As a life, health, wellness, or nutrition coach, ensuring that your clients have clear expectations about the services you provide is not only ethical but also crucial for your legal protection. Disclaimers are a pivotal way to inform your clients, remind yourself of your legal limitations, and protect your business from liabilities.
More than merely annoying fine print, disclaimers are carefully crafted statements that defend against misconceptions and reinforce your willingness to abide by the law. In this article, you’ll learn about the importance of having coaching disclaimers and get help crafting your own.
But first our own disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Please consult an attorney for accurate counsel.
Why Are Coaching Disclaimers So Important?
While coaches try to provide valuable insights and strategies to help clients in their personal or professional journeys, sometimes information isn’t always interpreted as it should be. This is why coaching disclaimers are crucial for all coaching businesses.
A coaching disclaimer clarifies the nature of the relationship between the coach and the client while emphasizing the scope of services. While coaches are experts in their respective fields, they offer insights, perspectives, and tools for clients to consider and apply as they see fit. They do not provide guaranteed solutions, diagnose or treat illness, or provide therapeutic treatment. This distinction between the role of a coach and that of a licensed professional (such as a therapist, physician, pharmacist, attorney, accountant, or dietician) must be made clear to clients at the beginning of the coaching journey.
But why is this clarity so essential?
First, managing client expectations is a top priority. Without a clear understanding of the coach’s role, clients might harbor false expectations about the outcomes of the coaching relationship. They might mistakenly believe that the coaching process guarantees specific results. Or they may confuse a life coach with a therapist, a health coach with a physician, or a financial coach with an certified public accountant. Such misconceptions can not only lead to disappointment but also to strained coach-client relationships.
We live in an era where legal actions are not uncommon. If left unchecked, misunderstandings can escalate to formal grievances or even lawsuits. A well-crafted disclaimer offers coaches a layer of defense against potential legal woes.
Five Types of Coaching Disclaimers
Your coaching business actually may need multiple disclaimers to cover various parts of your operation and to distinguish what you provide as a coach from what licensed professionals provide. Remember, although you may be a certified coach, coaching is not a regulated industry. Thus you can’t be licensed by a state board like an certified financial planner, a therapist, or a nurse practitioner is.
1. General Coaching Disclaimer
A general coaching disclaimer is a statement that provides clarity on the purpose and approach of coaching. This disclaimer is typically placed prominently on the coach’s website, especially on the services or about pages. It’s also beneficial to include it in welcome packets or introductory materials for new clients, as well as in coaching contracts or agreements that clients sign before starting their sessions.
This disclaimer specifies the line between coaching and other therapeutic interventions. As the coaching industry continues to grow, there might be ambiguity in the minds of potential clients about what coaching entails, especially when compared to therapy or counseling. This disclaimer clears any potential confusion right from the beginning.
2. Online Coaching Disclaimer
This is a specialized disclaimer designed to address challenges that arise from remote coaching sessions. It outlines potential pitfalls and interruptions that might be inherent to online communications. It should also address the security measures you take to keep client information secure and private.
Setting clear expectations upfront minimizes potential misunderstandings or dissatisfaction from clients when unforeseeable technical issues arise. This proactive communication allows clients to be more understanding and patient.
The online coaching disclaimer should be placed on the coach’s website, especially on the booking or checkout page where clients schedule online sessions.
3. Nutritional Coaching Disclaimer
A nutritional disclaimer highlights that nutritional coaching offers valuable insights into healthier eating habits and overall well-being, but it doesn’t equate to professional medical or dietetic guidance. Given the widespread misinformation about diets and nutrition, this disclaimer is critical for setting the boundary between general nutrition information and professional medical advice.
This disclaimer acts as a protective measure for coaches to minimize the risk of legal consequences stemming from misunderstandings about scope of service. Nutritional coaches should display this disclaimer on website pages detailing services, packages, or consultations. Other display locations include client intake forms, informational brochures, or email communications before starting sessions.
4. Results Guarantee Disclaimer
While the coach provides the framework and guidance for personal or professional growth, the eventual results depend on numerous factors, many of which are beyond the coach’s control. A results guarantee disclaimer sets a realistic tone about what clients can expect, preventing misunderstandings or inflated expectations.
The results guarantee disclaimer is included in client contracts or agreements, onboarding documentation, and any promotional material highlighting success stories or testimonials. Coaches should also mention it at the beginning of courses, webinars, or workshops.
5. Content Disclaimer
Using a content disclaimer ensures that viewers or listeners of recorded sessions are aware of the content’s limitations. It protects coaches from potential misunderstandings or misapplications of their content. It clarifies that the information provided is general and emphasizes the importance of individual consultations for personalized advice.
Recorded content, such as videos, podcasts, or webinars, should have a content disclaimer at the beginning. It can also be included in the description or metadata of the content, especially if hosted on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. If the content is downloadable, consider attaching the disclaimer in the file metadata or as an introductory slide/note.
Get Done-For-You Coaching Disclaimer Templates
Don’t stress over how to write a coaching disclaimer. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Download your free coaching disclaimer templates for life, health, wellness, and nutrition coaches.