February 10, 2019

Anything You Say, can and Will be used Against You | Coaches Corner

by Mark Boyle

Coaching, Not Practicing 

Once you understand what a coach can say and do, you won't need to worry about what to say and do in Court.  Be aware that Advice, Training, Skills, Goals, and Mentoring is viewed differently from a legal standpoint than support or education is. (In some states and fields, the term education can even raise legal red flags).  Diagnosis, counseling and treatment are among the terms that carry specific legal weight and are generally reserved for certain licensed professionals.

Nutrition, in particular, is an especially tricky field to claim within your professional offerings. Again, client-centered language can help, but it’s critical to know the specific laws in your state(s) of practice, follow this link to learn what's What in your State.  The personal training field will likely feel a similar regulatory crunch in years to come, and all coaches who claim to offer fitness training services should be in regular contact with state regulatory and licensing agencies, or at least be paying attention.

Here is a great article from Primal Health Coach, in short this is what PHC suggest.

  • Get a Lawyer
  • Define your role with the client, in writing
  • Know your state’s laws Look here
  • Website disclaimer
  • Publish terms and conditions
  • Client agreements

"If questions or confusion arise at some point in the coaching relationship, you each have a personalized, written contract to refer to. In the event that any client would pursue legal action against your business, you have expectations and terms established".

There are No Guarantees in Life

Even when you follow all the rules and do everything in your power to Safe Guard ageist Legal action, there is no guarantee that some Dumb-Ass will not sue you.  The one thing that is not mentioned in most articles is Insurance, get a GREAT Insurance Agent that you trust, and enplane your worries.

Here is my List that may also help you out:

  • General Liability Insurance for your business.  You don't need Malpractice insurance because you are not a Practicing Doctor, and you can not prescribe treatment.  So enplane to your Agent, that it is the Liability that will keep you up at night, not malpractice.  Do Not get some crazy-ass million dollar Policy either, just enough to pay any small mishaps, a lawyer once told me this bit of advice, "Sharks don't swim in shallow water", a million dollar pond is deep enough for any shark lawyer, so keep it shallow.
  • Avoid LLC's and Sub S Corporations, any Cooperation for that matter.  Sure Taxation is better in some States, and there is some protection from Asset Seizures, but on the dark side is the fact that you can not defend your Legal Business Entity in the same way you can if you remain a sole proprietor.
  • Legal Paperwork the more you and your Clients sign, the more Legal problems you will have.  Contract Laws are very strict, and are even Constitutional, what are Contracts? shit in writing!  If you feel that your Potential Client is a Problem Child, and raises too many Red Flags, just avoid them all together, there is not enough legal paper work that will keep them from suing you.
  • Protect your ASSets, if you own nothing they can't take it.  Set up a Trust (Not within your Will) as part of your Estate Planning, put your Land and Home in that Trust, and keep your Business protected by Insurance, and for more reasons than this article can cover.

Because I am Licensed, Bonded and Insured in my business, the business that pays the bills that is, my customers ask me all the time if I can do such and such, or this and that, I always tell them "Yes I Can, and have in the past" but as a Licensed Contractor, I would lose my licence if I did what you ask.   Then I enplane that, yes, it is possible, but not something I can do due to regulations, let's find a different plan of action.  Most Clients appreciate the honesty, and are willing to go with a different idea.

The point here is honesty, and truth, once you enplane that you are not a Doctor, and cannot give that type of help, but that you have read more books on nutrition than most Doctors, and that it is what you have done for years and that it helped you and you spouse, they can make the choice for themselves.  

You can legally point them in the direction of books and videos that have helped you understand the how, and why of what YOU do, and eat the way you eat.  This will build a far better relationship with them, I have done this in business for 20 plus years now, and Honesty has never let me down yet.

In Summery

When was the last time you sued a friend? right, if you like a person it is harder to just take them to court, and if you had to for some reason it would be because they ran into your car by accident or something like that.  When you become friends with your Clients and Honestly try to help them, they will be less apt to run to there lawyer every time their muscles ache, it's just human nature.  This is not because I believe EVERYONE is a good person, their not, but let me ask again, When was the last time you sued your Friend?

There are millions of things in life you can say at any given time, and there are only a few you can not say without fear of Prosecution, learn those few things, and you're good to go.

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