If you’re a health coach, listen up. You need different contracts than other coaches - period. This is why Destination Legal sells TWO different types of coaching templates, we do not lump you together with other coaches because frankly, your businesses are quite different.
In recent years, the demand for health and wellness services has surged (I think we can all agree that our country is plagued with disease, health issues, mental health issues and more so this isn’t a huge surprise). The state of our society and perhaps going through a pandemic, has led to a rise in the number of health coaches entering the industry.
Health coaches (lumping this term in with nutrition coaches, wellness practitioners, fitness coaches, etc.) are doing AMAZING work and play a critical role in guiding clients towards better physical and mental well-being. I think we can all agree that the healthier and happier we are as a society, the better off everyone is.
But, dealing with health issues is unique. It can be more risky, more delicate. When dealing with issues like nutrition, weight, skin, 💩, muscles, exercise, sleep, hormones and more, it’s clear why this is a special relationship.
Therefore it’s essential for both coaches and their clients to have a clear understanding of the services AND keeping expectations in check (20 lb guarantee anyone?! Nope nope nope). This is where contracts come into play.
While contracts are crucial for any coaching relationship, health coaches require contracts that are tailored to their unique circumstances and responsibilities. Here are just a few of the reasons why health coaches need different contracts than other coaches!
Health coaches often operate at the intersection of fitness, nutrition, and mental health. Their guidance can range from creating personalized workout plans to advising on dietary choices and stress management techniques. Given this broad scope of practice, health coaches must define the specific services they offer in their contracts. This helps to avoid potential misunderstandings about the nature and limitations of their expertise.
➡️ CROSSING LANES
Health coaching involves providing coaching that directly impacts an individual's well-being. Unlike other coaching niches, health coaches may inadvertently cross into medical or therapeutic territory. Because of this your contracts should clearly outline that they are not licensed medical professionals and that their services should not be considered a substitute for medical advice. This distinction is really important to protect both the coach and the client from legal liabilities. Those with licenses in some states (Registered Dieticians, Therapists, etc) need to be even MORE clear on what they are and are not doing in their coaching practice.
➡️ CLIENT COMMITMENT
We all know that coaches aren’t responsible for our success. However, maybe slightly more so than other industries, health coaching success relies on a really strong partnership between the coach and the client. There really needs to be strong upfront expectations of results, what the client needs to commit to, and realistic time frames. This clarity ensures that clients are aware of their role in achieving their health goals and that they don’t end up blaming the coach for a lack of result (and seeking legal damages because of it).
➡️ DISCLAIMERS & WAIVERS
Here at Destination Legal, we talk about disclaimers all the time. They are SO important for coaches and need to be in every contract, but it’s not an accident that our health coaching templates have twice as many paragraphs in this particular section. Because health coaches often provide guidance on lifestyle changes and exercise routines, they are opening themselves up to MORE liability than say a business or career coach.
Health coaches should include comprehensive disclaimers and waivers in their contracts, clarifying that the outcomes of coaching may vary from person to person and that no specific results are guaranteed. This transparency helps manage clients' expectations and prevents any potential misunderstandings AND disclaimers are what protect the coaching business should a client get injured.
And of course, your contract should also have all the normal legal-language that should be in any coaching contract (payments, refunds, terms of the package, dispute resolution, etc.)
Contracts really are the star player here, they are the super nutrient, they are chia seeds. Contracts play a pivotal role in establishing a good foundation for the coaching relationship - you will never regret having a solid one of these in place!