*This safe language series is based on my Education, Preparation & Action method of coaching.
If you’ve had a client ask you a question that made you feel uncomfortable, chances are that answering that question is outside of your scope of practice as a health coach.
As a health coach of over 7 years, I’ve been asked my fair share of risky questions. However, I’ve learned how to respond to all of them in safe manner.
I think it might be helpful share some of these with you, so that you can practice your responses and feel confident knowing you’re staying within your scope of practice.
Client: I want you to tell me what to eat. Just send me a list of meals. I don’t want to have to think about it.
Coach: I feel like the best approach to lasting change is to give you some options and resources to make the best decision for yourself while I help support you through the process of change. I may not know if you “like” a specific food, I may suggest something that is too hard to cook or too time consuming but mostly I want to encourage you to depend on yourself for change and ideas so when we are done working together you don’t go back to old habits.
Client: What if my doctor won’t order the labs you think would help me?
Coach: Use the doctor’s template I gave you and let them know you are aware of the financial responsibility and your insurance will cover it (if they will), and that you would like the labs done so that you can get a full picture of what you are dealing with. If they refuse, let me know and I will help you find a new doctor through some reliable functional resources, or point you towards a lab that you can use.
Client: I am overwhelmed with information; all of this is too hard!
Coach: Let’s take a step back for a minute and you tell me what “feels” hard and let’s see if we can dial back the intensity of changes. The last thing I want you to do is feel stressed. Stress undoes everything good you are trying to accomplish.
Client: I want to just do a juice fast and lose this weight! Which one can I do?
Coach: I like to take a whole food approach to getting started. I am not against a juice fast but let’s make sure we do a full intake session before you decide to do that. Sometimes juice fasts can affect blood sugar in a negative way and I want to make sure you are aware of all the pros and cons before making that decision.
Client: My doctor says that I must stay on this antidepressant but I want to go off. Can you help me get off it?
Coach: It’s outside my scope of profession to deal with medications in any way and I always advise you to listen to your doctor. I am happy to provide you with some great resources on natural approaches to your issues that you can take to your doctor and make a solid decision on together. I am a firm believer that there are other approaches but that is ultimately up to you and your practitioner.
Looking for additional safety training? My Safety in the Health Coaching Profession course is a low-cost solution you should consider (if you’re already a student in IFHC™, this content is already inside your curriculum).
You can also download my guide to 250+ trusted wellness resources that will help you better serve your clients while keeping your practice safe!