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

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
This post was written 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?


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.

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