books), anything by Maeve Binchey or John Irving and all the best-selling “dog books” like Marley and Me, The Art of Racing in the Rain and A Dog’s Purpose.