Health Coaching Legalities: Transparency & Scope of Services

*This blog discussion is intended for educational purposes only and should not take the place of or supersede the advice of an attorney or legal counsel*

The big theme for this blog is simple. When you start working with patients or clients, be honest about your credentials, what you provide, and how you will provide it.

Transparency in the Health Coaching industry is not only critical to ensuring the satisfaction of your patients by having expectations set immediately, but also to make sure there are no avoidable medical emergencies due to the coaching provided.

When you consider programs, like ours, and why they are so successful when it comes to patient statistics, it is clear that the partnership between coach and patient and the strategies, such as Motivational Interviewing, are the backbone of this success. When the traditional method of patient care is a teacher/student role, certain results are expected and patients have clear expectations of the relationship between them and the practitioner. But, with our innovative style of Health Coaching, patients will experience a very different type of partnership with a clinician than they have probably ever experienced before. Which is why expectations should be set as soon as possible, because it may or may not be the experience the patient is looking for.

The other part of this transparency concept is understanding the risk of a Health Coach who is not a licensed clinician. While clients or patients may come to seek help with their required behavioral changes, it will be important that their Health Coach understand potential underlying conditions or risk factors when planning this change timeline with the patient.

A patient may appear in stable condition, but, especially for people seeking change due to health risks, there is a high risk for harm as well. A licensed clinician should know how to understand the conditions or disease, assess the risk of the treatment plan, and modify accordingly. This is why Health Coaches need to be fully transparent with patients so that patients will be fully transparent with them and so that patients understand the risks.

Setting expectations with patients early and being transparent about your credentials is the first keys to success for your new Health Coaching practice or expanded service offerings.

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