SCOPE OF PRACTICE
FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS COACHING (UK and IRELAND)
Scope of Practice refers to the boundaries of health and wellness coaching, whether it be coaching an individual or group, writing a blog or articles, holding or participating in webinars, speaking at educational events and communicating in online forums, meetings, with colleagues,
peers and other health care professionals.
Your scope of practice is the limit of your knowledge, skills and experience. It is made up of the activities you carry out within your professional role, provided that you have the knowledge, skills and experience to do them lawfully, safely and effectively.
The Health and Care Professionals Council Scope of Practice for health and wellness coaches in the UK and Ireland embraces:
Working with individuals and groups in a client-centred process to facilitate and empower the client to develop and achieve self-determined goals related to health and wellness.
Supporting clients in mobilising internal strengths and external resources, and in developing self-management strategies for making sustainable, healthy lifestyle behaviour changes.
Supporting clients in achieving health goals and behavioural change based on their clients’ own goals and consistent with treatment plans as prescribed by individual clients’ professional health care providers
Assisting clients to use their insight, personal strengths and resources, goal setting, action steps and accountability toward healthy lifestyle change and may offer supporting resources from nationally and internationally recognised authorities, such as current government and public health guidelines and peer-reviewed sources.
Avoidance of giving specific personal health advice, but may offer a client direction to health and wellness information and resources from nationally/internationally recognized, robust evidence-based and peer-reviewed authorities, so that clients can draw their own conclusions, gain confidence and a sense of empowerment.
Doing no harm In common with all health professionals, health and wellness coaches must follow a ‘do no harm’ mandate by refraining from or carrying out any actions that would harm clients or patients.
For UK health and wellness coaches, these actions include:
interpreting lab results
giving specific dietary advice
removing food groups
prescribing treatments or therapeutic interventions (including nutritional)
making claims to prevent or cure any condition or engaging any other activities that could ultimately:
harm a client or patient
lead to legal lawsuit
invalidate insurance cover
Holding multiple credentials
Health and wellness coaches do not assess symptoms, diagnose conditions, interpret lab results, give specific dietary advice, remove food groups, prescribe treatments or therapeutic interventions (including nutritional) or make claims to prevent or cure any condition. If the
health and wellness coach holds nationally-recognized professional credentials and insurance (for example as a nutritionist, nutritional therapist, dietician, nurse, doctor, pharmacist, psychologist, physiotherapist, mental health specialist, osteopath, chiropractor) they may
provide expert guidance related to that topic but must act within the Scope of Practice of that or those profession(s).
In such a case, it is the health coach’s professional responsibility to confirm in writing the Scope of Practice for any and each service agreed with a client, and to act within the Scope of Practice for health and wellness coaching and/or the Scope of Practice for the relevant profession and to ensure they are credentialed and insured.
Health and wellness coaches should actively seek collaborations with other health care practitioners such as doctors, dietitians, nutritionists and other practitioners and therapists to be the anchor of a truly whole-health creating endeavour.