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The Role of the Health Coach_Final

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>> Hello again. As Health Coaches, we all want to go above and beyond for our clients, but it's important to always remember to make a conscious effort to be ethical and to stay within the lines of what's appropriate and what we're trained to do. Going outside of these boundaries can actually do a disservice to our clients and can even have legal ramifications. In this lecture, I'll review with you the ethical standards of Health Coaches, what's outside the scope of practice for our profession, and what Health Coaches are trained to do. Okay, let's start by talking about scope of practice. We can define scope of practice as the procedures, actions, and processes that a healthcare practitioner is permitted to undertake in keeping with the terms of their professional license or certification. For example, if you were meeting weekly with a social worker and you mentioned you had back problems, he or she probably wouldn't offer to give you a chiropractic adjustment during your next appointment. Why? Because this is totally outside a social worker's scope of practice, and because specific training is required to legally practice as a chiropractor. Whether or not your social worker happens to be good at fixing back problems, you probably wouldn't want to take them up on this offer. This is a pretty obvious example of stepping outside one's scope of practice, but it's not always clear when it comes to health coaching. This field is still relatively new and developing, and our work at times can appear to be very similar to that of counselors, nutritionists, naturopaths, and other health professionals. It can be kind of tempting or even just plain confusing at times when we feel that we're equipped to help clients in ways that may not exactly be defined within the role of Health Coach. And oftentimes, new clients may not understand exactly what our roles are. But our job is to complement the work of other health professionals, not copy or conflict with it. When we begin working with new clients, it's never our goal to have them stop working with other healthcare providers or try to outdo the other services they may be receiving. It's not a competition to be their best health resource. We should always aim to work alongside other healthcare professionals. Encourage our clients to use as many resources as necessary and available and refer them to other healthcare providers freely and cooperatively. Going back to the example of the social worker, just because he or she isn't qualified to perform chiropractic work doesn't mean that this client's concern must be ignored completely. The social worker acting within the scope of practice could recommend a chiropractor that works in the building or one that he or she had a positive experience seeing in the past. Or they could talk about the occupational challenges the client is facing because of the limited mobility due to back problems. So just because something may be outside the scope of practice doesn't mean we can't help our clients with what they experience from within our scope in a capacity that's appropriate and complimentary to other health professions. We practice this way for legal reasons but also for ethical reasons in order to work in the best interest of our clients at all times. The bottom line to remember here is that if you're not sure if something's within your scope of practice, don't do it. Gather more information first. You can always tell your client, "You know, I'm not certain whether this is something I can help you with myself, but let me look into it before our next session. And if it's not something we can work on together, I can recommend to a great colleague who could be of service to you." Let's take a look now at some of the things that Health Coaches ethically do not do. This isn't a comprehensive list, but it's a useful set of guidelines to keep in mind for your practice. Health Coaches should not encourage the use of supplements that are controversial or that they wouldn't personally endorse. You may have started taking a new experimental weight-loss supplement that has little research behind it and it maybe afford you great results, but that doesn't make it appropriate to recommend to your clients. What works for you may not work for them, and we do not want to create the potential for risk by introducing products that aren't credible or could have unknown side effects. Health Coaches shouldn't push the sale of products they earn commission from without disclosing their financial interest. You can say something like, "I'd like to be completely transparent with you and let you know that I do obtain a commission from selling these essential oils, but the reason I've incorporated selling this brand into my business is because I've personally had great success with them and truly believe they work." If you wouldn't personally use a product you sell, really ask yourself why you're selling it. Next, Health Coaches shouldn't use fear, shame, or intimidation to get clients to comply with their action plans. This simply is not how Health Coaches operate and it's not in the best interest of our clients to scare them into change. Your practice should never look like a reality show. Also, Health Coaches shouldn't encourage conflict in the lives of their clients, while it is our role to discuss relationships and change, it's never appropriate for us to suggest that they introduce conflict into their relationships. It may be clear as day to us that a client is unhappy in a partnership and it's totally acceptable to explore this with them and to prompt them to think about what their possibilities are for moving forward, but we would never tell or encourage our clients to go home and take out their aggression on their spouse or to consider retaliating for a wrongdoing. Another thing, as Health Coaches, we shouldn't put our clients on extreme diets or regimens, we want to encourage bio-individuality and what works best for the client. That can mean helping them to follow through on a decision to adopt a raw vegan diet or to eliminate gluten, but we should never prescribe any extreme diets or suggest that they eliminate an entire food group. Our goal here is to help clients discover and adopt a sustainable way to eat that's healthy for them long term. This includes making sure they are getting all of the nutrients and calories their body requires from a well-balanced diet. Health Coaches should never slander or discredit other health professionals. Not only is it completely unprofessional, it's unethical to sway our clients from seeing another healthcare provider who could be of service to them. You personally may not believe in psychiatry and pharmaceuticals, but it's not your job nor is it appropriate to push your views on your client. Also, Health Coaches shouldn't share any identifying client information or confidential material. Keep your files, both paper and electronic, securely locked and password-protected, shred all paperwork and documents with any client information on it. Finally, Health Coaches shouldn't make any sweeping statements or promises to clients in person or in advertising, like "Lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks!" Sell your program with honesty and integrity and set your clients up with realistic expectations. It's better to under-sell and over-deliver than to get their hopes up about your program and risk leaving them feeling let down or unsatisfied. The next set of guidelines I'm going to share with you are things that we, as Health Coaches, legally should never do. Again, this list isn't comprehensive, but it covers a good amount of ground. Health Coaches should never diagnose or treat mental illness, give any type of medical advice, prescribe medications, encourage clients stop taking medications or seeing their doctors, attempt to help clients with severe health problems, such as cancer or Parkinson's, or claim to be able to cure diseases, work with minors without first obtaining written consent from their legal guardian, recommend clients begin an intense new exercise regiment without consulting their physician, and finally, Health Coaches should never use titles reserved for other health professionals such as counselor or nutritionist. Since this important information can be a lot to remember, we've included a handout for you called Health Coach Dos and Don'ts. You can refer back to this sheet throughout your practice as a quick reference on ethical and legal scope of practice for coaches. If you have any questions or need clarification on any of these points, please reach out to a member of the Education Team through the Facebook group. Okay, so now we have a long list of what Health Coaches should not do, so what should we do? What's our role within our scope of practice? Health Coaches listen attentively to clients. This is actually the bulk of the work that we do. We create a safe, warm space for clients to access and work through deeply held emotions and beliefs. We guide clients to identify and explore their health concerns and construct solid goals and plans to overcome them. Health Coaches help clients access the solutions they already have within themselves. And we hold clients accountable for their progress. We provide a source of encouragement, acknowledgement, and gentle challenge. And we educate and provide information. We promote health while taking great care not to let our clients feel judged about unhealthy behaviors. And we always provide a referral to the properly qualified health professional when a problem or client is outside our scope of practice. We do not take them on. As a Health Coach, I encourage you to aim to be authentic while always staying professional. Ethical and legal grounds can be murky as issues unfold in real time and in real contacts. Do your best to say within your scope of practice. If you find yourself treading in ethical waters, stop immediately. Explain this to your client and simply set your session on a different course of action. It's better to let your client know that you were headed toward a mistake than to quietly see it through in the hope of saving face. The best coach is an ethical and responsible coach. I hope that this lecture was helpful to you as a framework for how you should operate within your role as a Health Coach. You should now have an understanding of the legal and ethical guidelines of health coaching along with the parameters of what's encouraged and expected within the role of a Health Coach. If you have any questions whatsoever about ethical practice or what may or may not be within your scope, let's discuss in the Facebook group. I'll see you there.

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 19 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Oct 26, 2018

The Role of the Health Coach_Final

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